CWU News

Virtual event gives CWU Alumni and Donors time with university President

CWU President Dr. James L. Gaudino addressed questions submitted by alumni and donors during a live-streamed event, during the inaugural University Advancement Virtual Town Hall. The live-streamed event is now available at



During the event, Gaudino addressed a range of topics, including the $250-million dollars in construction projects that have—and continue—to take place on the Ellensburg campus.


The construction includes the new 402-bed Dugmore residence hall, which will open for fall quarter, and the university’s new Health Sciences building. Its construction comes in the wake of the central Washington region being designated by the State Department of Health as a medically underserved area. 


With a planned opening in 2022, it will be home to the university’s exercise science, clinical physiology, nutrition, paramedicine, and public health programs. The facility is in line with the university’s academic master plan.



“That plan focuses on what we call STEM—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—and those are, for the most part, a combination of lecture and laboratories,” Gaudino explained. “The advancements in the lab space and the activity in the STEMs is just phenomenal, it’s just accelerating every year. And you have to give the students the ability to have a first-class experience.”


Gaudino also discussed, with pride, university efforts to increase diversity and inclusion among CWU students, faculty, and staff. He says the university stands committed to the belief that anyone can participate in the learning experience, regardless of his or her background. 



“That’s one of our values, we call it our inclusivity value, that it doesn’t matter where you’re from, if you’re rich, if you’re poor, east side, west side, minority, majority—it doesn’t matter,” Gaudino continued. “You come to Central and you’re going to have an opportunity to succeed.”  


Gaudino also discussed the university’s significant enrollment growth in recent years along with the changing nature of the university’s student body. 



“The traditional student that has always gone to college is still going to college,” Gaudino pointed out. “That’s the student that has a background that has led them to a pathway that almost assures their passage through college. Increasingly, students that don’t have that background, that preparation, are coming to college. They have to come to college because the workforce needs have changed so dramatically.”


To meet the needs of students Gaudino says the university’s approach is to create an overall university environment conducive to high student expectations, high student effort, and high university student support, from the admissions through the graduation processes. 


“Getting to school is the first step,” Gaudino adds. “Getting out of school is the much more important step with the degree that is going to prepare you for that enriched and productive and responsible life that Central is so good at preparing students for, as witnessed by our outstanding alumni base.” 




Media contact: Robert Lowery, Department of Public Affairs, director of Radio Services and Integrated Communications, 509-963-1487,