La Sierra University President Randall Wisbey has informed board chairman Ricardo Graham that he will be retiring as of June 30 of this year. The decision was driven by health concerns. In his letter to the faculty and staff, Wisbey stated:
“This has been a difficult decision for me to make as I have enjoyed the privilege of serving as your president for what will be 12 years. However, due to the continuing challenges with my eyes following four eye surgeries within the last 18 months, and after much reflection, prayer, and counsel with my family, I have come to the conviction that this is the appropriate decision for me personally, as well as for the university. Deanna and I plan to relocate to our home in Washington the first week of July.”
Wisbey described La Sierra as “a dynamic Adventist university committed to being inclusive, progressive, and hopeful.”
During Wisbey’s tenure:
• Total enrollment expanded from 1,675 to 2,356.
• The endowment rose from $56.77 million to $92.6 million.
• The 60,000-square-foot Tom & Vi Zapara Business building opened in 2013. The School of Business, the largest in the Adventist system, became the Tom & Vi Zapara School of Business. Its Enactus team won the World Cup in 2007 and the national championship in 2007 and 2016.
• La Sierra was recognized by the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education as number one in the nation for diversity, and recognized by the federal government as a Hispanic-serving institution.
• Among the new academic programs launched was criminal justice, which is now the university’s largest major. Other new programs included film and television, neuroscience, archaeology, and the Ph.D. in “Leadership” in the School of Education.
• The School of Religion became the “HMS Richards Divinity School” and achieved accreditation from the Association of Theological Schools.
Wisbey began his career as a pastor in the Oregon Conference in 1980, began serving as a college chaplain in 1985, and eventually became a professor, a seminary professor and a university president.