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2001 - 2009



When he was selected as the 20th President of Pacific Union College in 2001, Richard C. Osborn was serving as Vice President for Education for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

A major challenge for President Osborn upon arrival at PUC were the nationwide trends among private and faith-based colleges of a widening gap between income and expenses created in part by dwindling enrollments. During this period, the church's demographics were rapidly changing with a private college's tuition increasingly out of reach for many students without taking out large student loans. PUC's enrollment during this period experienced overall declines contributing to major financial challenge in addition to major losses being experienced by the college's businesses. Toward resolution of that challenge, the Board led unsuccessful efforts to bring stability by creating an endowment from the sale of a portion of the school's lands which were considered non-essential for meeting its educational mission.

President Osborn also focused attention on student retention efforts through creation of a Teaching and Learning Center. He hired outstanding educational administrators including the second female Vice President for Academic Administration and the first two Asian Vice Presidents with one focused on Enrollment Services and another on Advancement. Four of the five Vice Presidents were female. He stressed the importance of Ellen White's admonition to be "thinkers rather than mere reflectors of other men's thoughts" through such activities as the open discussion of contemporary issues within the church and support for the path breaking play, "Red Books," a documentary theater production written and produced by PUC graduates and students about one of the college's founders. During his eight years, PUC maintained its continuing ranking in the top tier of U.S. News and World Report and continued to send more students to Loma Linda University for medical and dental school than any other college. He also focused on involvement in outside organizations serving as President of the Council for American Private Education and Chair of the Association of Independent California Colleges & Universities.

Given the unrelenting financial challenges facing the college, he brought in an outside consultant which led to establishment of an on-campus independent commission to review the financial operations of the college and to make recommendations Upon receiving the report, the Board felt new leadership was needed and Osborn graciously resigned in 2009. In part as a result of actions taken during his final months, the next year produced one of the highest enrollment increases in the history of PUC. Based on his volunteer work with the Western Association of Schools and College, after nearly forty years of church service he became a Vice President at WASC working with a large accreditation portfolio of senior colleges/universities. He is proud of the graduation of his daughter, Heather Ng, from PUC in 2001 who went on to become a prize-winning newspaper reporter in the Napa Valley before attending law school and passing the state bar.