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Yakima Send Off

Law and Justice Program Celebrates 20 Years

This year, the CWU law and justice department will be celebrating its 20th anniversary. 

The department’s first law and justice students began taking classes in 1974, with required courses in political science, sociology, and psychology. Central’s pre-law program, which has been in existence since 1944, served as the foundation for what the program offers today.

In 1977, Central Washington State College became Central Washington University, which brought changes that took place throughout the newly-formed university. The study of law and justice was subject to this change as well. Curriculum was expanded to include courses in administration of criminal justice as well as nuclear security, which became a national issue after Three Mile Island, and remained a focal point throughout the 1980s.
In 1996, the Department of Law and Justice was established, and Michael Olivero served as the first department chair. During the next decade, the department expanded across the state through Central Washington University centers in Seatac, Steilacoom, Yakima, and Lynnwood. 

By 2013, Central began offering an online Bachelor of Arts in Law and Justice. Additionally, the department introduced the Master of Science in Law and Justice in 2012, with the first Ellensburg cohort graduating this past year. Recently, the department entered into the cyber sector with a website to supplement material in the printed catalog.

Between 2008 and 2015, 3,146 students have graduated with a Law and Justice degree from Central Washington University. 

Featured guest speaker for the anniversary celebration is Dr. David Altheide of Arizona State University. Dr. Altheide graduated with a BA from Central in 1967, and is now Emeritus Regents' Professor in the School of Justice and Social Inquiry at Arizona State University. His work has focused on the role of mass media and information technology in social control. He is the author of three books: Terrorism and the Politics of Fear (2006), Creating Fear: News and the Construction of Crisis (2002), and Media Power (1985).

The Department of Law and Justice Program’s 20th Anniversary Celebration will be held on Friday, May 5, from 6-8 p.m. in the Sue Lombard Dining Hall. Reception starts at 5 p.m. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m. and Dr. Altheide’s address will begin at 7 p.m., with the awards and scholarships presentation at 7:30 p.m.

The cost of dinner is $30, and $10 for current CWU students. Dining options include beef, chicken or vegetarian. The cost also includes wine and beer at the reception. 

Everyone is invited to attend, including current staff and students, adjunct faculty, graduates and friends from across the university and community. We hope to see you there to help celebrate.

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