Napa County’s Pacific Union College elects interim president

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Pacific Union College has elected a new interim president to serve a six-month term beginning Jan. 9.

In December, the school’s board of trustees elected Eric Anderson, a senior faculty member, to serve until June 30, replacing outgoing President Heather Knight.

“I am grateful to Dr. Anderson for agreeing to take on this important leadership role,” said Board Chairman Bradford Newton. “He has the experience, vision, and commitment to lead PUC during the upcoming search committee process.”

According to Newton, Anderson will be asked to help in the process of finding a president for the 134-year old liberal arts college. With the administrative team, he will also be expected to reshape the college budget.

Currently the Walter C. Utt Professor of History at PUC, Anderson served as president of Southwestern Adventist University in Keene, Texas, from 2005 to 2014, where he served one of the longer presidential tenures in the university’s history.

Anderson also has a rich history with PUC. He is the fourth generation of his family to teach at PUC, and has devoted 30 years of his life to teaching at the college on subjects such as Christian history and political studies. In 1912, Anderson’s grandmother, Agnes Caviness, was PUC’s first baccalaureate graduate.

“I am confident about the future of PUC,” said Anderson, who praised President Heather Knight, who will leave office on Jan. 8, for her “unflagging optimism and strong commitment to PUC’s distinctive mission. I want to build on her achievements.”

Anderson said he is particularly interested in promoting collaboration between the college and the wider Napa Valley community.

“We can’t live in monastic isolation up on Howell Mountain,” he said.

Anderson holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago. In addition to 30 years of teaching at PUC and nine years of administration at Southwestern Adventist University, he has been a Fulbright lecturer in Greece and a program officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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