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Office of the President

Heather Joy Knight, Ph.D.

Heather Joy Knight, Ph.D. with husband Norman Knight

Dr. Heather J. Knight stepped into PUC's presidency in 2009 and her husband, Dr. Norman Knight, became PUC's outreach chaplain.

Dr. Heather J. Knight is the 21st president of Pacific Union College in Angwin, California, where she has brought great passion, energy, and insight to her role as CEO of this distinctive Seventh-day Adventist college in the liberal arts tradition. Committed to ongoing research of educational and leadership theories and approaches, Knight has personally embraced platforms or ideas that can propel Pacific Union College to the next level of excellence. One is the "Adventist Advantage" platform that she has developed, outlining seven key assets that give Adventist higher education its exceptional value and significance.

Prior to arriving at PUC, Dr. Knight served for three years as provost of Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. In that position, Dr. Knight was second officer of the university, functioning as chief operating officer, as well as chief academic officer managing the day-to-day operations of the university and providing academic and administrative leadership for Andrews University’s educational program development, curriculum planning, academic and research planning, strategic planning, financial goals and resources, enrollment and financial aid, information technology, library resources, as well as the fulfillment of the institution’s shared spiritual and community values. Furthermore, as provost, Dr. Knight was responsible for over 150 academic programs, 227 full-time faculty, 3,400 students studying on the Berrien Springs campus, as well as another 4,000 students studying in Affiliation and Extension programs around the world, and a $75 million budget. Her accomplishments at Andrews University include integrating the planning and budget development processes and bringing financial stability to Andrews, spearheading a new Strategic Plan that included new mission and vision statements, increasing enrollment, and implementing a new compensation plan for faculty and staff, as well as overseeing new construction and several facilities improvements on campus.

For 18 years before serving at Andrews University, Dr. Knight served with distinction at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, where she was a professor of English, assistant provost, and then associate provost, and where she provided oversight of the campus’s faculty development, diversity, general education, program review and assessment, international programs and services, service learning and community relations areas as she worked to foster and establish institutional best practices that promoted inclusive excellence and a culture of high achievement for all students.

Dr. Knight received her bachelor’s degree in English from Oakwood University, magna cum laude (1982), her master's degree in English from Loma Linda University (1984) and her Ph.D. degree in English from Stanford University (1991), specializing in Twentieth-Century American Literature. She has also completed post-graduate studies at Harvard University in the area of Management and Leadership in Education (2002). Additionally, Dr. Knight has served on numerous committees and boards, made multiple national higher education presentations, has been published in academic and popular venues, served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, and been the recipient of many awards, including the San Joaquin Commission on the Status of Women "Woman of Achievement" Award. A pioneer, she is the first woman to serve as president of Pacific Union College and the first African-American woman to serve as president of an Adventist college or university in North America. A lover of the arts and mother of college-educated children, Dr. Knight is also a pastor’s wife, married to Dr. Norman Knight, an ordained minister who serves as outreach chaplain for Pacific Union College, as well as an adjunct professor of homiletics at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, Andrews University. The Knights both share a passion for ministry and higher education.