Azusa Pacific University President Jon R. Wallace, DBA, announced today his plan to step away from his position on June 30, 2019. He has accepted an invitation by the Board of Trustees to continue his APU service in a new role¬–as president emeritus. Wallace became Azusa Pacific’s 16th president in November 2000, and holds the second-longest presidential tenure in university history.
Wallace came to APU as an undergraduate student in 1972, earning a bachelor’s degree and an MBA. He embarked on his professional career at the university upon graduation, holding many positions on campus from custodian to dean of students to president.
“It is unusual today for a university president to spend an entire professional calling at one place,” said Wallace in a letter to the entire APU community. “But that is my story and I am grateful for it. I am thrilled that for nearly five decades I was able to be a part of the transformation of a university, with my own transformation woven throughout. I look forward to where God will lead this university and where He will take me in continued service to Azusa Pacific.”
Under Wallace’s leadership, APU became a nationally recognized leader in Christian higher education. Committed to making college more accessible and affordable for its students, this faith and learning community has seen enrollment more than double in the last 18 years, with significant growth stemming from graduate and professional programs. Today, APU stands as the largest Christian university on the West Coast with seven offsite regional locations throughout Southern California. The student body is now more than 50 percent diverse, reflecting the communities APU serves. To support student retention, success, and graduation, APU introduced innovative academic and mentoring programs most recently assisting its 44 percent first-generation college student population and 500 military families. During his presidency, Wallace helped usher in a new era of Cougar athletics when APU officially joined the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II. He has served on the boards of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities and the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities.
In May, the board will finalize a comprehensive plan to create a search process to be completed by spring 2019. As president emeritus, Wallace’s first responsibility will be to support the new president and champion their initiatives, beginning with a seamless transition between the two administrations and collective thinking about how to best position opportunities to extend the APU mission.
“Over the next year, the university community will celebrate President Wallace’s profound contribution,” said Peggy Campbell, APU board chair. “He leaves an indelible imprint on this place. Indeed, his story is the APU story and his legacy reflects the transformation possible when we lean into God’s call upon our lives.”
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