By Marty Gordon
The longtime president of Life Pacific University-Virginia, formerly known as Ignite Academy in Christiansburg, is stepping down. Dr. Michael Larkin made the announcement on Sunday. His resignation is effective December 15.
Life Pacific (LPU) officials praised Larkin for his work in establishing an east coast campus 11 years ago that was initially associated with the Foursquare Church.
LPU President Angie Richey said that Michael had been “an integral part of Foursquare education,” who had made valuable contributions as a faculty member and extension site director. “His catalytic leadership relaunched Foursquare education in the east and we are grateful.”
“While we will deeply miss [his] contagious energy and excitement for LPU-VA, we are excited for what the Lord has in store for him in his next season,” Richey said.
“We ask for prayer for Michael and his wife, Roxanne, who will step down as LPU-VA’s Director of College Services in January as they continue their close walk with Jesus,” Richey said. “Please join us in thanking the two of them for their extraordinary service and care for this vital ministry.”
Larkin jump started the east coast college 11 years ago at a shuttered Christian school at 900 Life Drive, off Route 8. In announcing his retirement, Larken said he has taken LPU-Virginia as far as he could.
“New leadership will take it further and will accomplish next levels with fresh eyes and effort,” he said Sunday.
LPU-VA features an innovative blend of academics and active involvement in ministry designed for equipping younger generations for formal and informal ministry opportunities in the church and beyond. Currently, 70 students are enrolled at the Christiansburg location.
Launched at LPU’s main campus in San Dimas, Cal., in 2008, Ignite began as a four-month discipleship immersion program, evolving into a four-year degree track. In addition to their Associate of Arts degree in General Education studies, students now serve up to 10 hours each week in the local community working with local churches and other outreach ministries.
Four years ago, the campus established a location on Main Street in Christiansburg at a former Baptist church. Since then, the facility had turned into a conference center with the recent announcement that a Montgomery County visitor’s center will locate there. Several musical concerts have also been held at “On Main.”
Larkin said the On Main Street project is separate from the school. He will continue to manage that location. “The vision is to repurpose the former Baptist Church on Main Street to a multi-use commercial property: offices, events, a coffee shop, a visitor center and an incubator for small business start-ups, creative/graphics, consulting and a fiscal agency for other non-profits, all under the Great Road On Main banner,” he said.
The original link to the college (LPUVA or Ignite at its inception) was to create additional space for expansion. The college over the past four months has moved all operations back up to the Cross Pointe Foursquare campus on Route 8.
Looking back over the past 11 years since he stepped out and launched Ignite Institute that evolved into Ignite Academy, LPC Ignite and more recently Life Pacific University-Virginia, Larkin said he has been extremely blessed by Foursquare leadership that entrusted him and financially backed the vision.
“I have been blessed by families who have entrusted me with the educating and training of their college students. I have been blessed by this local community that opened its arms to us when we moved the college from California to Christiansburg in July of 2011,” Larkin said. “I have been honored and thankful for the hundreds of students who have passed through our doors over the years seeking a solid accredited education with hands-on practical training and equipping opportunities. My life is rich.”
This past summer, the underlying status of the parent university completely changed. From July 1, Foursquare’s affiliate Life Pacific College in San Dimas, Cal., and its Ignite extension campus in Christiansburg, began a new chapter as a fully-fledged university.
Their new Life Pacific University (LPU) name marks the end of a six-year accreditation journey that has brought renewed vision and life to the ministry-focused school established in 1923 as a Bible institute by Foursquare Founder Aimee Semple McPherson.
LPU President Jim J. Adams will also step down at the end of the year. A nationwide search for his replacement is currently under way with the new president due to be named sometime in the fall.
Long-time LPU staff and faculty member Scott Martz has been named interim Operations Manager and LPU-VA extension site director. The board expects to name an interim president later this month.