John Cress, D.Min

Dr. John C. Cress has experience in religious, educational, healthcare, and nonprofit organizations in the United States and abroad through an active career in administrative and pastoral leadership; classroom teaching; organizational assessment, development, and consulting; strategic planning; marketing and communication; project development and management, and counseling.  As a parish leader, campus chaplain, university vice president, adjunct professor, and hospital development officer, he has cultivated expertise in community engagement, interpersonal relations, public speaking, teaching, leadership training, fundraising, and nonprofit capacity building and sustainability. 

John has founded nonprofits organizations in Arizona and Washington, including the relaunch of Helpline of Walla Walla as a community-based frontline provider of emergency social services.  He is the immediate past president of the Rotary Club of Walla Walla—one of the West Coast’s 25 largest clubs, currently in its 98th year of continuous service—is a Paul Harris Fellow, Don Sherwood Fellow, and a graduate of the Rotary Leadership Institute.  Also a graduate of Leadership Walla Walla, John received Walla Walla University’s Community Service Leader of the Year Award in recognition of his extensive community engagement.  He has served as an officer of the Community Council, a participant in the Creating a Value-Added Community discussion and process, an officer of ministerial associations in two communities, and a member of The Health Center Board that facilitates school-based healthcare clinics for underserved children and youth.

Using his expertise in project creation, capital campaigns, narrative communication, and fundraising, John helped launch Walla Walla University’s international volunteer scholarship program to promote student engagement in service learning abroad and led campaigns and promotions for high-impact capital projects including a $1.4 million university church renovation, the $6 million Rogers Elementary School building project in his community, and the $2.5 million comprehensive patient room renovation project for Walla Walla General Hospital where he served as Chief Development Officer for nine years.

Dr. Cress has taught Walla Walla University’s upper-division university course on Strategies in Fundraising and helped mentor new development professionals in rewarding careers.  He is a gifted transformational leader, pastor, chaplain, classroom lecturer, fundraiser, trainer, consultant, writer, and public speaker.  As one who believes that humans are hardwired for story and live their lives in and through their individual and collective narratives, he is a deeply curious student and enthusiastic gatherer and communicator of life-changing stories.

John and his spouse, Pamela Keele Cress, Ph.D., a university administrator and bereavement specialist, share a passion for excellence in leadership, relationship building, and community service.  Walla Walla, Washington has been their home for more than three decades.  They have two daughters, a publications editor and a hospital chaplain, and three delightfully-lively grandchildren.  John and Pam enjoy traveling and have visited all 50 states, 8 Canadian provinces, and a combined total of 40 countries and territories.  

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