D. Merrill Ewert was appointed earlier this month to a second term as president of Fresno Pacific University.
We concur with Dr. David Brandt and Dr. Levon Balzer that Merrill is the right person to lead FPU at this time, university Board Chair Larry Martens said in a public announcement to faculty and staff earlier this month.
Brandt, president of George Fox University, and Balzer, former president of John Brown University, were the off-campus team charged by the board to lead the evaluation. They interviewed faculty, staff and others and submitted a report and recommendation to the university board. The board voted unanimously to appoint Ewert to a five-year term during its regular session Nov. 4-5.
Ewert became the universitys 10th president in June of 2002, coming from Cornell University, where he served as professor, director and associate dean of Cornell Cooperative Extension. At FPU presidents are initially approved for three-year terms and can be reappointed for five-year terms. Presidents are evaluated annually by the board, with major performance reviews at the end of each term.
Praising his vision, dedication and grasp of the issues both on campus and in higher education, Martens said Ewert is also willing to deal with difficult challenges. This illustrates Merrills strength as a leader, Martens said.
Both men spoke of how much has happened at FPU during Ewerts first term: enrollment increases, a reorganized academic structure and new or expanded buildings, facilities, majors and off-campus programs.
For his next five years, Ewert outlined an agenda that included maintaining the Christian character of FPU, building financial stability, strengthening scholarship and promoting a culture of inclusiveness and collaborative leadership.
The evaluation was very useful for Ewert, who said it will help make him a more effective leader.
I learned again how deeply committed our trustees, faculty and staff are to Fresno Pacific University, he said.