PIU was founded in 1976 as the Micronesian Institute of Biblical Studies (MIBS) on one of the islands in the middle of Micronesia by Liebenzell Mission and the evangelical churches it planted there to prepare Micronesian citizens for leadership in the church. It soon became apparent that this goal was too narrow and accessibility to its programs by the average Micronesian too difficult. While Micronesians valued the biblical training MIBS provided, they also wanted to know how to apply biblical knowledge for living successfully and for leading and influencing all areas of their society towards permanent solutions, and not just in the church.
Therefore, in 1991, led by its first president Dr. Roland Rauchholz, the school added a new campus on the island of Guam, a more western and accessible location, and MIBS became Pacific Islands Bible College (PIBC). The campus formerly called MIBS on the island of Tol became a branch campus. PIBC began offering certificate and diploma programs in Biblical Studies and thereafter the Associate of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degrees.
Under the leadership of PIBC’s second president Dr. William Wood (1995-2002) the Guam campus moved from rented facilities onto its present campus in Mangilao, which was purchased in 1997, and began operations there in the spring of 1999. Current president, Dr. David Owen, assumed the leadership of the school in January of 2003.
In 2004 PIBC received accreditation from the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), which is recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE), the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE).
This provided US financial aid opportunities for Micronesian students and set established quality benchmarks for its degree programs. PIBC opened Teaching Facilities on three other islands in Micronesia: Chuuk, Palau, and Yap. Some minors, including Teaching English as a Second Language and Elementary Education were added to the Biblical Studies program. Affordability, accessibility, and relevancy now became important watchwords governing the vision of PIBC.
In February 2009, the Board of Trustees voted to change the name of the school to Pacific Islands University (PIU) to better reflect the growing emphasis on Christian liberal arts education and to acknowledge the graduate level seminary program which was launched in the fall of 2008. Since then there has been the addition of the Certification of Basic English, new practical ministry
minors, including Bible Translation, AA & BA programs in Liberal Studies, as well as a certificate in Dive Instruction.
For 40 years PIU has been the leader in providing biblical education to the people of Micronesia and now to an expanding circle of people in the Western Pacific. Today, in response to the changing needs of the island communities in which it serves, PIU is expanding its course offerings, its degree offerings, and its vision to be a leader throughout Guam, Micronesia and the Pacific Region in providing accessible, transformational, and quality higher education.
PIU students come from many different countries and many different religious denominations. Though most of its students are from the Pacific islands, it also welcomes students from other countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North and South America. PIU is a place where a student can experience the multi-cultural variety of the global community in a small school environment. At PIU, students, faculty and staff can develop deep relationships in a community.