Randal R. Wisbey, president of La Sierra University, a Seventh-day Adventist school in Riverside, California, United States, announced today that he will step down from the presidency on June 30 of this year. Wisbey became the school president in 2007.
In a letter to the university community, Wisbey shared that the decision was a difficult one. “However,” he said, “due to the continuing challenges with my eyes following four eye surgeries within the last 18 months, and after much reflection, prayer, and counsel with my family, I have come to the conviction that this is the appropriate decision for me personally, as well as for the university.”
Ricardo Graham, chair of the university Board of Trustees, said, “During the years that Randal Wisbey has served as president of La Sierra University, his leadership has been outstanding. He has led the university in difficult times, providing stability and focus as the leader of this world-class institution of higher learning. His courage, compassion, and educational leadership experience has been a blessing to La Sierra and the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. We wish him all the best.”
Faculty Senate chair Leslie Martin noted that Wisbey “has led our campus through some challenging waters, always tenaciously advocating for La Sierra University — and always with grace and diplomacy. He leaves us at a time of relative peace and stability, and although he will be sorely missed, we are grateful to have had him as a true partner in shared governance here at La Sierra. We wish many good things for him as he moves into this new phase of life.”
During Wisbey’s tenure as La Sierra University’s third president, the institution has grown and developed in significant ways:
Before entering university administration, Wisbey spent most of his career in Adventist higher education, first as a campus chaplain at Washington Adventist University and later as an associate professor of youth ministry and the creator of the Center for Youth Evangelism at Andrews University. He was especially proud, he said, of La Sierra’s first Spiritual Master Plan, developed and implemented during his tenure. He also oversaw the strengthening of the university chaplain’s office as a critical resource that helps inspire the spiritual care and development of La Sierra students.
Wisbey served in a presidential role for 21 years, first at Burman University in Alberta, Canada, and then at Washington Adventist University in Maryland, before coming to La Sierra University. “I have loved my work here,” he said. “Without a doubt, I could not have asked for a more invigorating place to conclude my 34 years in Adventist higher education.”
“La Sierra has not only been good to me professionally — it has been good to my family,” he added. Wisbey and his wife, Deanna Clay Wisbey, report that their son and daughter-in-law, Alexander and Leslie, both graduated from the La Sierra University Honors program in 2011.
As he looks toward the conclusion of his service, Wisbey said he has assured the board chair, “I will do whatever I can to be of assistance as the search for the next president begins.” The Wisbeys plan to move to the state of Washington in early July.