Menjares named interim president

Dr. Pete Menjares, provost and senior vice president for Vanguard University in California, has been named interim president of Seattle Pacific University beginning July 1, 2021. Menjares is currently on the Board of Trustees for Seattle Pacific and is also a senior fellow for diversity with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) in Washington, D.C.

Menjares is an experienced leader in Christian higher education. Prior to his current role at Vanguard, he served as president of Fresno Pacific University from 2012-14. For over 18 years he served in leadership roles at another Christian institution, Biola University in Los Angeles, including vice provost for faculty development and academic effectiveness, associate provost for diversity leadership, education department chair, and associate professor of education. He has served on SPU’s Board of Trustees for more than five years.

“Having served as a university president, provost, and faculty leader, Dr. Menjares has a depth of experience and wisdom in leading, taking on challenging issues, and in bringing opposing sides closer together to create constructive learning opportunities,” said SPU Board of Trustees member Dr. Deborah Wilds. “He is committed to bringing the SPU community together for dialogue, building understanding, and prayerfully healing. We are extremely thankful and fortunate to have Dr. Menjares serve as interim president to lead the university forward.”   

Laura Hartley, SPU provost and executive-in-charge, says Menjares is a well-known and highly respected leader in Christian higher education. “His extensive experience in helping Christian universities tackle challenging issues, combined with his pastoral heart, is just what is needed for SPU during this season of transition,” said Hatley. “I am looking forward to working alongside of him as SPU emerges from the pandemic and looks to the future.”

Menjares is a contributing author and section editor of the book, Diversity Matters: Race, Ethnicity and the Future of Christian Higher Education. The book features the contributions of diverse Christian leaders offering practical tools for effective education and service in a multicultural world.

“I believe that each of my personal and professional experiences, faith journey, and administration in both the church and academic settings, have prepared me to provide interim presidential leadership to Seattle Pacific University at this critical time,” said Menjares. “SPU has been called to fulfill its mission at the intersection of the kingdom of God, the Church, and a diverse academic community located in a significant metropolitan region known for its entrepreneurial and economic acumen.”

Menjares earned a PhD in Education: Language, Literacy and Learning from the University of Southern California; an MA in Education: Teaching and Curriculum from California State University, Dominguez Hills; and a BA in Religion: Pastoral Ministries from Vanguard University.

The SPU Board of Trustees is conducting a nationwide search for the institution’s next president. Former SPU President Daniel J. Martin resigned March 30, 2021, to take a leadership role at St. Luke’s Health in Texas. He was SPU’s tenth president since the institution’s founding in 1891 and served for nine years.

Founded in 1891, Seattle Pacific University is a premiere Christian university recognized by U.S. News & World Report magazine as one of the only private universities in the Pacific Northwest to be named a “Best National University” for its full range of academic programs and commitment to undergraduate research. Currently, more than 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students gain an education combining outstanding scholarship and thoughtful faith.

Posted: Monday, June 28, 2021