CWU News

Patricia Cutright, Dean of Libraries, to Retire This Summer

Patricia Cutright, dean of library services at Central Washington University since 2010, has announced she will retire this summer.

“Patricia Cutright has been an exemplary dean and a true campus leader during her time at the Brooks Library,” said CWU President James L. Gaudino. “She has been an innovator in providing new services and activities for the students at the library and in helping to update and modernize the library’s operations.”

Under Cutright’s leadership the Brooks Library has been marked by significant achievements. Numerous grants, exhibitions and awards have included “Civil War 150: Exploring the War and its Meaning Through the Words of Those Who Lived It,” awarded to the library by the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2012.

Additionally, during her tenure the library was named a finalist for the Institute of Museums and Library Services’ 2016 National Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest honor presented to museums and libraries for service to their communities, and last fall the library received a $17,000 Big Read grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

“It has been a privilege to work with the students, faculty, staff and administration of CWU. I think what has been most personally gratifying was helping to make the Brooks Library such an integral part of the campus community,” Cutright said.

Katherine Frank, CWU’s provost and vice president of academic and student affairs, noted that Cutright worked hard to position the Brooks Library as a dynamic organization for the 21st Century teacher/scholar and provided the leadership for restructuring the library to meet those needs.

"Patricia is a strong supporter of CWU and advocate for the Brooks Library,” Frank said. “She cares deeply about the exceptional team of library faculty and staff, and both models and inspires a collaborative approach to education and service that extends far beyond the walls of the library."

Cutright oversaw the Brooks Library’s transition into the digital world, including implementing the electronic repository, ScholarWorks, which has provided the CWU community with the ability to create scholarship, publish, and collaborate with colleagues around the world. She also was instrumental in developing new partnerships and collaborations with a number of foundations and organizations, such as the Suncadia Fund for Community Enhancement, which helped fund ScholarWorks.

She helped initiate “Evening at the Brooks,” which is conducted in partnership with the Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce. In 2017, the successful gala fundraiser and silent auction will celebrate its fourth year having raised $7,200 in support of library initiatives.

She also has worked hard to make the library the gathering place of choice for students. She launched "Jimmy B’s," a coffee shop located inside the library, as well as events like the popular "Waffle Night," "Welcome Back Cookies and Cocoa," and "Paws and Relax" therapy dog event.

Cutright, who received her master’s degree in librarianship from the University of Washington, has been active in library work at the state, regional, national, and international levels, and has published in the areas of technology and library cooperation. Other scholarship endeavors have included launching art exhibitions in New York and Ellensburg, and writing the accompanying exhibition catalogs.

In 2015, she was elected to the executive board of the American Indian Library Association, and in 2017 she was re-appointed to a second three-year term on the Library Council of Washington advisory board. She currently serves as chair of the council.

Patricia previously served as director of libraries at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and as library director at Eastern Oregon University. In 2002, she was named Oregon Librarian of the Year. While in Oregon, her work with distance education resulted in the first Department of Education Title 11D grant ever awarded in the state.

She also led the creation of the Pioneer Library System, a 79-member library consortium in the 10 eastern counties of Oregon, and chaired the committee that led to the creation of the 37-member Orbis-Cascade Alliance, a consortium of public and private college and university libraries.

Among her other accomplishments was working in the Federated States of Micronesia to design and implement a library automation project that connected the public, schools, and the College of Micronesia.

Media contact: Richard Moreno, director of content development, 509-963-2714,