TOPPENISH, Wash. — Heritage University has extended President John Bassett’s contract by five years, which means he will remain at the helm through 2020.

In a news release, Rick Pinnell, chairman of the university’s board of directors, said Bassett, 72, was the right choice to lead Heritage as it began a period of growth.

“As Heritage continues to evaluate its degree program offerings to best meet the needs of the community and make major infrastructure upgrades to best meet the needs of its students, the board believes Bassett’s leadership is critical to the university’s success,” said Pinnell.

Bassett said, “The transformation of lives that students undergo at Heritage is nothing like I’ve experienced in my career.”

Bassett is a scholar, author, professor of American literature and the second president at Heritage, established by founding president Sister Kathleen Ross in 1982. He took office in July 2010 after serving as president of Clark University in Worcester, Mass., for 10 years.

Prior to his career at Clark, Bassett was the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of English at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland from 1993 to 2000. He holds a doctoral degree in English from the University of Rochester and completed his master’s and bachelor’s degrees at Ohio Wesleyan University. Bassett has published 11 books and more than 30 professional articles.

He lives in Yakima with his wife, Kay.