David Poole, chair of the APU Board of Trustees, announced today that President Paul W. Ferguson has advised the Board that he intends to retire as the 17th president of Azusa Pacific University at the end of the Fall 2021 semester.

“We are immensely grateful that President Ferguson, and his wife, Grace, came to APU at a time of significant challenge for us as an academic community,” said Poole. “President Ferguson brought a long and successful history of higher education experience at the highest levels of administration, a significant portfolio of scholarship, and a collaborative, caring, and Christ-honoring approach to leadership. His imprint on this university is significant and positions APU for impact and strength moving forward. Under Dr. Ferguson’s leadership, APU developed and has begun implementation of a comprehensive, consensus-based, seven-year strategic plan, Renewal: Strengthening Our Capacity for Cultivating Christ-Centered Scholars and Leaders. He has engaged faculty, staff, students, and friends with a new, diverse, and talented Leadership Team committed to building strong, collaborative relationships, increasing fiscal stability and accountability, and providing successful guidance of the University through the unprecedented 2020-21 COVID-19 pandemic. As he completes his service here over the next several months, he will leave a strong foundation for his successor.”

In his message to the APU Community, Dr. Ferguson said, “Grace and I have been honored and grateful for the opportunity to serve APU. These times have been challenging for leaders in higher education but, through it all, it has been my desire to model servant leadership and promote Christ-centered academic excellence. Grace and I feel this is the right time for our leadership transition, providing a solid bridge to the future. We now look forward to retirement with our family on the East Coast.”

Tom Miller, incoming APU Board of Trustees chair, said, “President Ferguson has catalyzed transformational change at APU, promoting the stable foundation for meeting the many challenges facing Christian higher education, and we will continue to build on that strong foundation together as an APU Community. We are thrilled to work with Paul through December and are deeply grateful to he and Grace for their incredible contributions to APU. We pray for God’s abundant blessings when they embark on their retirement journey.”

During his 40-year professional career, Ferguson served in senior leadership roles at five public universities, including as President of Ball State University, President of the University of Maine, Provost at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and Vice Provost at the University of Louisiana Monroe. Prior to coming to APU in 2019, he was the Founding Dean of the School of Science, Technology, and Health at Biola University.

During the next several months, the APU Community will be actively engaged with the Board of Trustees and University Leadership to ensure a smooth transition, including a nationwide Presidential Search.

President Paul Ferguson and his wife, Grace
President Paul Ferguson and his wife, Grace

Azusa Pacific University is an evangelical, Christian university committed to God First and excellence in higher education. With 67 bachelor’s degrees, 47 master’s degrees, 18 certificates, 9 credentials, and 9 doctoral programs, the university offers its nearly 10,000 students a quality education on campus, online, and at seven regional locations throughout Southern California.