TOPPENISH, Wash. — Following a months-long search, Heritage University has announced a new president.
Andrew C. Sund, president of St. Augustine College in Chicago, was named Thursday to replace John Bassett, who announced his retirement plans last fall.
Sund’s background, including leading St. Augustine College for nearly a decade, gives him the experience and perspective to lead Heritage starting starting July 1, according to university officials.
“I’m very excited about this and very happy for the opportunity,” Sund said. “I work at a university in Chicago with similarities to Heritage University, and I feel proud to continue the work they’ve been doing there over the past 30 years.”
Pat Oshie, who chaired the seven-member selection committee during Heritage’s eight-month search for a new president, called Sund the perfect person to continue the university’s mission.
“Dr. Sund’s rich experience and track record as a scholar and leader in higher education will be an asset to Heritage as it continues to build on its reputation of providing relevant, meaningful education to the people of the Yakima Valley delivered by respected faculty and administrators,” Oshie said.
Sund will only be the third president to lead the university since it was founded in 1982 by Sister Kathleen Ross and two Yakama Nation women, Martha Yallup and Violet Lumley Rau.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to build upon the legacy that my two exceptional predecessors have established. I know of few institutions in all of higher education with a mission as meaningful and as important as is Heritage’s,” Sund said.
Sund said long familiarity with Heritage University and its mission of focusing on non-traditional students from families and backgrounds that typically don’t include college made him want to become a candidate for president.
“I was at a conference many years ago where I heard about Heritage and actually met Dr. Ross,” Sund said in a release from Heritage University on his appointment. “I thought to myself at the time, ‘if ever there was a job that would cause me to think seriously about leaving St. Augustine, it would be Heritage.’
The university has about 1,100 students. With 161 faculty members — 65 full-time and 96 part-time — Heritage boasts an 11:1 student to faculty ratio.
Sund is married and has three children. His wife and school-aged son will make the move to Yakima with him. His two adult children will remain in Chicago.