Randal R. Wisbey has served as La Sierra University’s third president since 2007. In collaboration with the Board of Trustees and campus leadership, he has led the university through a time of significant growth with a focus on student success, institutional development and strategic planning, and a commitment to seeing the mission of the university fulfilled through partnership with campus, church, and community leaders.
Dr. Wisbey’s career in higher education spans 27 years. He came to La Sierra from Columbia Union College (now Washington Adventist University) in Takoma Park, Maryland, where he served as president for seven years. At Columbia Union College, he worked with his administrative team to develop systems to better serve students, including a new enrollment strategy that had significant results in both attracting and retaining students. He oversaw the development of the college’s five-year strategic plan, the renewal of its women’s residence hall, and the development of a new campus-wide technology program.
Prior to his presidency at Columbia Union College, Dr. Wisbey served for two years as president of Canadian University College in Alberta, Canada. As a result of his leadership, enrollment grew by nearly a third, and the institution focused its efforts on a new strategic future with significant community partnership and development.
Before his work as a college president, Dr. Wisbey served for seven years as associate professor of youth ministry at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. He also developed and championed the new Master of Arts in Youth Ministry program at the seminary. His primary areas of interest and academic expertise include youth and young adult ministry, generational studies, contemporary youth culture and the opportunities provided for transformational ministry within the culture, and personal and corporate spiritual formation.
From 1985-1991, Dr. Wisbey served at Columbia Union College as an assistant professor of Christian ministry, as campus chaplain, and as associate pastor at the Sligo Church in Takoma Park, Maryland.
Dr. Wisbey earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC in 1990. He also earned a Master of Divinity degree from the SDA Theological Seminary at Andrews University in 1984, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology from Walla Walla College in 1980. While enrolled at Walla Walla, he spent a year as a student missionary in East Jerusalem and Ramallah, teaching English to Palestinian high school students.
Dr. Wisbey is currently the president of the Association of Adventist Colleges and Universities and serves as a member of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities and of Adventist Colleges Abroad. He is active in the Riverside community as a member of the Greater Riverside Chamber of Commerce Board, the Raincross Group, the City of Riverside’s Workforce Advisory Panel/Council of Economic Development Advisors, and the Mayor’s Higher Education Business Council. He is a graduate of the 2008 Leadership Riverside program. Dr. Wisbey also serves the Adventist Church as a member of the La Sierra University Church Board, the Pacific Union Conference Executive Committee, and the North American Division Executive Committee.
He is married to Deanna Clay Wisbey, an adjunct professor at La Sierra and a Sam Walton Fellow for Enactus. Their son and daughter-in-law, Alexander and Leslie, are 2011 La Sierra University alums. As a family, they have enjoyed traveling throughout Europe, Israel and Egypt, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Central and South America. They love adventure hiking, having completed the Mont Blanc Circuit and the Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu.