CWU News

CWU events director tapped to lead regional coalition of commencement officers

Lauren Zeutenhorst, CWU's director of executive events

Lauren Zeutenhorst, CWU's director of executive events, has been named director at-large for the Northwest region of the North American Association of Commencement Officers (NAACO).

Central Washington University’s Director of Executive Events Lauren Zeutenhorst has been elevated to a prominent role with the North American Association of Commencement Officers (NAACO), giving her an opportunity to lead a coalition of roughly 300 commencement directors across the region.

Zeutenhorst was appointed late last year by NAACO management as the director at-large for the Northwest Region for 2023-24. Her volunteer position started February 1 and will last through July 2024. In her first official appearance as director at-large, she is attending the NAACO national conference this week in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“I’m really excited because this position will give me an opportunity to work more closely with the commencement directors at institutions of all sizes so we can share ideas, identify new resources, and address the issues we all face every year,” said Zeutenhorst, who joined NAACO in 2017 and served as assistant director for the Northwest region for the past two years.

“My goal is to facilitate an open dialogue so we can advance the work of the entire region,” she added. “I’m hoping this role will give me a chance lead some important discussions and help us find solutions to common problems.”

The NAACO Northwest Region includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Alaska, and Hawaii, with members hailing from institutions large and small. The organization, based in Maryland, includes members from across the U.S. and Canada, and has grown significantly over the past 10 years.

Zeutenhorst, who has coordinated CWU’s commencement ceremonies since 2017, said she looks forward to building new connections across the region and being a reliable resource for her fellow commencement directors. She plans to send regular email communications to the participants and facilitate their monthly Zoom meetings.

“I want to create a culture of openness where all ideas are on the table,” she said. “I also want to encourage everyone to share resources as much as possible. We’re all facing the same challenges — ticketing, safety, capacity, indoor and outdoor venues — so the easier we can make the process for everyone, the better off we will all be.”

As Zeutenhorst looks for ways to continually improve CWU’s commencement experience, she plans to attend a number of other institutions’ ceremonies this spring. She hopes those visits will help her build even stronger connections with her fellow directors so every member institution can deliver the very best commencement experience to their students.

“That’s the point — how can we better support each other and improve the work we do?” she said. “My number-one goal is to help everyone in the region find the resources they need to be successful.”

Media Contact: David Leder, Department of Public Affairs,, 509-963-1518