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How Pacific States became Life West

George Emmet Anderson graduated with the Doctor of Chiropractic degree from the Palmer School of Chiropractic on July 4, 1952. He moved to Hayward, California to open a chiropractic practice in which he would specialize in the upper cervical area of the spine.

The California law which regulated the chiropractic profession required each graduate to have credit for subjects that were not taught at Palmer or in many chiropractic schools before the 1980s. Therefore, in order to be licensed in California Dr. Anderson attended the California Chiropractic College in Oakland from 1952-1953 in order to earn the necessary credits for licensure. He received his second DC degree on September 15, 1953.

As Dr. Anderson’s practice successfully evolved over the next twenty years, he became interested in establishing a chiropractic college in California where he could teach the successful upper cervical technique that had proven so valuable to his patients, called NUCCA.

Dr. Anderson and his close friend Dr. George Wentland, along with a small group of chiropractors began to search the Bay Area for a location to open a college. At the time, one-fifth of the world’s chiropractors practiced in California, yet no college was closer to the large metropolitan Bay Area than Western States Chiropractic College which was 700 miles to the north in Oregon. Los Angeles Chiropractic College was 450 miles to the south.

Drs. Anderson and Wentland founded Pacific States Chiropractic College at 879 Grant Avenue, San Lorenzo, California on August 30, 1976. The college’s Articles of Incorporation were signed October 2, 1976.

On August 27, 1977, the college’s Board of Regents hired Thomas Vander Haar as president of the college and charged him with the responsibility to seek accreditation with the Council on Chiropractic Education.

Seven months later, the first class of twenty four students matriculated in the first week of March 1978. Over the course of the next six months, progress toward achieving the requirements of accreditation deteriorated due to disagreements between the Board of Regents and the president. As a result, Mr. Vander Haar resigned and along with several dozen students sympathetic to his position, opened a new school in Palo Alto, naming it Northern California College of Chiropractic.

A new Pacific States Chiropractic College president by the name of Dr. Leon Coelho DC was appointed by the board with a charge to rebuild the college and continue to seek accreditation. Dr. Coelho came with seven years of organizational background at Palmer College, which included experience in the process of obtaining accreditation with CCE. Chiropractic course instruction recommenced with the remaining sixteen students in October 1978 and the college began to show signs of growth again. Within a year of his arrival Dr. Coelho resigned his position with the college and was replaced by acting president, Dr. Bruce Presnick DC.

As the college continued to grow in numbers of students, faculty and staff, it outgrew its Grant Avenue facilities and in January 1980 relocated to 2005 Via Barrett, San Lorenzo. In July 1980 an off-campus clinic at 1421 B. Street, Hayward was leased and outfitted for students moving into the clinical phase of their senior year of instruction.

That same year, Dr. Rita Schroader, DC, was appointed president of the college by the Board of Regents. Unfortunately, financial hardships associated with rebuilding the college, an increase in program requirements, along with the frequent presidential changes, all took a heavy toll on the institution’s ability to become accredited.

The effects of the trials and tribulations, along with the accreditation uncertainty with the CCE, caused the Board of Regents to seek a relationship with an established institution so that senior students at Pacific States would have the best chance to graduate.

The college considered entering a consolidation agreement with Northern California College of Chiropractic, but the terms of an agreement were unacceptable. Finally, an agreement was reached in March 1981 between Life Chiropractic College in Marietta, Georgia, and Pacific States Chiropractic College.

On March 12, 1981, minutes of the actions taken by the Pacific States Board of Regents show agreement to incorporate the college under the new name, Life Chiropractic College-West, to replace Rita Schroader, DC, as president with Gerard W. Clum, DC, to dissolve the Pacific States Board of Regents and increase the membership of the new Board of Regents to fifteen, with the following members: John Boutwell, DC, Cameron Cassan, DC, Ian Grassam, DC, Robert Hatch, DC, Willie Mae Pruitt, DC, William C. Remling, DC, James R. McGinnis, DC, Charles Ribley, DC, James M. Sigafoose, DC, Robert Sottile, DC, the Reverend Carl A. Standard, Louis Tiscareno, DC, Thomas Turley, DC, and Ralph Ungerank, DC

On February 3, 1983, the college was granted Recognized Candidate Status with the CCE. Full accreditation was granted in July 1987 and Life Chiropractic College West started another period of rapid expansion. As the college grew, it never lost the roots that Drs. Anderson and Wentland laid down, nor the significance of Lasting Purpose that Dr. Williams implanted within the college. The chiropractic profession owes a great deal of gratitude to Drs. Anderson, Wentland and Williams as Life West continues to be the beacon of vitalistic chiropractic on the west coast.

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