May 11, 2017: Pacific Union College announced Robert Cushman as its 23rd president today. Cushman is currently serving as Vice President of Academic Administration at Walla Walla University.
PUC’s board of trustees made the announcement about Cushman who has spent the last 26 years employed in various roles within Adventist education.
An announcement on the institution’s website stated that Cushman would begin in his new role on July 1.
Cushman has a Ph.D. in geology from the Colorado School of Mines. His master’s degree in geology is from Loma Linda University, and his bachelor’s degree in biology is from then Walla Walla College.
The incoming president started his career as a geologist and paleontologist. He then taught at Loma Linda for 12 years.
While at Loma Linda he served as assistant professor, associate department chair, and the department chair of the department of earth and biological sciences.
For two years after his time at Loma Linda, Cushman took on the role of vice principal at El Dorado Adventist School where he taught grades 7-12 and coached men’s varsity basketball.
It was after this that he accepted the position of professor of paleobiology at Walla Walla University in the department of biological sciences.
Four years later he was promoted to the position of vice president for academic administration at Walla Walla.
PUC’s announcement describes Cushman as a “passionate Adventist educator who looks forward to helping PUC as the college continues to develop its new strategic plan.”
The statement pointed to Cushman’s “commitment to collaborative efforts and willingness to partner with faculty, staff, and students” as reasons for his suitability for the role.
Cushman and his wife Judy who is a school psychologist will move to Angwin for the upcoming transition.
“In this moment, Judy and I feel deeply the call for me to serve as the next president of Pacific Union College,” said Cushman.
“During our recent visit to the PUC campus, we were impressed by the strong sense of PUC mission and history and by the commitment and sacrifice of faculty and staff who have served here for much of their lives. We are humbled and honored to be selected to serve and lead PUC forward. We’re looking forward to working together with the campus to make PUC the obvious choice for prospective students and their parents who are seeking the highest quality education in the context of Adventist mission and values.”
PUC experienced an abrupt leadership change when former president Heather Knight announced on Dec. 6, 2016 that she was resigning from her position effective January 8, 2017. She had served as president for seven and a half years.
As a result of Knight’s resignation, Eric Anderson, Walter C. Utt Professor of History at Pacific Union College, was elected as the school’s interim president from January 9 to June 30, 2017.