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Central Washington University

Governor Inslee’s Chief of Staff to Address CWU Kent Commencement

Mary Alice Heuschel, the Chief of Staff for Washington Governor Jay Inslee, will keynote commencement exercises for Central Washington University on Sunday, June 9 in Kent.

A combined crowd of more than 3,500 family members and other well wishers will hear the address by Heuschel, who earned her own academic credentials at CWU, during the 1:00 p.m. ceremony in the ShoWare Center.

“Every graduate should be proud of what they’ve accomplished and, from this point forward, options are limitless for them,” Heuschel said. “These folks have demonstrated the tenacity to set their goal and to reach it; it’s the beginning of endless possibilities.”

In 2012, Heuschel was named Washington State Superintendent of the Year when she led the Renton School District. As superintendent, she annually presented the commencement address to the graduating classes at Renton, Hazen, and Lindbergh high schools.

Previously, Heuschel held administrative positions as deputy state superintendent in the Office of Superintendent of Public Institution, assistant state superintendent, and principal in the Yelm School District.

At CWU, Heuschel earned her principal’s certificate in 1992 and her special education administration credentials the following year. She says she chose CWU’s program for its reputation, and because Central offered unique learning opportunities for developing technical and leadership skills, and established long-lasting relationships among students and staff.

Now, as the chief of staff, Heuschel manages the governor’s office, and oversees all executive departments and statewide agencies. Calling the new position a “challenging journey,” she says she was prepared for those challenges because of her “training, passion, and commitment to contribute to making a difference.”

“Leadership skills develop over time and become part of who you are, and those skills are transferrable to any situation,” she added.

Heuschel says she will reference her most recent job change in her graduation remarks, and will challenge the class of 2013 to “keeping options and opportunities open—make sure the door is always open, [and] be willing to risk and contemplate sacrifice today for a better tomorrow.”

A total of 374 bachelor’s- and 30 master’s-degree candidates are expected to participate in CWU's Kent commencement.

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

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