CWU Commencement

Past Commencement Images and Videos


Watch our new 2013 CWU graduation video, which features student comments, a review of the year in pictures, and a look back at historic commencement footage.

See what end-of-the-year fun looked like in the late '40s and early '50s. You'll see Honors Convocation, Commencement, and activities from "CWCE Day."  CWU was the Central Washington College of Education (CWCE or "Sweecy") until 1961.


Commencement at CWU

Each June, Central Washington University proudly hosts graduation exercises for bachelor's and master's degree candidates from the College of Arts and Humanities, College of Business, College of Education and Professional Studies, College of the Sciences, and interdisciplinary and individual studies majors. This year, 2013, marks CWU's 122nd commencement.

CWU celebrates its graduates with a billboard in Fife just off I-5 heading south

The first public graduation, for students of the then Washington State Normal School (WSNS), was held at the downtown Ellensburg Opera House because the first permanent campus building (Barge Hall) had not yet been completed. Eleven of the school's 13 seniors qualified for graduation. For this year's event, more than 3,200 degree candidates are eligible to receive their diplomas.

Much has changed since that first commencement. WSNS became Central Washington College of Education in 1937, Central Washington State College in 1961, and Central Washington University in 1977. From 13 students, CWU now  provides higher education to more than 11,000 students at nine locations. In addition to the residential campus in Ellensburg, CWU University Centers are co-located with community colleges in Des Moines, Edmonds, Everett, Kent, Moses Lake, Steilacoom, Wenatchee, and Yakima. Also, nearly 600 students are earning degrees online at CWU's virtual campus.


In order to accommodate students and families across the state, CWU now holds three graduation exercises: two in Ellensburg at Tomlinson Stadium, for graduates of the Ellensburg campus and University Centers in eastern Washington, and a third in Kent, at the ShoWare Center, for students who earned a diploma from a University Center in western Washington. This year marks the 29th CWU graduation ceremony in western Washington.