CWU News

Former Boeing CEO Ray Conner Appointed to CWU Board of Trustees

Governor Jay Inslee has appointed former Boeing executive Ray Conner to serve on the Central Washington University Board of Trustees. Conner will serve a six-year term that ends in September 2023.

Conner, who retired from Boeing in December, graduated from CWU in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in education. He worked for Boeing for more than 40 years, starting out as a mechanic and steadily climbing through the ranks of company leadership to become vice chairman of the Boeing Company and president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

"Ray Conner brings a wealth of experience as an exceptional manager and as a leader to the CWU board of trustees," said CWU President James L. Gaudino. "He is also a proud Wildcat who understands the university and its needs, and will be a great asset to the board."

Gaudino said Conner's experience in the aviation industry will be particularly valuable as CWU expands its aviation program in the next few years. The university recently purchased five new Piper Archer aircraft with plans to buy another 10 planes in the next year.

"It's a great honor to be able to serve as a trustee at Central Washington University, which had such an important impact on my life," Conner said. "I look forward to serving the university in any way that I can."

Over the years, Conner has remained engaged with his alma mater, serving as a speaker at various campus events at CWU, such as the Supply Chain Management Winter Conference, and hosting student visits at the Boeing facilities near Seattle.

In addition to attending CWU, Conner's ties to the Ellensburg community include student teaching at Ellensburg High School, where he also coached football.

In 2015, Conner and his wife, Katie, donated $300,000 to established the Ray and Katie Conner Endowed Scholarship Fund at CWU. The endowment funds annual scholarships for students pursuing a degree in science, technology, engineering, or math disciplines.

Conner, who served as Boeing's most senior executive in the Pacific Northwest until his retirement, recently joined the board of directors of Alaska Airlines.

He replaces trustee Glenn Johnson, a retired Alaska Airline executive and former chief executive officer of Horizon Air, whose term expired in September.

Media contact: Richard Moreno, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-2714,