CWU News

CWU Year in Review: Highlights of 2014

In many ways, 2014 was an extraordinary year for Central Washington University. From student accomplishments to groundbreaking on the new Science II complex, there was much to celebrate. Here’s a small sampling of the highlights of the past year.

Washington State Representative Judy Warnick was among the many dignitaries who attended the May 1 groundbreaking ceremony for CWU’s $63 million Science II building. The 120,000 square foot structure will house advanced laboratories and classrooms for physics, geology and science education students. (May)

The US Department of Education awarded more than $18 million to CWU to help students in 11 school districts in central Washington prepare for college. CWU is the only institution of higher education in Washington State to receive the award for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP). (September)

At the 2014 Mathematical Competition in Modeling, teams from CWU earned rankings in the top 10 percent of more than 6,700 universities and colleges from all over the world. Both CWU teams earned a Meritorious ranking—one of the highest honors teams can receive. CWU was one of only three schools in the United States in which all the teams were rated as Meritorious. (April)

CWU placed 110th on a survey of 1,200 colleges nationwide in student career success after graduation. The Educate to Career College Ranking Index (ETC) ranked four-year colleges and universities with more than 1,000 students, based on earnings and employability attained by their graduates. (June)

Jeffrey Snedeker, professor of music at CWU, was selected as the 2014-2016 Phi Kappa Phi Artist by The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi—the nation’s oldest and most selective all-discipline honor society. He is the first person from CWU to be awarded the national Phi Kappa Phi Artist Award. (April)

CWU entered into agreements with Lake Washington Institute of Technology in Kirkland, Grays Harbor College in Aberdeen, and Peninsula College in Port Angeles to provide new four-year degree options to their communities. (July)

After several months of negotiations, IASCO Flight Training (IFT) signed a five-year contract to provide flight-training services to CWU aviation students. (December)

CWU instituted Compass 2 Campus, a youth-mentoring program designed to encourage students from underrepresented and low-income backgrounds to finish high school and enroll in postsecondary education. For its first year, CWU partnered with Wapato School District. (October)

Undergraduates Hans Berghoff and Ernest Skousen collected data for a rare, unusually bright supernova at the Lind Hall Observatory at CWU. The event, designated as SN 2014J, was discovered by a group of astronomy students in England. (January)

Men’s and women’s rugby has now been added to the roster of varsity sports within the CWU Department of Athletics. Central is one of the few varsity programs at any public college or university in the nation to offer both men’s and women’s rugby. (February)

CWU released the first comprehensive research study, “Teacher Time Study,” that identified the duties that make up the typical Washington state teacher workday. The study was created at the behest of the Washington State Legislature. (June)

The CWU Foundation received $350,000 in grants to acquire a flow cytometer, to create new and updated biological sciences curriculum using flow cytometry, and to foster undergraduate research. (January)

Alumnus Joseph Stoltman (’62) and his wife, Gillian, donated $100,000 to establish a new endowment for scholarships for CWU students in geography, resource management, and potentially other programs on campus. (February)

Students Vicky Valdovinos and Seth Lonborg won a national Mark of Excellence award from the Society of Professional Journalists for their photo illustration on the cover of CWU’s student-run newspaper, The Observer. The Observer was also a regional finalist for best all-around non-daily student newspaper among universities of all sizes in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. (May)

Robert Holtfreter, professor of accounting and research at CWU’s College of Business, received the Lybrand Certificate of Merit for his article “Will the Hackers Win the Battle?” The national research award is from the Institute of Management Accountants for an outstanding contribution to accounting literature. Adrian Harrington, a former student of Holtfreter’s, co-authored the article. (June)

CWU alumnus and Zillah High School science teacher Jeff Charbonneau, 2013 national teacher of the year, has been nominated for the Global Teacher of the Year award. The $1 million Global Teacher Prize gives international recognition for outstanding teachers in each region of the globe. (December)

CWU was selected as one of the top 50 universities in the nation to make Campus Pride’s “Best of the Best” list for 2014 for its LGBT-friendly policies, programs and practices. (August)
CWU was a 2014 recipient of the prestigious INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award. CWU is one of only 83 institutions nationwide, and the only four-year institution in Washington State, to receive the award. The HEED Award recognizes colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. (September)

The Central Washington University Foundation partnered with Ellensburg's Iron Horse Brewery to develop a signature craft beer, AlumnIPA, to be featured at alumni, donor and athletic events and sold locally to benefit scholarships for CWU students. (October)

CWU’s student radio station, KCWU-FM 88.1 The ‘Burg won the College Broadcasters, Inc. 2014 National Student Production Award for Best Podcast. It beat out finalists the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Stanford University and the University of Oregon. (November)

Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-15d18,

December 30, 2014