CWU News

CWU Trustees Approve New Presidential Contract

The trustees of Central Washington University today voted unanimously to extend the appointment of President James L. Gaudino through July 31, 2021. The board approved a new contract that also provides Gaudino's first merit-pay increase since his appointment in 2009. Gaudino's annual base salary will be $375,000, and he will earn a cash payment for each year served beyond August 1, 2016.

Board chair Keith Thompson said the compensation acknowledges market changes since the president was appointed in 2009 and rewards Gaudino's tremendous successes during extraordinarily challenging times.

"Under Jim's leadership, CWU actually came out of the Great Recession in better financial shape and with a more effective and modern organization," said Thompson, a retired US Bank executive and CWU alumnus. "This contract rewards those and other achievements with a long-overdue adjustment to the president's base salary."

Gaudino oversees a total operating budget of nearly $335 million, 12,000 students, and 1,500 employees. Thompson said the new contract does not significantly increase the president’s total compensation, but adjusts it to recognize market changes since Gaudino's appointment.

Since Gaudino’s appointment in 2009, all other public baccalaureate institutions in the state have hired presidents with new, higher compensation levels than their predecessors. As a result, at $304,600, Gaudino's salary was lower than any other university president, and even some branch campus chancellors.

Thompson said the adjustment pegs Gaudino’s salary at about the same level as the president of Western Washington University. "This adjustment aligns CWU with salary standards among our peer institutions.”

In addition to base salaries, each of the recently-hired presidents at Washington State University, Western Washington University, the Evergreen State College, and the University of Washington also receives some financial incentive to encourage him or her to stay in the position. Thompson said Gaudino’s new contract provides a cash payment for each year Gaudino serves beyond August 1, 2016. The first payment would be $25,000 and would increase by $25,000 in each of the following four years.

"The board has been extremely pleased with Jim's work and we want him to continue to serve as long as possible," Thompson said.

As examples of Gaudino's accomplishments, Thompson cited CWU's position as the fastest growing baccalaureate in the state and a comprehensive overhaul and modernization of information systems. Thompson also listed strategies Gaudino implemented to avoid mass layoffs and ensure financial stability during the Great Recession, when the state made consecutive double-digit funding cuts. Other achievements include the modernization of budget and management systems, a record infusion of construction funding, enhanced shared government, and a dedication to creating a safe and inclusive campus climate.

In 2009 Gaudino was appointed president of CWU through July 31, 2011. In 2011 the board extended the president’s appointment through 2016; in July 2015, the Board extended the president’s contract through July 2019. Exempt employees, including Gaudino, received cost-of-living adjustments of 3 percent in 2013 and 2 percent in 2015. The president did not take the cost-of-living adjustment granted to exempt employees on July 1 of this year.

Media contact: Linda Schactler, VP of Public Affairs, 509-607-4103,

July 28, 2016