Walla Walla University leadership team

Walla Walla University is led by the university president, the president’s Cabinet, and the Board of Trustees. The president and vice presidents lead the day-to-day management and direction of the university, and the president receives this authority from the university Board of Trustees.

Three times a year, the president and vice presidents meet with the Board of Trustees to advise that governing body regarding university matters. The Board of Trustees is responsible for the overall government and welfare of the university, including matters regarding faculty, staff, students, and alumni. The board is also responsible for selecting the university president, determining the major goals of the university, and approving university budgets.

As a Seventh-day Adventist university, members of the Board of Trustees include regional leaders of the Adventist church as well as church members elected to terms of service on the board.

John K. McVay has led the university as president since 2006.


Learn more about the Board of Trustees.

President’s Cabinet

John McVay



(509) 527-2121

Executive assistant to the president
Deirdre Benwell
(509) 527-2121
Fax: (509) 527-2103


  • BA Southern Adventist University, 1980; Theology
  • MDiv Andrews University, 1983
  • PhD University of Sheffield, 1995

Previous Experience

  • Seminary dean, Andrews University Theological Seminary, 2000–2006
  • Associate dean and professor of New Testament, Andrews University Theological Seminary, 1998–2000
  • Assistant and associate professor of religion, Pacific Union College, 1985–1998
  • Pastor, Iowa and Georgia, 1977–1978, 1982–1985


John and his wife, Pam, have two children: Marshall and Macy.


John McVay's Inauguration Address 

Pamela Cress

Vice President
for academic administration

(509) 527-2431

Executive assistant to the vice president for academic administration
Cheri Wolcott
(509) 527-2431
Fax: (509) 527-2103


  • BSW Walla Walla College
  • MSW Walla Walla University
  • PhD Andrews University

Previous Experience 

  • Dean of the School of Social Work and Sociology 
  • Professor of social work 

Prakash Ramoutar

Vice President
for financial administration

(509) 527-2402

Executive assistant to the vice president for financial administration
Sharryl Toews
(509) 527-2402
Fax: (509) 527-2130

Academic Qualifications

  • PhD - Business Administration
  • MBA - Accounting & Finance Specialization
  • MAPTH - Leadership & Administration Specialization
  • BS - Applied Accounting

Professional Qualifications

  • FCCA - Certified Chartered Accountant
  • CIA - Certified Internal Auditor
  • CFE - Certified Fraud Examiner
  • Certificate in Anti-Money Laundering & Financial Crimes


  • Over the last 15 years, served in various corporate positions including Junior Accountant, Accountant, Internal Auditor, Accounts Manager, Chief Accountant, and Vice President of Financial Administration.
  • Over the last 9 years, held academic roles as e-Tutor, Second Examiner, Course Coordinator, Lecturer, and Assistant Professor at various institutions of higher learning including the University of the West Indies Open Campus, University of the Southern Caribbean, the School of Higher Learning for Heriot-Watt University, and the Associate of Business Executives (UK).

Teaching Areas

  • Intermediate Accounting, Auditing, Managerial Cost Accounting, Accounting Information Systems, Government & Not-for-Profit Accounting, Risk & Insurance, Business Analytics 


  • First Recipient of the University of the Southern Caribbean Special President's Award - Outstanding Contribution Toward the Development of Financial Administration, 2016-2021
  • Outstanding Service Award - Financial Affairs, University of the Southern Caribbean, 2013


  • Fellow Chartered Certified Accountants (United Kingdom)
  • Institute of Internal Auditors (USA)
  • Association of Fraud Examiners (USA)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants (Trinidad and Tobago)

Research Interests

  • Budgetary Control
  • Working Capital Management
  • Business Sustainability
  • Performance Management


  • Cricket, traveling, spending time with family


Doug Tilstra

Vice President
for student life

(509) 527-2511

Executive assistant to the vice president for student life
Sharryl Toews
(509) 527-2511
Fax: (509) 527-2674


  • BA Pacific Union College, 1979; Theology
  • MDiv Andrews University, 1983
  • PhD Capella University, 2007; Organization and Management, Leadership Specialization

