Office of the President

President Shari McMahan, PhD

“As president of Eastern Washington University, I am passionate about creating a thriving, inclusive campus for students and am committed to working with faculty, staff and the community to strengthen the Eagle experience and ensure Eastern graduates are ready to be the innovative, creative, and confident leaders our communities need.”


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“I can’t express enough my gratitude and honor to serve as president of Eastern Washington University. We have a bright future, a clear path, and a community of support that will continue to propel us forward.”

– President Shari McMahan, PhD


President McMahan, a first-generation college student, has both a bachelor’s degree and a doctoral degree in social ecology from UC Irvine and a master’s degree in health science from Cal State Northridge. She came to EWU in 2022 after serving as the provost and vice president for academic affairs at California State University, San Bernardino, the first woman provost in CSUSB’s history. She has been awarded more than $5 million in external grant funding, authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications, delivered dozens of scientific and community presentations, and served on numerous professional task forces.

President McMahan is honored to lead Eastern and looks forward to continuing to fulfill the institution’s mission to expand opportunities for personal transformation through excellence in learning.

Full Bio

President McMahan’s Statement on Statements

As President of Eastern Washington University, I am often posed the question as to whether I should issue a public statement — whether it be in response to an issue or an event that has occurred locally or nationally, a political upheaval, public safety concern, or natural disaster, among others. I recognize that this question is due in part to the historic practice of some EWU presidents to comment frequently on issues or events, as well as the trend of pressuring university presidents to make statements on all manners of national or global topics. To date, it has been a rare occurrence that I move forward with issuing such a statement on behalf of myself, or representing Eastern Washington University, and I believe it’s important to clarify why I have often refrained from commenting.

I recognize the power of public statements as a means of communication and expressing solidarity; however, public statements can (and often do) have unintended effects, such as appearing performative, failing to capture the overwhelming emotional toll an event or issue may be causing among diverse campus community members, or even cause undue anxiety or panic. Public statements, which often must be issued quickly, may appear to reduce a complex topic or issue to a few broad paragraphs, or raise more questions outside the university’s purview. And, however well-intentioned, may result in more feelings of exclusion rather than inclusion. In lieu of statements, I instead value dialogue, engagement and action when it comes to addressing pertinent issues and/or events. For me, action better reflects my desire to build an inclusive, welcoming campus over the issuance of numerous broad statements.

Yet, despite these concerns, it can be appropriate and necessary to issue a thoughtful public statement at times. Official statements, when issued, will be guided by 1) their potential to significantly impact our educational mission, 2) their ability to directly support our campus community in navigating critical challenges and/or functions, and 3) whether the statement represents an opportunity to influence policy in a positive way relative to an issue or event.

When such a statement is issued, I encourage campus organizations, colleges and departments to share that statement. However, I also value the autonomy of our academic colleges and departments, and if they feel the need to issue an individual statement, I urge them to consult first with their vice president to gain a better understanding of why the university has not issued a statement and to better understand the impact a public statement may have among members of the campus or broader community. Should they issue a statement, they should ensure that it aligns with EWU’s mission and goals. I do not want to stifle individual voices, but we all have a responsibility to ensure coherence, effectiveness and mindful consideration when making public declarations.

Whether or not a statement has been issued, I always stand in solidarity against acts of injustice, hatred and violence. And I will always support meaningful and respectful engagement within our campus community. Myself, and the leadership team of EWU, remains committed to fostering an inclusive, respectful environment where differing viewpoints are valued.