Saying “farewell” to D. Merrill and Priscilla Ewert (video link)

The Fresno Pacific community said good-bye to D. Merrill Ewert and his wife Priscilla in several venues as he retires as president.

 Ewert took office June 1, 2002, making his 10-year tenure longer than the average university presidency of six-seven years. “It’s been a very unique and special privilege to serve in this capacity,” he said.

The Mountain Lake, Minnesota, native came to FPU from Cornell University, where he served as director of Cornell Cooperative Extension and assistant and associate professor of education. Ewert also taught at Wheaton College and the University of Maryland, as well as spending more than a decade in Africa with Christian relief organizations MAP International, Mennonite Central Committee and Mennonite Brethren Board of Missions and Services International.  


Under Ewert’s leadership, FPU has:


  • Grown from 2,049 students to 3,600.


  • Opened new regional centers in North Fresno, Visalia, Bakersfield and Merced for graduate and bachelor’s degree completion students.


  • Introduced programs including the global MBA, master’s in kinesiology and bachelor’s in Christian ministries and leadership, nursing, criminology and restorative justice and early childhood development. More faculty members also have doctorates and are increasingly engaged in scholarship.


  • Organized into a school of business, school of education, school of natural sciences, school of humanities, religion and social sciences. The university also merged with MB Biblical Seminary to organize a fifth school, the Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary.


  • Won national championships in volleyball, swimming and tennis, expanded from nine sports to 16, and begun the process of joining the NCAA Division II. 


Many deserve credit for all FPU has done. “There are so many people to thank,” Ewert said. “The commitment of the faculty, the hard work of the staff, the generosity of the donors, the enthusiasm of the students and the trust of the parents, who have lent us what is most precious to them—and the prayers of all our friends.”