Pete Menjares takes the baton July 28 as FPU president

Pete Menjares, Ph.D., took the baton July 28 as the 11th president of Fresno Pacific University—and he’s already running at full speed.

Menjares got a literal hand-off from retiring President D. Merrill Ewert at the national convention of FPU’s sponsoring denomination, the U.S. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, in Omaha, receiving a baton inscribed with Hebrews 12:1: “….let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

See the video at (Shot by Brett Eitzen for USMB)

“To say I’m excited is an understatement,” Menjares said. “I believe with all sincerity that there are wonderful times ahead for FPU and for the Valley. Faculty, staff and administrators past and present have prepared Fresno Pacific for the next step in its mission, and I’m thrilled to be part of God’s plan for this university and this region.”

While new to the Central Valley, Menjares is already familiar to community leaders, having sat down with Congressman Jim Costa and Assemblyman Henry Perea. “Everyone I have met has shown my wife, Virginia, and me such hospitality that we two L.A. natives feel very much at home here,” he said.

Also helping Menjares acclimate have been two months of preparation at FPU, familiarizing himself with people, programs and structures. “This is a very unusual opportunity for an incoming president, and I’ve made good use of the chance to get to know the organization and community. My thanks to Merrill Ewert for his graciousness and generosity,” Menjares said. D. Merrill Ewert retired earlier this month after 10 years as FPU president. He and his wife, Priscilla, have moved to Phoenix, Arizona.

Among his first goals as president, Menjares will start work on a new five-year strategic plan. The present plan covered from 2006-2011. “Strategic plans are vital to any organization as large and complex as FPU,” Menjares said. “I look forward to bringing together those with a stake in the university to chart how we will carry our mission, vision and values into the future.”

Menjares received his Ph. D. in education: language, literacy and learning from the University of Southern California in 1998. His master of arts in education: teaching and curriculum is from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and his bachelor of arts in religion: pastoral ministries is from Vanguard University. For the last 18 years, Menjares has been a teacher and administrator at Biola University, most recently serving as Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Academic Effectiveness.

A Council for Christian Colleges and Universities conference presenter and consultant on intercultural competencies, Menjares is a senior fellow in the Leadership Development Institute, a program dedicated to helping emerging leaders explore their vocational call in CCCU institutions. He has also been a public school teacher, a licensed minister and a senior pastor.

In preparation, Menjares attended the CCCU New President's Institute. More at

With this mix of education, experience and enthusiasm, Menjares is ready for his new role. “At the heart of being president is leadership,” he said. “I’ve been privileged to lead people for many years.”

(Photo courtesy of The Christian Leader)

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