CWU News

Seattle Center Director Joins Central Washington University Board of Trustees

Governor Jay Inslee has appointed CWU alumnus Robert Nellams to a six-year term on the Central Washington University Board of Trustees.

Nellams (1981, B.S. accounting) is the former chair of the CWU Foundation Board of Directors.

“As a CWU graduate and a recent member of the CWU Foundation Board, I’m honored to be able to continue to serve the university,” Nellams said. “I believe CWU is the premier undergraduate education experience in the West and, more than any other Washington institution, is equipped and positioned to engage and deliver upon student success, workforce development, and demographic opportunities.”

Since 2006, Nellams, who is a Seattle native, has served as the chief of the Seattle Center, where he directs a staff of 240 full-time employees and more than 650 intermittent staff. He previously worked for more than a decade as the center’s deputy director and as director of patron services. He started working for the city of Seattle in 1982 as an accountant. He will bring that expertise to the BOT governing board as a member of its finance committee.

“One of my priorities is to continue to look at ways to help build a pipeline from my community to the excellent education and growth opportunities CWU has to offer,” Nellams said. “My experience in Ellensburg is the foundation of my professional success and I would love to see more students from Washington get a similar opportunity.”

For many years, Nellams has been an active member of the Breakfast Group, a Seattle-based non-profit service organization devoted to mentoring African-American and other low-income and at-risk male youth of color. He currently serves on the group’s board of directors as chair of the fundraising committee.

CWU President James L. Gaudino said Nellams was a perfect choice for the board because of his familiarity with the university, particularly as a result of his work as a member of the foundation board.

“Robert Nellams has a long history with CWU, as a student and as an active alumnus. He brings a wealth of experience in facilities management, budgeting, fundraising, and community outreach,” Gaudino said. “He’ll be a welcome addition to the board as it moves forward in the coming years to address the challenges facing all of us in higher education.”

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