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 | john.mcvay@wallawalla.edu

Executive assistant to the president
Deirdre Benwell
(509) 527-2121 | Fax: (509) 527-2103 | deirdre.benwell@wallawalla.edu

Education: Ph.D. University of Sheffield, 1995; M.Div. Andrews University, 1993; B.A. Southern Adventist University, 1980

Previous Experience: Seminary dean, Andrews University, 2000-2006; Associate dean and professor of New Testament, Andrews University, 1998-2000; Assistant and associate professor of religion, Pacific Union College, 1985-1998; Pastor, Iowa and Georgia, 1977-1978, 1982-1985

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

Other: John McVay's Inauguration Address

Pamela Cress

Vice President for academic administration
(509) 527-2431 | pam.cress@wallawalla.edu  

Executive assistant to the vice president for academic administration
Cheri Wolcott
(509) 527-2431 | Fax: (509) 527-2103 | cheri.wolcott@wallawalla.edu

Education: Ph.D. Andrews University, 2004; M.S.W. Walla Walla College, 1994; B.S.W. Walla Walla College, 1990

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 | prakash.ramoutar@wallawalla.edu

Executive assistant to the vice president for financial administration
Sharryl Toews
(509) 527-2402 | Fax: (509) 527-2130 | sharryl.toews@wallawalla.edu

Education: Ph.D. Business Administration; M.B.A. Accounting & Finance Specialization; MAPTH Leadership & Administration Specialization; B.S. Applied Accounting

Experience: Assistant Professor of Accounting and Finance, Walla Walla University, 2021-2022; Vice President of Financial Administration, University of the Southern Caribbean, 2015-2021; Chief Accountant, University of the Southern Caribbean, 2015; Internal Auditor, University of the Southern Caribbean, 2014-2015; Accountant, University of the Southern Caribbean, 2010-2013; Junior Accountant, University of the Southern Caribbean, 2009-2010; Accounts Manager, University of the Southern Caribbean, 2008

Darren Wilkins

Vice President for student life

(509) 527-2511 | darren.wilkins@wallawalla.edu

Executive assistant to the vice president for student life
Sharryl Toews
(509) 527-2511 | Fax: (509) 527-2674 | sharryl.toews@wallawalla.edu

Education: M.A. La Sierra University, Curriculum and Instruction, Emphasis in Ancient Languages, 2004; B.S. Walla Walla University, 1994; Montana State University, State High School Principal Endorsement, 2008

Previous Experience: Principal, Spring Valley Academy, 2013–June 2023; Principal, Mt. Ellis Academy, 2002-2013; Teacher, Loma Linda Academy High School, 2001-2002; Teacher/Vice-Principal, Loma Linda Academy Hr. High School, 1994-2001

Family: Darren and his wife, Yvette, have three sons.

Jodi Wagner

Vice President for university relations and advancement

(509) 527-2772 | jodi.wagner@wallawalla.edu

Administrative assistant to the vice president for university relations and advancement
Renee Unterseher
(509) 527-2772 | Fax: (509) 527-2397 | renee.unterseher@wallawalla.edu

Education: B.A. in Mass Communication with emphasis in Journalism with miniors in Business and English, Walla Walla University, 1992

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

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

Pedrito Maynard-Reid

Senior Associate Vice President for diversity and inclusion
Professor of Theology

(509) 527-2028 | pedrito.maynard-reid@wallawalla.edu 

Education: Th.M. Fuller Theological Seminary, 1995; Th.D. Andrews University, 1981; M.Div. Andrews University, 1975; M.A. Andrews University, 1973; B.Th. West Indies College, 1970; L.T.C.L. Trinity College of Music, 1970; L.R.S.M. Royal Schools of Music, 1970; A.T.C.L. Trinity College of Music, 1969

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

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

Albert Handal

Campus Chaplain
(509) 527-2010 | albert.handal@wallawalla.edu

Education: D.Min. Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary; M.Div. Andrews University; B.A. Southern Adventist University

Previous Experience: Pastor for College and Young Adults, Southwestern Adventist University - Keene, TX 2015-2017; Senior Pastor, Austin Stonehill Church - Austin, TX  2011-2015; Pastor for Youth and Young Adults, Calhoun Adventist Church - Calhoun, GA 2006-2011

Family: Albert and his wife, Allison, have three children: Edward, Rosa, and Dalia

Howard Munson

Associate Vice President for academic administration
(509) 527-2395 | howard.munson@wallawalla.edu

Academic Services Specialist
Lorri Bays
(509) 527-2395 | Fax: (509) 527-2130 | lorri.bays@wallawalla.edu

Education: Ph.D. Washington State University; M.A. U.S. History from Portland State University; B.A., Summa Cum Laude, Major-U.S. History, Minor-Biblical Archaeology Honors Program, Walla Walla College

Previous Experience: Professor and Department Chair: Pacific Union College July 2018-June 2023; Associate Professor: Pacific Union College July 2015-July 2018; Assistant Professor: Pacific Union College July 2012-July 2015; Instructor: Washington State University Summer 2010,2011,2012; Teaching Assistant: Washington State University Spring 2008-2012; Instructor: Pacific Union College Summer 2006-Summer 2007; Instructor: Walla Walla College Spring 2003-Spring 2006; Graduate Assistant: Portland State University Fall 2002-Spring 2003

Howard and his wife, Brenda, have two sons.

Jonathan Duncan

Associate Vice President for graduate studies

(509) 527-2421 | jonathan.duncan@wallawalla.edu 

Administrative assistant to the associate vice president for graduate studies
Nicole Malik
(509) 527-2421 | Fax: (509) 527-2237 | nicole.malik@wallawalla.edu

Education: Ph.D. Mathematics, Indiana University, 2007; M.S. Computer Science, Indiana University 2001; M.A. Mathematics, Indiana University, 2001; B.S. Mathematics, Walla Walla College, 1997; BA Computer Science, German, Walla Walla College, 1997

Eric James

Associate Vice President for financial administration
(509) 527-2401 | eric.james@wallawalla.edu

B.S. Business Administration, with a concentration in Accounting, Walla Walla College; C.P.A. Planned Giving & Trust Services certification

Previous Experience: Staff Auditor, General Conference Auditing Service; Senior Accountant and Director of Accounting, Walla Walla University

Family: Eric and his wife Kristelle have two children.

Trevor Congleton

Associate Vice President for marketing and enrollment services
(509) 527-2256 |& trevor.congleton@wallawalla.edu

Education: M.S.W. Walla Walla University, 2007; B.S.W. Social Work with a minor in Religion, Walla Walla University, 2006

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
(509) 527-2586 | troy.patzer@wallawalla.edu

Education: M.B.A. City University, 2004; Administrative certificate, NPUC in conjunction with Walla Walla University, 2008; B.S. in Business Administration, Walla Walla University, 1999; 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

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

Brooklynn Armesto-Larson

Assistant Vice President for Student Life
Dean of Students

(509) 527-2542 | brooklynn.armesto-larson@wallawalla.edu

Education: J.D. University of Oregon School of Law, 2020; B.A. Walla Walla University, 2016

Previous Experience: Judicial Clerk for Hon. Judge Debra Vogt, Lane County Circuit Court, 2020-2021; Attorney, Criminal Law & Family Law, 2021-2023

Family: Brooklynn and her husband Manuel have one daughter.