Previous Experience

  • Director of Outdoor Education and Leadership, Southern Adventist University, 2011–2017
  • Professor, School of Education and Psychology, Southern Adventist University, 2011–2017
  • Professor of church leadership, School of Religion, Southern Adventist University, 2000–2001
  • Ministerial director, British Columbia Conference, 1997–2000
  • Pastor, Penn Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church, 1994–1997
  • Church planter, Rocklin Seventh-day Adventist Church, 1990–1994
  • Minister of evangelism and church growth, Carmichael Seventh-day Adventist Church, 1986–1990
  • Pastor, Anniston/Gadsden/Pell City District, 1984–1986
  • Minister of church growth and church planting, Birmingham Seventh-day Adventist Church, 1983–1984
  • Seminary student and 12-month intern with Mark Finley in Chicago, 1980–1983
  • Pastoral intern and Bible worker, Jackson Seventh-day Adventist Church, 1979–1980


Doug and his wife, Lorraine, have three children: John (married to Lisa and living in the Netherlands), Stephen (a physical therapist in Chattanooga, Tenn.), and Elisabeth (a master’s student in British Columbia).

Jodi Wagner

Vice President
for university relations and advancement

(509) 527-2772

Administrative assistant to the vice president for university relations and advancement
Renee Unterseher
(509) 527-2772
Fax: (509) 527-2397


  • BA Walla Walla University, 1992; Mass Communication with emphasis in Journalism
    • Minors in Business and English

Previous Experience

  • Director of Client Planning and Strategy Services, Coffey Communications, 1998–2008
  • Client services representative, Coffey Communications, 1994–1998
  • Copy editor, Coffey Communications, 1992–1994


Jodi and her husband, Jeff, have three children: Katie, Jenna, and Nikolas.

Pedrito Maynard-Reid

Assistant to the President
for diversity


  • ATCL Trinity College of Music, 1969
  • LTCL Trinity College of Music, 1970
  • LRSM Royal Schools of Music, 1970
  • BTh West Indies College, 1970
  • MA Andrews University, 1973
  • MDiv Andrews University, 1975
  • ThD Andrews University, 1981
  • MTh Fuller Theological Seminary, 1995


Previous Experience

  • Vice president for spiritual life and mission and professor of biblical studies and missiology, Walla Walla University
  • Professor of biblical studies and missiology, Walla Walla University
  • Professor of music and religious studies, Northern Caribbean University
  • Professor of theology, Antillean University


Pedrito and his wife, Violet, have two children: Pedrito II and Natasha.

Scott Ligman

Associate Vice President
for academic administration

(509) 527-2395

Academic Services Specialist
Lorri Bays
(509) 527-2395
Fax: (509) 527-2130


  • PhD Oregon State University 

Previous Experience

  • Professor of biology, department chairman 


Scott and his wife, Nancy, have a son: Ryan.

Jonathan Duncan

Associate Vice President
for graduate studies

(509) 527-2421

Administrative assistant to the associate vice president for graduate studies
Nicole Malik
(509) 527-2421
Fax: (509) 527-2237


  • PhD Indiana University, 2007; Mathematics
  • MS Indiana University 2001; Computer Science
  • MA Indiana University, 2001; Mathematics
  • BS Walla Walla College, 1997; Mathematics
  • BA Walla Walla College, 1997; Computer Science, German

Set theory, logic and foundations


Eric James 

Interim Associate Vice President
for financial administration

(509) 527-2401

Executive assistant to the associate vice president for financial administration
Sharryl Toews
(509) 527-2402
Fax: (509) 527-2103

Trevor Congleton

Associate Vice President 
for marketing and enrollment services


  • MSW Walla Walla University, 2007
  • BSW Walla Walla University, 2006; Social Work with a minor in Religion

Previous Experience

  • Director for recruitment, Walla Walla University, 2010–2012
  • Director for guest relations, Walla Walla University, 2008–2010
  • School counselor, Walla Walla Valley Academy, 2007–2008

Troy Patzer

Associate Vice President 
for alumni and advancement services


  • BS Walla Walla University, 1999; Business Administration 
  • MBA City University, 2004
  • Administrative certificate, NPUC in conjunction with Walla Walla University, 2008
  • Planned Giving & Trust Services certification

Previous Experience

  • Trust officer, Upper Columbia Conference, 2012–2014
  • Principal, Upper Columbia Academy, 2008–2012
  • Vice president of student administration/accountant, Upper Columbia Academy, 2004–2008
  • Treasurer/accountant, Upper Columbia Academy, 1999–2004


Troy and his wife, Renée, have three daughters: Amélie, Elianne, and Lilia.


Assistant Vice President for Student Life
Dean of Students

(509) 527-2542