CWU News

CWU Trustees Re-Elect Keith Thompson Chair, Ron Erickson Vice Chair

The Central Washington University Board of Trustees has unanimously re-elected Keith Thompson chair of the Board of Trustees of CWU. Ron Erickson was re-elected as vice chair.

Thompson, a CWU alumnus from Spokane, was appointed to the board by former Gov. Chris Gregoire in 2006. Prior to that he served as chair of the CWU Foundation and on the advisory board for the Washington State University School of Business. He was reappointed to the board by Gov. Jay Inslee in 2012.

"Keith brings business and finance acumen to a board that has faced and overcome tremendous financial challenges," said president James L. Gaudino. "They appreciate his steady hand and his willingness to listen to all points of view."

Gaudino said the board also unanimously re-elected Ron Erickson vice chair. Erickson, also a CWU alumnus, is a native of Ellensburg with more than 35 years of experience as a manager, attorney and senior level executive leading technology, consumer product and retail enterprises in the global marketplace.

"Ron is out of the box; he's always pushing us to think in an entrepreneurial way," said Gaudino, adding that Erickson always puts student success first in board discussions. 

Erickson has helped build several businesses, serving as a founder, senior executive, board member, angel investor, and advisor. He is founder, chairman, and CEO of Visualant, Inc., a photon imaging and authentication company. He was a co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Blue Frog Mobile, Inc.; was chairman and CEO of eCharge Corporation; and was a co-founder, chairman, and CEO of GlobalTel Resources.

Early in his career Erickson worked in public policy at the White House, for the Rockefeller Commission on Critical Choices in New York City, and at the Office of Economic Opportunity in Washington, D.C. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wyoming and a law degree from the University of California, Davis and is licensed to practice in Washington.

Gaudino said Erickson and Thompson make a remarkable leadership team that the entire board supports.

A retired U.S. Bank executive, Thompson worked in the financial services industry for 33 years. He was a senior vice president, senior portfolio manager, and managing director for U.S. Bank Asset Management Group in Spokane, covering central and eastern Washington and Northern Idaho markets.

As a senior portfolio manager, Thompson managed nearly $500 million in investments for institutions and high net worth clients. As managing director, he oversaw a team of five other portfolio managers in Spokane and Boise.

Prior to joining the firm, Thompson was an investment advisor with Kidder Peabody in Seattle. Before that he owned and operated a general aviation business. He was a naval aviator and officer in the U.S. Navy from 1970 to 1976. He graduated from CWU in 1970 with degrees in geography and sociology.

Thompson and his wife, Betty, are both Spokane natives. 

The Board of Trustees elects a chair and vice chair annually at its summer meeting. The chair and vice chair hold their positions for one year or until successors are elected.

Media contact: Barb Arnott, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-2841,

July 29, 2016