CWU News

CWU Claims Another Award for its Commitment to Diversity

Minority Access Incorporated logoCentral Washington University is one of just two schools in the state—and only 14 nationally—to be recognized as a “national role model” for its commitment to diversity by Minority Access, Inc., a national organization that honors diversity in academic access and achievement.

CWU was cited for its efforts at a weekend awards ceremony in Washington, DC, according to Kandee Cleary, vice president of Inclusivity and Diversity, who represented CWU at the event.

“They looked for initiatives that promoted increased minorities in higher education—as students, faculty, and staff—along with evidence of the effectiveness of those initiatives,” explained Cleary about the selection criteria. “This is another outside affirmation that we are achieving our goal of being even more welcoming to all member of our campus community.”

Cleary added that CWU was chosen based on changes to the university hiring policy—which were labeled a best practice—student engagement, and for the administration’s avowed commitment to diversity.

“They were impressed that it came from the top,” Cleary pointed out. “President [James L.] Gaudino is committed to diversity as a way of doing business. We have been a frontrunner because he started to address this five years ago. Other universities are just now doing it.” 

Minority students presently comprise about 25 percent of CWU’s total enrollment. CWU was also previously honored as among the nation’s top 50 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender-friendly universities.

The latest award was presented during the 17th National Role Models Conference. The focus of the two-day event was on addressing issues of diversity and developing strategies for increasing the number of scholars from underrepresented populations, along with workshops and honors presentations.

The nonprofit Minority Access, based in Hyattsville, Maryland, has been aiding universities and corporations diversify their campuses and worksites since 1995.

For the last two years, CWU has also won the prestigious INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award. Presented annually by INSIGHT Into Diversity, the nation’s largest and longest-running diversity-focused higher education magazine, it is based on initiatives, programs and outreach, student recruitment, retention and completion; along with faculty and staff hiring practices.

“Receiving awards of this type is certainly encouraging,” Cleary added. “But, whether we are recognized or not, we will continue and expand our efforts to make Central even more diverse and welcoming to everyone.”

Media contact: Robert Lowery, director of radio services and integrated communications, 509-963-1487,

October 4, 2016