CWU News

CWU Receives HEED Award for Excellence in Diversity for Fifth Year

Students in front of the Wildcat statue

Central Washington University is a 2019 recipient of the prestigious INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award.

It’s the fifth time in six years that Central has been nationally recognized for its inclusivity efforts—making CWU the only institution in Washington State with this record of achievement.

The HEED Award recognizes colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. Central was one of only three universities in Washington to earn this recognition this year.

“What this award says is, ‘this college is sensitive to making sure opportunities at the university is sufficiently open to all,’” noted CWU President James L. Gaudino. “At Central, inclusivity is one of our values. It doesn’t matter where you’re from -- when you come to Central you’re going to have an opportunity to succeed.”

Currently, students of color make up 35 percent of Central's enrollment, of which 16 percent of the student body are Hispanic.

The HEED award, open to all colleges and universities throughout the United States, measures an institution’s level of achievement and intensity of commitment in regard to broadening diversity and inclusion on campus through initiatives, programs and outreach; student recruitment, retention, and completion; and hiring practices for faculty and staff.

“This award is a testament to the commitment of faculty and staff to meeting student needs and welcoming students from all experiences,” said Delores “Kandee” Cleary, vice president of inclusivity and diversity. “The faculty and staff here are creative and innovative in producing initiatives and programs to meet their needs.”

The HEED Award is the only national recognition honoring colleges and universities that exhibit outstanding efforts and success in the area of diversity and inclusion throughout their campuses.

“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,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being done every day across their campus.”

2019 HEED Award logoCWU will be featured, along with 92 other recipients, in the November 2019 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. CWU’s Game On! program will also have a special feature in the issue for being recognized as a 2019 Inspiring Program in STEM Awardee.

INSIGHT Into Diversity is the oldest and largest diversity magazine and website in higher education today. For more information about the 2019 HEED award, visit

Media Contact: Dawn Alford, Public Affairs, 509-963-1484,