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Homer St. Clair Pace, the guiding genius of a school which evolved from a proprietary business institute into an internationally known university, was born in Rehoboth, Ohio on April 13, 1879.

After attending local public schools, Homer, in 1895, enrolled in the Reed City, Michigan Commercial School to study stenography.

Upon completing the course of study, which lasted several months, he spent two years working with his father, publisher of the Peer Marquette Journal, a weekly newspaper in Chase, Michigan.

Inscribed in one of the newspaper’s account books, preserved in the archives of Pace University, is a wonderful motto which Homer Pace surely lived by:

 

"Treat all with respect...confide in few...wrong no man"

 

Like today’s Pace University students, Homer Pace was an ambitious person who was eager to do something constructive. Thus, following his father’s death, and the demise of the newspaper, Homer enrolled in Ferris Institute, Big Rapids, Michigan, to study business.

After completing one term at the Institute Homer obtained a position as a stenographer with a law firm.  Within two years he was working as a stenographer for the War Department in St. Paul, Minnesota.

In 1898 his stenographic skills landed him a position with Wm. Cameron & Co. at its lumber mills in Angelina, Texas.  After a few narrow escapes, including a train wreck and exposure to malaria and gunfire, Homer headed north to work for the law firm which had previously employed him and then, once again, the War Department, this time at an annual salary of $1,000, which was enough to support a wife.

Married in the summer of 1899, Homer Pace and Amble Evenly Vander hoof Pace rented "a fine little house" with six rooms. The cost was $12 per month.

In 1900 after rejecting a War Department offer to transfer to the Philippines, Homer became private secretary to the president of the Chicago Great Western Railroad, at a salary of $1,200 per year plus expenses.

In 1901, following the birth of his first child, a daughter named Helen, Homer headed to New York to manage the Chicago Great Western Railroad’s office at 31 Nassau Street. Before long he was Assistant Secretary of the Chicago Great Western and Secretary of one of its affiliated lines. By 1903 his salary was $3,600 per year.

With the new titles came additional responsibilities which required knowledge of accounting. Studying on his own, Homer acquired the expertise he needed and, at the same time, decided to take the New York State C.P.A. examination in 1904, the year his first son, Robert Scott Pace, was born.

Upon passing the exam, Homer resigned as Corporate Secretary of the railroad and using deferred compensation from his previous position, he established a C.P.A. practice in 1906.

Having tutored other young men preparing for the C.P.A. exam, Homer decided to augment his accounting practice by offering a formal, 66 week long course in accounting and law. His brother, Charles Ashford Pace, an attorney, joined him. The brothers prepared original educational materials which were used in their school which opened in October 1906 in rented quarters in the New York Tribune newspaper building on Nassau Street.

The Pace brothers also supplied faculty and texts for accounting classes held at Y.M.C.A.’s in New York and New Jersey and at private schools which they established in Boston, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

The growth of the lower Manhattan school necessitated moves to larger quarters in the Hudson Terminal complex in 1908 and to even bigger facilities on Church Street in 1910.

Although women had been admitted to the accounting course since 1906, during World War I, Pace Institute, as the school in lower Manhattan was then known, introduced a new course in Emergency Clerical Service for Women. In addition to presiding over a far-flung educational operation, Homer Pace also served as Acting Deputy Commissioner of Internal Revenue during the war.

By 1919,  4,000 students were taking Pace courses in the New York area. The Pace Standardized Course in Accounting was also offered at Y.M.C.A.’s in Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Grand Rapids, Kansas City, St. Louis, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle.

Concerned about quality control at distant locations, in 1921 the Pace brothers ended their arrangements with the Y. In the mid-twenties, they divested themselves of the private schools outside New York in order to devote their full attention to the lower Manhattan operation.

Throughout the 1920s the philosophy of Pace Institute was communicated to students through the Drury Creed, originated by Horatio Nelson Drury, a popular professor of English and Public Speaking. To learn more about the creed, go to "I Believe." 

Rolling admissions, a "time-saver" May term, a new secretarial practice course for women, scholarships for New York and New Jersey high school graduates, lavish freshmen/faculty dinners at Brooklyn’s Hotel St. George, public appearances by Homer Pace, and two well-received magazines, The Pace Student and The American Accountant, all played a role in the astounding growth of Pace Institute. To learn more about these periodicals go to "Publications".

In 1928 Pace Institute moved to the Transportation Building at 225 Broadway because of increased enrollment. At year later, with a student body of 3,000, the Institute was compelled to lease 20 % more space in the Transportation Building.

To retain students during the Great Depression, the Institute extended tuition credits of $100,000 to students requiring loans. Homer Pace also forfeited his salary and signed over his insurance in order to keep the school open.

In 1933, Pace Institute was reorganized into three distinct and more visible divisions: the School of Marketing, Advertising and Selling, the School of Credit Science and the School of Accountancy Practice. To further heighten the school’s visibility, high school guidance counselors and principals were entertained at lavish dinners at the Waldorf Astoria. A tour of the Institute’s facilities preceded the dinner. Guests were then transported to the Waldorf on chartered busses. Following dinner, Homer Pace addressed the guests. Homer Pace and Institute faculty members also visited high schools to address students. In l933-34, 120 lectures were delivered at New York area high schools. In addition to these presentations, which reached a combined audience of nearly 70,000 students, the Institute’s outreach program included a series of vocational guidance booklets. To learn more about this well-received initiative, go to "Vocational Guidance Booklets."

In 1935 Pace Institute, founded as a proprietary, i.e. profit-making school, was incorporated as a non-profit institution of higher education in New York State. At the same time, the New York State Board of Regents granted the Institute a provisional charter.

In 1940, Charles Ashford Pace, who had been retired since 1933, died.

In 1942 Pace Institute was granted an absolute charter by the New York State Board of Regents. A week later, Homer Pace, age 63, died of a cerebral hemorrhage. He was stricken while working in his office at the Institute. Newspapers throughout the country reported his death.  Homer was buried in New Lexington, Ohio. Marking the gravesite is a stone bearing the inscription:

HOMER ST. CLAIR PACE
TEACHER
1879-1942
 
Following his father's death, Robert Scott Pace became President of Pace Institute; Robert's brother, C. Richard Pace, became Secretary of Pace Institute.

In 1947 Dr. Edward Mortola began his career at Pace University as Assistant Dean.

In 1948 the New York State Board of Regents approved Pace Institute's application for college status and permitted the awarding of the B.B.A. degree.

In 1951 Pace College purchased the former New York Time building at 41 Park Row. To learn more about Pace 's expansion "Historic 41 Park Row."