Three Years Running

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Almost three years ago, at about 10 o’clock on Tuesday evening September 16, 2014, the members of the Board of Trustees of Fresno Pacific University called Steve Varvis and me into a special meeting and informed us that they had appointed me president of the university, effective immediately. My first official action was to name Steve senior vice president, in addition to his ongoing role as provost. It was one more of the challenging moments of stepping out by faith in the history of Fresno Pacific.

The next afternoon Steve and I met with faculty and staff for a Town Hall meeting in Shehadey Dining Hall in our new roles. He and I spoke briefly, along with our new CFO, Robert Lippert. There was not much to say, but we all knew that there was a lot to do. I made one promise that day: the rate of change at Fresno Pacific would increase significantly.

On Friday, June 2, 2017, I will participate in my final meeting with the board. I am confident that, because of enormous commitment by the entire FPU community, we have kept that one simple promise I made. Walking by faith was not adequate for this particular stretch of the Fresno Pacific journey. We have had three years of running by faith.

On July 1, 2017, Joseph Jones, Ph.D., becomes the thirteenth president of Fresno Pacific University. In Joe and his wife, Yvette, I am confident that the board found the presidential couple that God had been preparing for the path ahead. President Jones will lead a healthy, joyful and sustainable culture of continuous improvement that combines financially viable and highly ranked academic programs with a wide range of highly regarded online educational offerings, Christ-centered spiritual vitality and master planning progress that includes completion of the Center for the Arts.

The challenges and threats will continue, but so will the opportunities and mission God has given us. And we know ever more surely that “with God, all things are possible.” So, what has felt like three years of running by faith starts to feel like sustainable long-distance power walking by faith. It seems miraculous, and it is in a way. As we pray for and seek to do God’s will and share in the coming of his kingdom now on earth, we do not need to work miracles for God. God works miracles for us.

  • Thanks Richard and Steve Varvis the steady hands at the FPU helm. You are the only president of both Fresno Pacific College and Fresno Pacific University. May God continue to bless you and Steve in the future. I personally owe both of you folks a lot.