Field, Jasper Newton (1855-1929)

Reverend Doctor Jasper Newton Field, founder and first president of the University of Redlands, died at his home, 757 Walnut Avenue early this morning. A sudden heart attack caused his death and he passed away before a physician could be brought to the home.


Dr. Field lived here, although for several years he has been the pastor of the Calvary Baptist church in San Bernardino. He resigned there several weeks ago, after having made several attempts to give up his pastorate, and in his resignation stated that it would have to be accepted, as his health would not permit him to continue with the work.


Dr. Field was just 74 years old, for he was born March 25, 1855, in Ohio. Early in his life he determined to enter the ministry and through great sacrifices secured his college education and then his theological training. He held four pastorates in Ohio and Indiana before he was called to Redlands in 1906 to become the pastor of the First Baptist Church, when Dr. W. F. Harper left.


His pastorate here was a most successful one. After he had been here about three years he conceived the need of a Baptist college in Southern California. He talked to several influential members of the denomination, received their assurance of support and brought the matter before the convention. It was decided to proceed with raising $300,000 for this purpose of founding a college.


Redlands offered the site, nucleus of the present campus and Dr. Field was giving a leave of absence from the Baptist church here to raise the money. His enthusiasm and faith were boundless and were communicated to other members of the denomination so that the sum needed was subscribed and the University was founded.


He was made the first president of the Board of Directors which included leading Baptists of the south, and the work of building proceeded. On the knoll of the campus of the first college buildings was erected the beautiful administration building facing the eternal hills. The first year of the university classes were held in the Baptist church here but the second year the classes were held in the Administration building.


The president’s home was erected and then Mrs. Martin Bekins of Los Angeles gave the money for Bekins hall, the first girl’s dormitory. This was dedicated in the fall of 1910 and then Mr. Revis gave the funds to purchase a house on Cook Street which was made into Revis Hall, the first boy’s dormitory.


For six years Dr. Field acted as the president of the University, guiding it through the most critical period in its existence perhaps, and giving of his energy without restraint. The work provided to be so heavy that he was forced to resign and to seek a change of climate and rest. He and Mrs. Field went east and he became interested in a company.


[Source: Obituary of Dr. Jasper Newton Field, The Redlands Daily Facts, March 21, 1929, p. 4]


Dr. Field and his wife, Adalaide North Field (1860-1945) are both buried in Hillside Memorial Park.