The largest Christian college on the West coast has named a new president who looks to restore financial stability and promote unity at a 120-year-old institution that has faced questions about its commitment to the authority of scripture.
Last Monday night, the Asuza Pacific University board of trustees in Southern California voted for Dr. Paul Ferguson, an accomplished college administrator who previously led two public universities, to succeed President Jon Wallace. Wallace is retiring at the end of May.
Ferguson, who has served in the past as president of secular institutions like Ball State University in Indiana and the University of Maine, has served since 2016 as the founding dean of the School of Science, Technology and Health at the evangelical Biola University in La Miranda, California.
“[APU] certainly has one of the great reputations in Christian higher education. It’s one of the larger, more successful schools, certainly in a very challenging environment of Southern California,” Ferguson told The Christian Post. “So my background, I think as God has brought us together at a certain point in time, I think I’m bringing probably a deeper broader experience in strategic planning, resource development, how to ensure that the university is fiscally sound and moving towards a clear goal.”
David Poole, the chair of APU’s board of trustees, said in a statement that Ferguson will work to improve financial stability to APU.
“I’m confident he will strengthen our position as a leading university in teaching, student development, and Christian service,” Poole said.
Ferguson explained that he will spend time over the next two months familiarizing himself with the situations facing APU so that he can “hit the ground running” on June 1.
Ferguson said that APU, like many other private and public universities across the U.S., faces a number of financial challenges. Particularly when developing an aggressive enrollment management model, Ferguson said that expenses have to be controlled.
“There’s nothing unique about the [APU] situation that other universities don’t face,” Ferguson stated. “I think my job is to come in and really take a hard look at it. Obviously, I don’t have the blueprint today until I have my time over the next several weeks to kind of gain insight and to get the debriefings. But I think it’s really clearly going to be tied to very insightful fiscal management of controlling revenue and expenses, looking at new sources of revenue advancement development plans.”
He also stated that questions of how to balance the undergraduate model versus the graduate model will also come into play. There are over 5,600 undergrads and over 4,400 graduate students enrolled at APU.
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Source: Christian Post