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Past Presidents

Joseph Jones July 2017 - July 2022

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Joseph Jones, Ph.D., came to Fresno Pacific University after serving several years as vice rector of a Christian university in Pakistan. His prior 20-plus years in higher education included service as provost at North Park University, Chicago, and dean of education and social sciences at Messiah College in Pennsylvania. Before becoming a professor, Jones served in justice systems in New York, Oklahoma and Virginia.

Jones has a B.A. and M.A. in Psychology, and a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice. His work in higher education includes building university/community partnerships with the aim to empower students, faculty and staff to “Engage the Cultures and Serve the Cities. Jones has served on numerous boards and travelled extensively with the aim of “extending the influence of the Kingdom of God through Christian higher education.”

Richard Kriegbaum 2014 - July 2017

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Richard Kriegbaum, Ph.D., returned to the presidency of FPU from 2014-2017. Since his first administration (1985-1997) Kriegbaum had remained connected to the university, teaching distance-learning courses through the Office of Continuing Education and serving as interim dean of the School of Business. He also spent eight years as CEO of United Way of Fresno County and has consulted with a wide variety of nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher education on leadership and organizational development.

Pete Menjares 2012 - September 2014

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Pete C. Menjares, Ph.D., combines a personal faith with a pastoral heart and a passion for peace and justice. Menjares came to FPU from Biola University, where over an 18-year career his posts included vice provost for faculty development and academic effectiveness, associate provost for diversity leadership, education department chair and associate professor of education. Community minded, President Menjares has served as a public school middle school teacher and as a senior pastor of a church in Los Angeles County. His Ph.D. in education: language, literacy and learning is from the University of Southern California; his M.A. in education: teaching and curriculum is from California State University, Dominguez Hills; and his B.A. in religion: pastoral ministries is from Vanguard University.

D. Merrill Ewert 2002 - July 2012

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Education, church and community have been the three threads weaving through the career of D. Merrill Ewert, 10th president of Fresno Pacific University. In 2002, Ewert came to FPU from Cornell University where he had served as a professor in education, the director of Cornell Cooperative Extension and associate dean for outreach in the colleges of agriculture and human ecology. He had previously taught at the University of Maryland and served as the director of extension and continuing education at Wheaton College (Ill.). He spent seven years in Africa in the areas of relief and community development with the Mennonite Brethren Church, the Mennonite Central Committee and MAP International. As a Fulbright Senior Scholar, Ewert did research in the Philippines on the process through which community-based organizations build "social capital" and strengthen civil society.

Harold H. Haak* 2000 - 2002

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Bringing nearly 40 years of experience as a university faculty member and administrator, including 11 years as president of California State University, Fresno, Harold Haak served as Fresno Pacific University president from 2000 to 2002. With his leadership and reputation in the Valley, Haak raised the university's community profile and reinvigorated its financial future. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in political science from the University of Wisconsin and a Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University.

Allen Carden 1997 - 2000

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Positioning Fresno Pacific University for the 21st century, Allen Carden served as president from 1997 to 2000. Before coming to FPU, he served as president and vice president for academic affairs at Spring Arbor College, and in a number of administrative and faculty positions at Biola University. He earned his bachelor's at Biola College, his master's at California State University, Fullerton, his Ph.D. at University of California, Irvine, and has done additional study at Talbot School of Theology. After leaving the presidency, he continues to serve in administrative and faculty positions at FPU.

Richard A. Kriegbaum 1985 - 1997

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Coming to Fresno Pacific College as administrative vice president in 1984, Richard Kriegbaum was named president one year later. During his administration, the college experienced a period of dynamic growth and development: the undergraduate program was nationally ranked, enrollment increased by 60 percent, several facilities were completed including McDonald Hall, the school was restructured to a university, the degree completion program was initiated and the Fresno Pacific Foundation was formed. Kriegbaum earned a bachelor's in Spanish from Wheaton College, a master's in Spanish from Ball State University and a Ph.D. in higher education from State University of New York.

Edmund Janzen 1975 - 1985

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After serving for seven years at Fresno Pacific College as a member of the faculty in the biblical and religious studies division and as campus pastor, Edmund Janzen was appointed fifth president of the college. He has been a pastor and leader within the Mennonite Brethren Church serving on several boards and as a frequent conference speaker. He sought to reestablish credibility and confidence in the mission and purpose of the college within the Mennonite Brethren constituency. Janzen earned a bachelor's in English at McMaster University, a bachelor of theology at Mennonite Brethren Bible College, a bachelor of divinity at Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary and a master of theology in missions and urbanology at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. After spending a year teaching in the Bible department at Tabor College, he returned to FPC as biblical and religious studies faculty.

Arthur J. Wiebe* 1960 - 1975

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As the first president with full responsibility for the college only, Arthur J. Wiebe also had one of the longest tenures, serving as president from 1960 to 1975. During these years, many changes took place at FPC, including becoming a four-year, liberal arts college; gaining accreditation; and increasing both the numbers of students and the number of buildings on campus. Wiebe received a bachelor's degree from Southwestern State University, a master's degree from California State University, Fresno, and an Ed.D. from Stanford University. He continued to be affiliated with the college for many years after his presidency through his leadership in the AIMS (Activities Integrating Math and Science) Foundation.

Bernhard J. Braun* 1955 - 1960

Bernhard Braun

Providing a strong sense of direction and maintaining unity were important goals for the fourth president, Bernhard J. Braun. He served from 1955 to 1960 as president not only of Pacific Bible Institute, but of the newly founded Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, as well. During his years of service, a junior college curriculum was added and the first buildings were built on the Chestnut Avenue property. Braun received his undergraduate education at Tabor College and Friends University. Having spent a year in graduate studies at Washington University, he then turned to theological training and attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and graduated with a master's in religious education from Los Angeles Baptist Theological Seminary.

Rueben M. Baerg* 1953 - 1955

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After serving as dean and instructor in New Testament and Greek for three years, Rueben M. Baerg was named as acting president of Pacific Bible Institute in 1953 until 1955. Before coming to PBI, he taught in public schools, a Bible school and a Bible college. Baerg earned his public school teacher's credential from Tabor College and also graduated from Bethany Bible Institute. He earned a doctorate in theology, as well as master's and bachelor's degrees, from Northwestern Evangelical Theological Seminary. Feeling called to the pastorate he left PBI, but returned to higher education later at Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary serving as professor, dean and president.

George W. Peters* 1947 - 1953

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Selected as president in 1947, George W. Peters came to Pacific Bible Institute from Canada and served both as president and dean until 1953. He brought a powerful emphasis on missions and was also very interested in moving the school toward a complete college program. He received Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Theology degrees at Tabor College, his Th.D. at Temple Hall Seminary, and his Ph.D. at Hartford Seminary Foundation. He continued to serve as professor of theology and missions after stepping down as president.

Sam W. Goosen* 1944 - 1946

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The first head of Pacific Bible Institute was Samuel W. Goosen. Given the title of "dean of the institute," he fulfulled the duties of the president from 1944 to 1946. Goosen also spent 12 years as professor and registrar. Before the opening of PBI, Goosen had been a pastor in the Fresno area for 25 years and had also served with his wife Viola as a missionary in Beijing, China, before World War II. He received his academic training at Fresno State College and his theological training at Los Angeles Baptist Theological Seminary. After leaving the presidency, he continued as an instructor and was involved in education for almost 30 years.