Bethel University named alumnus Ross Allen to be the school’s new president-elect, replacing President Jay Barnes, who announced his retirement last year.

The university said Thursday that Allen will take over July 1 as the sixth president for the 5,600-student Christian university in Arden Hills.

In a video interview, Allen praised the university’s past leadership.

“It’s exciting to think what we all can do here at Bethel in such a critical time as this. To step into the shoes of those who have come before, I’m excited about that and yet humbled and honored,” he said.

Allen, who graduated from the university in 1984, returns to his alma mater after he most recently served as chief financial officer and vice president for business and finance at Azusa Pacific University, a private Christian university in California. He also spent over two decades working for medical device company Medtronic.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Ross personally and professionally,” said Azusa Pacific University President Paul Ferguson. “The APU community is so grateful for the many years of service Ross gave as a member of the APU board of trustees and for his extraordinary contribution to our fiscal recovery.”

Barnes announced his retirement last March after a 25-year tenure at the private university. He has been president since 2008 after serving as the school’s provost for 13 years.

During his time with the university, Barnes established the Edgren Scholars program for summer research grants. He also created a program that allows students with developmental disabilities to study on campus, and he managed the school’s transition from a college and seminary to a university in 2004.