Christon Arthur Selected as La Sierra University President

Andrews University provost will begin his term at the California school on July 1.

Darla Martin Tucker
Christon Arthur Selected as La Sierra University President
Christon Arthur. [Photo: courtesy of Christon Arthur]

The La Sierra University Board of Trustees on Thursday, May 9, 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,” Bradford C. Newton, university board chair, said. “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 an approximately US$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 Center for Teaching Excellence.

Arthur led the Michigan campus’s 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 EdS and a doctoral degree respectively in curriculum and instruction and in educational administration from Andrews University, and completed postgraduate 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 BA in theology from the University of the Southern Caribbean in Trinidad and Tobago.

Prior to serving as provost, Arthur held 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 also 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.

About La Sierra University

La Sierra University, a Christian Seventh-day Adventist institution nationally acclaimed for its diverse campus and service to others, offers a transformational experience that lasts a lifetime. “To Seek, To Know, and To Serve” are the keys to the mission that drives the university, with all areas of campus encouraging students to develop a deeper relationship with God.

La Sierra University was named No. 1 in the US for its diverse environment in the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Ranking 2022, its fourth such ranking by the WSJ since the 2017 rankings. Additionally, U.S. News and World Report’s 2024 Best Colleges guide ranks La Sierra fourth in the 15-state Western region for social mobility, 19th for best value, and 41st overall out of 120 ranked Western US institutions. La Sierra is a celebrated leader in entrepreneurial outreach and sustainable development through its World Cup–winning Enactus team and in its university-wide service to others. In 2013 the university received the Presidential Award from the federal Corporation for National and Community Service. Established in 1922, the university provides more than 120 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. Its faculty include Fulbright Scholars, recipients of National Science Foundation, National Geographic, and USAID grants and other recognitions, and who engage in groundbreaking scientific and archaeological research, artistic development, business, education, and theological training and leadership.

The original version of this release was posted on the La Sierra University news site.

Darla Martin Tucker