Azusa Pacific University President Paul W. Ferguson, Ph.D., DABT, named Glendora, Calif. resident Rukshan Fernando, Ph.D., provost and chief academic officer at APU, effective immediately. Fernando’s expertise lies in leadership identity, higher education administration, and inclusive excellence. He becomes the university’s fifth provost after a six-month nationwide search.

“Dr. Fernando is an exceptional leader who will champion and advance liberal arts, professional, and graduate education,” said Ferguson. “He brings a deep understanding of APU and a strong commitment to work alongside all members of the APU Community with a passion for our shared goal of Christ-centered academic excellence, realized fully through implementation of the university’s new Strategic Plan.”

As the Chief Academic Officer of Azusa Pacific University, Fernando will lead and advocate for APU’s academic mission, overseeing 11 schools and colleges, a seminary, and 3 libraries. Reporting to the president and serving as a member of the President’s Cabinet, Fernando will provide strategic leadership and oversight of academics and broad university initiatives.

“I am honored to be named as APU’s provost as I believe strongly in APU’s commitment to empower our diverse student body to reach their God-given potential, achieve their academic dreams, and graduate to make a positive impact in the world,” said Fernando. “I look forward to working with APU’s exceptional faculty who provide nationally recognized research and teaching expertise to advance’s APU’s mission.”

Fernando assumes this role after serving as APU’s interim provost, where he worked to ensure the university’s commitment to quality academic programming, faculty welfare, and fiscal discipline in times of increasing global and national disruption. Fernando came to APU eight years ago as an associate professor and Bachelor of Social Work program director. Subsequently, he served from 2015-19 as professor and associate dean in the School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences. In 2018, he was selected to participate in the APU Leadership Development Program for Emerging Leaders. Fernando previously served as interim head of University Libraries from 2018-19 and interim dean of the School of Business and Management in 2019. In these positions, he developed additional leadership and management experience in faculty development, curriculum development, fiscal management, and accreditation processes.

During his career, Fernando has participated in the WASC Senior College and University Commission Assessment Academy and the Harvard Institute for Higher Education’s Management Development Program. He has held leadership roles supporting the Council of Christian Colleges & Universities Multi-Ethnic Leadership Development Institute and continues to serve as a mentor to faculty and administrators of color across the country. Dr. Fernando has also served as a Program Reviewer for the U.S. Department of the Treasury Community Development Finance Institutions Fund.

Fernando maintains active involvement in the local church and community by serving on the National Board of Administration for the Free Methodist Church and as a school board member for the Glendora Unified School District.

Fernando earned a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Taylor University; Master of Social Work with a concentration Community Organizing from the University of Michigan; and Master of Arts in Community Economic Development with a concentration in Policy and Doctor of Philosophy in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University.

Provost Rukshan Fernando, Ph.D.
Provost Rukshan Fernando, Ph.D.


Rachel White
Executive Director of Strategic Communication
Phone: (626) 815-4502
Email: [email protected]

Azusa Pacific University is an evangelical, Christian university committed to God First and excellence in higher education. With 68 bachelor’s degrees, 48 master’s degrees, 18 certificates, 10 credentials, and 9 doctoral programs, the university offers its more than 10,000 students a quality education on campus, online, and at seven regional locations throughout Southern California.