WWU Marks Decade of McVay Leadership

November 17, 2016 | Kim Strobel

John McVay became the 23rd president of Walla Walla College in College Place, Wash., in July 2006. With a decade of leadership completed this year, McVay will soon become the third-longest leading president in the history of the university.

Under his leadership, an array of improvements to campus infrastructure have been completed, including construction of the new Administration Building and several new cabins at the Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory near Anacortes, Wash., remodeled facilities for the School of Social Work and the School of Nursing on the College Place campus, a remodeled gymnasium including a new gym floor, and improvements on the front campus related to construction on College Avenue.

McVay implemented long-range budget planning processes, resulting in a WWU Composite Financial Index (CFI) score of 6.4 on a scale of -4 to 10 and tuition increases of not more than 2 percent over the last several years. (A CFI score higher than three is considered very good.)

McVay led the university through the name change from Walla Walla College to Walla Walla University (WWU) and led in the start of the $35 million "Life. Changing." comprehensive campaign and the 2013–2023 Sabbath Jubilee strategic initiative. Under his leadership, the university welcomed the largest freshman class in 17 years and retention rates have improved, in part due to the new mentorship program for freshmen.

In a recent report to WWU constituents, McVay was quick to credit “God’s amazing blessings over these five years,” adding “God’s blessings have outstripped our efforts, diligent as they have been. He has taken our little and made much of it. … We invite you to join us in giving thanks to God from whom all blessings flow.”