March 20, 2023

After 50 years working in higher education, Dr. Arthur Cleveland, vice president for university advancement and professor of environmental studies, is retiring after 10 years of service at California Baptist University.

April 30 will be his last day as a member of higher education. Cleveland said he is excited to hear the playing of “Pomp and Circumstance” for the final time while on stage during this spring’s commencement.

“After 50 years of commencements, it seemed like a good time and occasion,” he said.

Cleveland has had several duties as vice president for university advancement, such as fundraising and working with university campaigns.

In addition, he has worked with alumni, grandparents and donors. He has also secured funding for specialized educational programs and managed gift and donor circulation.

One of Cleveland’s most recent achievements was being a part of receiving a naming gift of $10 million to go toward a new engineering building at CBU.

Cleveland was a president, dean and professor at six other universities until he and his wife, Vicki, found their way to CBU. However, he said CBU is different than any other campus of which he has been a part.

His office has a large window facing Stamps Courtyard and he said he enjoys looking out and seeing students run across the grass and hug one another.

“Of all the campuses I’ve been on in my career, this (campus) seems to be the closest knit campus in terms of students and faculty,” Cleveland said.

Cleveland said he admires the Christian environment on CBU’s campus.

“You don’t find the kind of dedication to Christian faith in many schools that you find here,” he said. “It’s good to hear some of the conversations that are not secular, but spiritual.”

Once Cleveland retires, he said he will miss the close friendships he has made on campus with staff, alumni and donors the most.

“God has just blessed me too much over the years with family, the chance to teach, be an administrator and a friend to students,” he said.

Cleveland has impacted this campus, as well.

“(He will leave) a legacy of excellence, purpose, love, research, faith and encouragement,” said Dr. Bonjun Koo, professor of environmental science.

After retiring, Cleveland said he looks forward to doing consulting work for a private firm, publishing scientific articles and working with professional organizations.

Most importantly, though, he said he looks forward to traveling the world with his wife and spending time with his seven grandchildren, a great-grandchild and two others on the way.

“It’s been good for more than 50 years to be in higher education,” he said. “I love every day of what I’ve done and I know it’s been what God (wanted) me to do. It’s nice to be in a career like that, but now I’m going to change gears.”

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