CWU News

CWU President Applauds Recent Successes and Offers New Goals at 2019 State of the University Address

CWU has plenty to brag about—including being one of the top 50 fastest growing universities in the country—but must remain vigilant in the face of new challenges, according to CWU President James L. Gaudino.

Speaking at the annual State of the University address on Wednesday, Gaudino said he was pleased with the university’s accomplishments over the past year. He said the university successfully completed a reaccreditation process, more students than ever are applying for admission, and students from a record 64 different countries are studying at Central this year.


CWU President James L. Gaudino at State of the University addressBut he added, Central “must honor our historic commitment to providing opportunities for students to learn, irrespective of their location, their background, or their ability to pay.”


“We must understand that more than ever before students reflect divergent social, technological, economic, and political trends,” he said. “We must adapt in the way we manifest our learning and living environment.”


Gaudino called the rapid growth in Central’s student body diversity a measure of the success of efforts to create, what he called, a university with a “culture of belonging and support.” Students from traditionally underrepresented populations make up 34 percent of new Central students this year. And, for the first time in school history, students of color, at 52 percent, represented the majority of applicants for first-year admission to the university.


While it’s one thing for a student to enroll in college, it’s another matter for that student to stay in school. With that in mind, Gaudino said his first university-wide goal for the coming year is to increase freshman-to-sophomore retention rates from the current level of 71 percent to 80 percent in five years.


“This is an ambitious, but achievable goal. While recruiting new students is important, it is of limited value if we do not help them persist to their second, third, and fourth-years—and then to become graduates of CWU,” he said.


Gaudino says that effort will be aided by increasing the diversity of university faculty and staff. His second goal is to increase the diversity of the university’s staff and faculty by five percent in the next five years.


The president said his third goal is to improve the university’s commitment to sustainability.


CWU President James L. Gaudino at State of the University address“I challenge us to further reduce our carbon footprint by five percent in the next five years,” he said. “But carbon footprint is only a part of the issue. Waste is another.”


He noted that CWU, in the last year, recycled 12,800 tons of construction waste, diverting it from landfills; saved five-million gallons of irrigation water through conservation strategies; and made a commitment to using locally-sourced meat and produce, including through the creation of the Wildcat Neighborhood Farm, which has already provided roughly 10,000 pounds of fresh produce to campus dining facilities.


Gaudino concluded with a call for the university to continue on its current path while striving to do better.




Media contact: Robert Lowery, Department of Public Affairs, director of Radio Services and Integrated Communications, 509-963-1487,