March 11, 2024

President Len Jessup Retiring: ‘Grateful for My Time at CGU’

President Len Jessup outside Harper Hall

President Len Jessup shared this important news with the campus community via email on March 11:

Since earning my PhD 35 years ago, it’s been full speed ahead as a faculty member, department chair, center director, dean, vice president, and president twice. I’ve experienced many great opportunities, worked with many accomplished teams, celebrated many collaborative achievements, and enjoyed the kind of camaraderie that is unique to higher education.

I never took a sabbatical or much vacation over the decades. That’s certainly not a complaint or regret. It’s quite the opposite: I was having fun and getting things done! But now, as I near my 63rd birthday, it’s time to catch my breath, reflect on my good fortune, and figure out the next chapter.

So, with mixed emotions, I want to share with you that I have let our Board of Trustees chair, Tim Kirley, know that I intend to step away as president of CGU on or around June 30, the end of our fiscal year.

We’ve accomplished so much together during my nearly six years here, highlighted by our relentless focus on student success. We have launched innovative programs and partnerships; worked our way through the pandemic and helped the university shift to hybrid and online learning; secured record-breaking philanthropic investment; built really cool facilities and buildings; hired, promoted, and developed outstanding faculty, staff, and administrative leaders from diverse backgrounds; helped bring on great new board members; and, perhaps most enjoyable for me, had the opportunity to teach and publish with great graduate students.

This is an incredible place with world-class faculty, dedicated staff, and talented students. Our trustees, donors, alumni, and partners have been invaluable allies in advancing our mission to provide the best transformational graduate education anywhere. I’m grateful for our leadership team, whose focus and dedication through the highs and lows ensured that I had to bring my A game every day.

I’m so deeply appreciative of my wife, Kristi; my kids, Jamie and David; and of many other family members and close friends for always being there for me.

As many of you know, some time ago I wrote my life’s purpose on a tattered old notebook in my desk drawer here at the house. In short, when I get to the end of my path, I want to be able, in that moment, to look back and know that I had done as much as I possibly could, to do as much good for as many people as I possibly could, and that I never shied away from an opportunity to do so.

I’m not exactly sure what I will do next, but it will most likely be a combination of board roles, advising, coaching, and consulting. On April 2, my new book on selfless leadership and its role in organizational change comes out in partnership with Forbes. I’m sure that I’m not finished working toward my life’s purpose—and I’m sure that in one way or another, I will continue to help carry the flame forward.

I sincerely thank you for the honor and privilege to serve with you.

Board Chair Tim Kirley will be in touch with the campus community soon to discuss the presidential transition to come.


President Len Jessup