Walla Walla College President Announces Retirement Completing 40 Years of Service

Jon Dybdahl, Walla Walla College president, has announced plans to retire effective Aug. 31, 2006, after completing 40 years of service to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Seventeen of those years were spent at WWC.

“My wife, Kathy, and I have decided it is time to refocus our energies on family, scholarship, and other interests,” Dybdahl says. They will continue to reside in College Place, where Dybdahl will spend time researching, writing, speaking and teaching. He will also serve part-time at the Seventh-day Adventist Seminary.

In a letter to the Board of Trustees chairman, Dybdahl said, “I have enjoyed this time immensely and consider myself and my family to be richly blessed. Walla Walla College has a very special place in our hearts.”

During his tenure at WWC, Dybdahl has overseen improvements in faculty salaries, the completion of an $18 million capital campaign, and increases in student enrollment. He has also championed WWC as “a life-changing experience” and strived to build a stronger sense of community among the students, faculty and staff.

“Jon Dybdahl is the president Walla Walla College needed during these past four years. The college is a better place because of his vision for the future of the college, his consistent focus on a hard-working master plan, and his ability to keep us moving forward toward realizing the goals of that plan,” says Ginger Ketting-Weller, vice president for academic administration. Ketting-Weller also served as acting president for six months while Dybdahl was undergoing cancer treatments. “He cares deeply about the college, its employees, and students. We will miss this godly leader who has provided a listening ear, ready smile, and prayerful heart.”

Dybdahl joined the WWC administration in 2002 as the college’s 22nd president. A former professor of theology at WWC, he also served at Andrews University, where he chaired the Department of World Mission.

Mission service has been a focal point in Dybdahl’s life. His parents were missionaries, and he and his family spent six years in Thailand where he served as a pastor and evangelist. During that time, Dybdahl founded Chiangmai Academy and an adult education center. He then spent two years at Southeast Asia Union College in Singapore before returning to Thailand to assist in the founding of Mission College.

Dybdahl holds a degree in theology from Pacific Union College, a master’s degree in systematic theology and a master of divinity degree from Andrews University, and a doctorate in Old Testament from Fuller Theological Seminary.

A presidential search committee, led by Jere Patzer, WWC Board of Trustees chair, will be formed to begin the process of selecting a new president.

Featured in: March 2006