Fall 2003

Grounded for a Greater Tomorrow: Vision 2012
Jon R. Wallace, DBA, President
August 28

Thirty-one years ago I arrived as a freshman on the Azusa Pacific College campus. In the more than three decades that have passed, much has changed. But the core purpose and reason for our being has not. The east wall of the Felix Event Center illustrates what has not changed: God First. One hundred two years ago the Training School for Christian Workers had one non-paid faculty and two students. By 1939, that had grown to 3 full-time paid faculty, 4 part-time faculty, 65 students, and an annual budget of $10,000. Tuition, room, and board was $5 week. By 1955, we were paying 24 full-time and 10 part-time faculty. Student enrollment topped out at 179 and the annual budget was $174,000. By comparison, this year we project total undergraduate and graduate enrollments to exceed 8,000 students. Our full-time faculty number more than 300 and a significant number of adjuncts fill in closely behind them. This year’s budget will be in excess of $131 million. We spend the equivalent of the 1955 annual budget every two days. I mention these numbers only to underscore the remarkable journey on which God has led us. So where do we go from here? How do we visualize our collective future?

As many of you know, this last year we engaged in a process of envisioning our future that included feedback from faculty, staff, students, and board members. With more than a dozen distinct steps in the process, we poked and prodded, prayed and dreamed about where God would take us. In conversations with many of you and in thoughtful reflection, I grasped an important truth that emerged from this process. As our board and academic leadership looked out on the horizon, we saw great needs in our society. We also identified countless opportunities waiting to be harvested. It soon became clear that our institutional vision would not be based primarily on society’s great needs; we agreed that there are more needs than APU has resources to meet. We would also not base our vision entirely on opportunities. With pen and paper, those of us in this room could catalog more opportunities than we might be able to count. In fact, our mission-centered vision will embrace great needs and maximize great opportunities that come from a clear call from God. With prayer, wisdom, and discernment, we will move where we sense God leading us. The needs and opportunities He places clearly before us will be our roadmap for the next decade.

Last year at our Kickoff banquet, I stood before you and asked that together we would embrace the following goals: 1) advance diversity; 2) grow a culture of scholarship; 3) embrace God-honoring excellence; and 4) live out truthful and effective communication. I want to report that all four of these goals were significantly advanced. Let me mention a few accomplishments in each area.


  • Appointed a special assistant for university diversity: Pamela M. Christian, Ph.D.
  • Organized the 15-member Diversity Training team comprised of faculty, staff, students, and administration this spring.
  • Introduced the Faculty Diversity Award, which recognizes advocacy and support efforts to advance God-honoring diversity at APU, and honored David Miyahara, Ph.D.

Growing a culture of scholarship

  • For the third consecutive year, APU secured a place in the Top 25 U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges in the West, Master’s classification.
  • We have put in place a new academic leadership structure that will bring vision with mission to our academy.
  • Ilene Bezjian, Ph.D., brought to our campus the Honorable Edward W. Kelley Jr., former Governor of the Federal Reserve Board, as well as Sir Patrick Duffy, undersecretary for Winston Churchill’s Air Force.
  • Under the leadership of Rose Liegler, Ph.D., our School of Nursing received a five-year approval for re-accreditation from the California Board of Registered Nursing.
  • A number of special events were hosted on our campus, among them, the Conference on Character Education and Development, organized by Bev Stanford, Ph.D., in her role as leader of the Center for Research in Ethics and Values.
  • Receipt of $4 million in grants from the Lilly Endowment Inc. for the Youth Leadership Institute (Robin Dugall) and the Program for the Theological Exploration of Vocation (Tamsen Murray, Ph.D.).

Embracing God-honoring excellence

  • Completed the Duke Academic Complex, featuring 12 classrooms, 6 seminar rooms, a lecture hall, 40 offices, an extensive art gallery, and a tri-level library.
  • This summer the library was upgraded with to the leading Web-based solution for libraries. This gives APU’s community unparalleled access to our existing collections.
  • Along with significant construction activities, we have also undertaken several improvement projects. Namely, our Cafeteria has undergone a major revitalization effort. Now our Food Services staff’s commitment to excellence in food preparation will be paired with facilities better suited to this objective. Students will delight in a new vegan bar as well as chefs carving meat daily. Moreover, Heritage Café on West Campus has expanded service and now bears the name of its chief benefactors, Ed and Thelma Heinrich.
  • The latest residence facility, Trinity Hall, opened this fall. Its first residents will enjoy a dynamic living-learning environment, including an ample grassy area in the front lawn, much like one would find behind Adams Hall. This outside courtyard promises to be another gathering place for community building.
  • The Silas Project facilitated an upgrade of the administration systems.

Living Out Truthful and Effective Communication

  • Organized a leadership retreat where participants discussed difficult but key issues relating to change, communication, strategy, and decision making.
  • Held community forums as part of the specific plan process.
  • Hosted the State of the University gathering in March, drawing together community, church, and local government leaders on our campus.

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