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Alumnus Ron Dotzauer to Give CWU Commencement Addresses in Ellensburg

One of the nation's top political strategists, Ron Dotzauer, will keynote commencement exercises at Central Washington University. The CWU alumnus and former chair of the Board of Trustees will address a crowd of more than 8,000 graduates, friends, and family in Ellensburg on June 8.

“I feel very honored to be asked to do this,” said Dotzauer, chief executive officer and founder of the Seattle-based strategic positioning firm, Strategies 360.  “I’m treating it with the earnestness it deserves.”

Dotzauer said his commencement addresses will challenge the Class of 2013 to be willing to travel the “path less certain.”

“It will involve a variety of stories from different points in my life, the risks I’ve taken, and how they’ve helped move me along,” Dotzauer added. Those stories will include what he terms an epiphany that occurred a month into his military service in Vietnam. 

After returning from Vietnam, Dotzauer came to CWU, which he says gave him a chance to grow educationally and mature.  At Central, he was named “Outstanding Student in Political  Science,” served as president of the Young Democrats, and produced the TV series “Politics and Personalities.”An Everett native, and the first member of his family to graduate from college, Dotzauer earned his bachelor of arts degree in political science 1972.

In its November 2012 edition, Campaigns & Elections magazine named Dotzauer to its list of the country’s top 500 political influencers, noting “His firm is a force and he may be the one person in his generation of consultants who’s built a legacy.”

Dotzauer’s nearly 40-year career in politics started in 1974, when he became the youngest elected county official in the State of Washington by winning the election for Clark County Auditor. He defeated five people in a primary for the open seat.

Dotzauer later successfully directed the electoral campaigns of U.S. Senators Henry “Scoop” Jackson and Maria Cantwell, and Governor Booth Gardner. The firm he founded, Strategies 360, is one of the country’s leading strategic positioning firms, with 14 offices in 10 western states. Dotzauer also served on the CWU Board of Trustees from 1989 to 1996. Appointed by Gardner and reappointed by Governor Mike Lowry, Dotzauer was chairman of the board from 1994 to 1996.

CWU will confer a total of 3,023 bachelor’s and 292 master’s degrees during the 2012-13 academic year. A total of 1,534 candidates will participate in two separate Ellensburg commencement ceremonies. 

A ceremony at 9:30 a.m. will award bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the College of Arts and Humanities, the College of the Sciences, and interdisciplinary study and individual study majors.

At 2:00 p.m. a ceremony begins for bachelor’s and master’s degree candidates in the College of Business and the College of Education and Professional Studies.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,

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