HIU President Announces Retirement

Posted: January 23, 2019

FULLERTON, CA :: After 50 years in vocational ministry, including 45 years in higher education and the last 15 years of service as President of Hope International University, Dr. John L. Derry has announced his retirement, effective August 15, 2019. President Derry notified the HIU community in early December, stating that the timing is now right, both for the University and for his family.  

“Over the past several months, Jane and I have been praying and considering when would be the best time for us to transition to retirement,” President Derry said. “A decision like this is certainly not easy and in no way reflects on our confidence in the future of the University. We have four grandchildren in Texas and four more in Ohio who are growing up quickly, and we want to be more integral a part of their childhood, especially while we are still in good health.

“HIU’s 90th Anniversary provides a natural milestone for passing the mantle of leadership to the person who will cast a vision for the University’s next 90 years,” Derry continues. “Our mission to prepare students to serve Christ around the world is an enduring one, and we know that our alumni and friends who embrace and embody that mission will continue to provide continuity and support throughout this transition and for the next administration as well.”

Since accepting the presidency in 2003, Dr. Derry has led HIU in a host of notable advancements and accomplishments, including an 8-year re-affirmation of accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in 2016. Other highlights of his presidential tenure include:

  • Accreditation by the Association for Biblical Higher Education (College of Ministry and Biblical Studies), the Commission for the Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education (Marriage and Family Therapy programs), and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (College of Business & Management)
  • Unprecedented merger with Nebraska Christian College in Papillion, NE, creating a two-campus system that significantly benefits the University in both locales
  • Approval to offer all academic programs in Washington, leading to the creation of an HIU Education Center in Everett, WA
  • Establishment of the School of Advanced Leadership Training (SALT) to develop educational partnerships with churches in the United States and Canada
  • Restructure of University’s academic divisions into five Colleges
  • Completed acquisition of the south campus property, followed by approval of the City of Fullerton for sale and subsequent development of new student apartment housing
  • Relocation of graduate and online offices, classrooms, and Hope Counseling Center to new Anaheim campus
  • Achievement of all-time record enrollment
  • Expansion of online and international programs
  • Partnerships with Korean universities that send 100 students (combined) to study at HIU each year
  • Growth and achievement of athletics programs; several men’s and women’s teams have advanced to their respective national finals
  • Numerous campus facility improvements, remodels, and renovations

“Dr. Derry has lived and breathed HIU for the past 15 years, and those years represent the capstone of his life-long vocational commitment and calling to Christian higher education,” remarked Michael Mulryan, Vice President for Institutional Advancement. “He has blessed HIU with a legacy that positions us well for continued success. We will deeply miss our leader and friend.”

 “I am humbled and grateful that God has allowed me to serve alongside such outstanding servant leaders,” President Derry reflected. “The HIU community stood by us through some daunting challenges, professionally and personally. We will never forget all of the love, support, and prayers we received.”

The Board of Trustees has authorized a Presidential Search Committee to identify and interview potential candidates who meet the qualifications to become HIU’s seventh president. Dr. Derry has committed to work actively in the coming months with the Committee chair, Kevin Odor, to help facilitate a smooth transition. Kevin also serves as Vice Chair of HIU’s Board of Trustees.

“I want to do all I can to ensure the transition goes smoothly and brings to this office a visionary leader who will lead the University into a bright future,” said Dr. Derry. “Please join us in praying for God’s continued blessing and direction to that end.”