CWU Named Top Washington University for Diversity

  • September 14, 2017
Aerial shot of Ellensburg campus

For the third time in four years, Central Washington University is a recipient of the prestigious Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

CWU is the only four-year institution in the state of Washington to earn the award, which recognizes higher education institutions that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“CWU is the most welcoming campus in the state and this award recognizes our priority on the diversity of people and ideas,” said Delores Cleary, CWU’s vice president for inclusivity and diversity. “Our goal at CWU is to foster an environment where we celebrate our differences and create a campus culture of mutual respect and acceptance.”

Currently, students of color comprise nearly 33 percent of CWU’s student body, with enrollment of Hispanic students at nearly 15 percent. About 92 percent of CWU students are Washington residents; nearly 70 percent hail from western Washington, with a third from King County alone.

CWU President James L. Gaudino said the HEED award recognizes Central’s work to be an inclusive university that welcomes people from all walks of life and creates the best possible learning environment.

“We do our students no favors by creating a campus that is insular or mono-cultural,” he said, adding that students must be prepared to live and work in a world in which other cultures are a click away. “This award recognizes our success in promoting a place that is rich in ideas, in experiences and in speech.”

The award to 79 colleges and universities in the nation, measures an institution’s level of achievement and intensity of commitment to broadening diversity and inclusion on campus through initiatives, programs, and outreach, student recruitment, retention and completion efforts, and hiring practices.

“The HEED award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees—and best practices for both—continued leadership support for diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion,” noted Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, which oversees the awards.

“Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being accomplished each day across their campus,” she added.

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine is the nation’s oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. CWU will be featured in the St. Louis-based publication’s November 2017 issue. Current and archived issues of the publication are available online.

Media contact: Richard Moreno, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-2714,

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