A decade of leadership

McVay becomes third longest leading president in WWU history

On July 1, 2006, John McVay became the 23rd president of Walla Walla College. With a decade of leadership completed and well into his 11th year as president, McVay has become the third longest leading president in the history of the university. Walter I. Smith served as president for 13 years (1917–1930); George W. Bowers served as president for 17 years (1938–1955); and N. Clifford Sorensen served as president for 10 years (1976–1985 and 2001–2002).

Under McVay’s leadership, a wide array of improvements to campus infrastructure have been completed including the construction of the new Administration Building, several new cabins and a new boat ramp at the Rosario Marine Laboratory, remodeled facilities for the College Place campuses of the School of Social Work and the School of Nursing, a remodeled gymnasium including new team rooms, locker rooms, and a new gym floor, and most recently the completion of front-campus improvements related to the College Avenue/Rose Street project.

McVay implemented long-range budget planning processes, resulting in a WWU Composite Financial Index (CFI) score of 6.4 on a scale of -4 to 10 and tuition increases of not more than two percent over the last several years. (A CFI score higher than three is considered very good. WWU has the second highest CFI score of all Adventist colleges and universities by a wide margin.)

McVay led the university through the name change from Walla Walla College to Walla Walla University, and led in the start of the $35 million Life.Changing. comprehensive campaign and the WWU 2013–2023 Sabbath Jubilee strategic initiative.

Under his leadership, the university welcomed the largest freshman class in 17 years, retention rates have improved, in part due to the implementation of the new mentorship program for freshmen, and diversity has increased in undergraduate student enrollment from 21.7 percent (2006–2010) to 32.5 percent (2011–2015).

In a recent report to WWU constituents, McVay was quick to credit “God’s amazing blessings over these five years,” adding “God’s blessings have outstripped our efforts, diligent as they have been. He has taken our little and made much of it. … We invite you to join us in giving thanks to God from Whom all blessings flow.”

Posted Dec. 14, 2016

John and Pam McVay have brought energy and thoughtful, prayerful leadership to WWU for more than 10 years.