CWU News

President Gaudino Announces Changes

Central Washington University President James L. Gaudino has announced he will step down as president on July 31, 2021, after more than 11 years of service.


“Serving as president of this wonderful university has been an honor and the privilege of my professional life,” Gaudino said. “I want to express my appreciation to the faculty, staff, students, alumni, legislators, community members and trustees, past and present. They have joined in the work of building the strength and reputation of CWU as a welcoming community for everyone seeking a first-class university education.”


Gaudino formally notified the university Board of Trustees of his decision at its February meeting. Ron Erickson, chair of the Board of Trustees, said the board would begin the process of searching for a new president at a special meeting on March 31, 2020.


 “Jim has been an innovative and effective leader, and an inspiration to us all,” Erickson said. “He led the University through difficult times during the Great Recession and has worked ceaselessly to make a CWU education one of the best undergraduate experiences in the nation.”

Gaudino became the school’s 14th president in January 2009. During his tenure he has led the university to sustained enrollment growth; an unprecedented infusion of state construction funding; a comprehensive modernization of information, budget and management systems; and a comprehensive effort to create a safe and inclusive environment for all.


 “My time at CWU has been an extraordinary experience,” said Gaudino. “As I look forward to my next adventure, I will leave the presidency knowing the future of Central Washington University is very bright.”


The Board of Trustees formally accepted the President’s decision, which is effective July 31, 2021. As provided in his contract, Gaudino will serve as President Emeritus and has the option to join the faculty as a full professor in the Department of Communication.


Media contact: Kremiere Jackson, Vice President of Public Affairs, 509-963-1425,