CWU News

CWU Boasts Sixth National Award for Efforts to Increase Diversity

Central Washington University has further established itself as a statewide leader on issues of diversity, earning a 2020 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

For the sixth time in seven years, CWU has been recognized for its commitment to increasing diversity on campus and working to create a culture of inclusion for students, employees, and the communities it serves. CWU is the only college or university in the state that can boast this record of achievement. 

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized once again for our efforts to make CWU the most welcoming, diverse, and inclusive university in the state,” said Kandee Cleary, vice president of inclusivity and diversity. “Winning the HEED Award six times in seven years is a clear indication of Central’s long-term commitment to creating an open, welcoming environment for everyone.”

Last year’s enrollment numbers show students of color comprised 37% of CWU’s student body, with Latinx student enrollment at 18%. In 2018-19, students of color made up about 35% of the university’s total enrollment, and in 2015-16, they accounted for 30%. Workplace diversity also has improved over the past five years, increasing from 13% in 2015-16 to 16% last year.

CWU President James L. Gaudino said receiving the HEED Award shows Central is making good on its stated mission of being a diverse institution that seeks to recruit and retain students from all backgrounds and walks of life.

“We all learn from each other,” he said, “and it is only through having a campus environment that reflects our entire society, and embraces diversity and inclusiveness, that we become stronger as an institution and as a people.”

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine is the oldest and largest diversity publication in higher education. The HEED Award is the only national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion across their campuses. This year’s 90 honorees will be featured in the magazine’s November edition. Only one other Washington higher education institution was honored this year.

Lenore Pearlstein, co-publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity, said the magazine has been receiving more HEED Award applications every year, and most institutions say they use the application as a tool to develop new programs and to benchmark their accomplishments across campus.

"The process allows them to reflect on their successes and also determine where more work needs to be done,” she said.

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