First Among Eagles

In June, Shari McMahan took the helm as Eastern’s 27th president.


After a nationwide search involving more than 60 applicants, the EWU Board of Trustees in March announced that Shari McMahan, currently provost and vice president for academic affairs at California State University, San Bernardino, would become Eastern’s 27th president.

Dr. McMahan converses with students on Eastern’s Cheney campus.

McMahan will succeed David May, who has served as EWU’s interim president for just under two years. She will begin her tenure on June 23. “I am beyond excited to serve as EWU’s next president,” says McMahan. “I look forward to working with the Board, leadership team, faculty, staff, students, alumni and all of our community partners to elevate the importance of EWU in transforming the lives of those in and around the region. I am optimistic and grateful for this opportunity.”

A first-generation college student herself, McMahan has a bachelor’s degree and doctorate in social ecology from the University of California, Irvine, along with a master’s degree in health science from California State University, Northridge. She has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications, given dozens of scientific and community presentations and served on numerous professional task forces.

While at CSUSB, she has led efforts to increase faculty diversity, developed policies to increase graduation rates, assisted with an initiative to help students experiencing food insecurity and worked on strategies to increase campus morale.

Her unique combination of experience and expertise make McMahan a perfect fit for Eastern, says Kim Pearman-Gillman, chair of the Board of Trustees: “We are really thrilled as a board to be able to bring in someone with Dr. McMahan’s capabilities, desire and interest in being an Eagle.” 

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