CWU News

Message from President Wohlpart

President A. James WohlpartDear Colleagues,

Last Friday, Sasha and I and our two dogs Annie and Leo arrived in Ellensburg and started settling into the University House. Since the announcement of my appointment in January, we have had the opportunity to meet many of you (virtually) through a variety of events, and we have both felt welcomed into this deeply caring community. Now that we are here, we look forward to having the opportunity to meet you in person and to start exploring our new surroundings.

As I begin my first day as President, I would like to share with you some thoughts on this transition. This last year we moved through a challenging experience, our normal lives suddenly upended, with classes largely shifting from in-person to online, and work life for many moving from our offices to our homes. And many frontline employees continued to work in-person because of the critical nature of their jobs. We must acknowledge the trauma that this has caused for some of us.

I want to thank all of you for weathering this disruption with such grace. In the coming year, we will find ways as a community to recognize what we have accomplished and celebrate our return. As you know, our current plans call for mostly in-person courses and activities starting in fall 2021 along with nearly full occupancy in our residence halls. While all of this is dependent on the recommendations of our health and safety professionals, the trends are positive and I remain optimistic about being able to return to campus.

As I shared in my earlier remarks, I was attracted by the opportunity to come to Central because of the quality of the individuals who are here and the difference that this community makes in the lives of others. Central Washington University is known for its welcoming culture where everyone gives back and cares deeply about each other. Such engagement aligns with many of my core beliefs, including the strength found in diversity and the importance of teamwork--of working together to achieve a common goal.

The hallmark of a resilient, vibrant, and creative community is transparency, collaboration, and inclusion, as well as integrity and professionalism. Over the last four months, I have had the opportunity to meet with many of the leaders across campus, including the Faculty Senate leadership, student leaders, staff, administrators, alumni, community members, legislative leadership, and CWU supporters. That process of listening, learning, and reflecting will continue in the coming months so that we can work together to develop a long range, comprehensive, and strategic plan for our institution built on an aspirational vision and mission.

I have also been meeting with my predecessor, President-Emeritus James L. Gaudino, who has done an exceptional job in guiding the university to this point where, as the recent accreditation report noted, we are on the cusp of greatness. I will continue to work with him as we strive to reach our full potential.

I am optimistic about the future, but I also recognize there will be challenges. Together we can accomplish anything we set our minds and our hearts to. In the coming months we will chart a pathway into the future to ensure that we can continue to provide the highest quality education for our students for many decades to come.

Be well,

A. James Wohlpart