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Christon Arthur Selected as La Sierra University's Next President

Christon Arthur new La Sierra University president (middle age Black man with glasses)

Christon Arthur is set to become La Sierra University's sixth president on July 1, 2024. Photo provided by La Sierra University

The La Sierra University Board of Trustees on May 9, 2024, unanimously approved the appointment of Christon Arthur to serve as the university’s sixth president. He arrives from Andrews University in Michigan where he has been provost since 2016.

Arthur will begin his presidential duties on July 1. He takes over the leadership post from Richard Osborn who was selected last fall to serve as the university’s interim president following the resignation of Joy Fehr. Osborn will continue to serve the campus through the end of June.

“What an exciting moment for La Sierra University. We are thrilled by the selection of Dr. Arthur to the president’s role,” said Bradford C. Newton, university board chair and Pacific Union Conference president. “His remarkable breadth of experiences and insights into so many aspects of educational leadership are a perfect fit for La Sierra. We look forward to working with him as the university continues to chart an upward path following the short-term strategic plan that has been developed, and we anticipate a bright future for years to come under Dr. Arthur’s skillful guidance.”

In a surprise Zoom call from Michigan, Arthur made his first appearance to the campus following the May 9 board selection. “It is the joy and honor of my life to be able to accept the invitation to join this illustrious La Sierra University,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the years ahead. I’m fully confident that God will lead, God will guide, and God will direct. I’m placing the future in the hands of God to help La Sierra to become all that God has called it to become, and I’m delighted for the opportunity to work for, and to see where God will lead us into the future.”

As Andrews University’s provost, Arthur oversaw approximately a $70 million academic budget and a total enrollment of about 10,000 students, including nearly 5,000 non-degree seeking individuals. Successful initiatives under his purview include the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, funded by a $3.5 million estate planning gift, a rebirth of the university’s career center, funded by a Title III grant, the creation of a Center for Vocation and Calling, funded by a Council of Independent Colleges grant, and the re-establishing of the Andrews University Center for Teaching Excellence.

Arthur led the Michigan campus’ strategies to enhance enrollment growth, led in the formation of international relationships that resulted in enrollment increases from international markets, and spearheaded use of data analytics toward achieving best practices.

He holds multiple graduate degrees including an Ed.S. and a doctoral degree respectively in curriculum and instruction and in educational administration from Andrews University, and completed post-graduate studies at Harvard University’s Institute for Management and Leadership in Education. Last year he earned a graduate certificate in finance from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill where he is currently an MBA candidate. He also holds a B.A. in theology from the University of the Southern Caribbean in Trinidad and Tobago.

Prior to serving as provost, Arthur held additional leadership positions at Andrews beginning in 2010 as dean of the School of Graduate Studies & Research. Before that he served four years in administrative posts at Tennessee State University where he also taught as an associate professor in educational administration. He currently teaches at Andrews as an educational administration professor, a position held since 2010. He has been an educator for more than 30 years and has worked in elementary and secondary schools.

Arthur, a native of Grenada, will serve as La Sierra University’s first Black president in its nearly 102-year history. The university began in October 1922 as La Sierra Academy and expanded exponentially over the ensuing decades and through several iterations, becoming La Sierra College in 1939. In 1967 it joined Loma Linda University as its college of arts and sciences. In 1990, La Sierra separated from Loma Linda to once again become its own entity under the leadership of its first president as a university, noted theologian and professor Fritz Guy. Lawrence T. Geraty, Randal R. Wisbey and Fehr respectively led the university between 1993 and 2023.