Convocation Rallies Eastern Community

September 20, 2023

President Shari McMahan delivered a convocation address to a crowded Showalter Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 19, thanking the campus community and highlighting a commitment to expand support for students and employees.

The address – which celebrated the arrival of students and highlighted news of importance – segued into a near record turnout in support of Pass Through the Pillars. (You can watch President McMahan’s 2023 Convocation video here.)

McMahan talked about the importance of the upcoming strategic planning process and urged the campus community to get involved. She encouraged faculty and staff to provide input at a Strategic Planning Town Hall, to be held from noon-1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28, in the PUB NCR.

The president reenforced her commitment to ensuring that all students receive the support they need to succeed, saying, “the principles of justice, equity, diversity and belonging will be at the forefront of each strategy and goal – because it has to be to ensure Eastern is a welcoming space for all.”

Furthermore, she said, the EWU community must work to improve methods of support for underrepresented and marginalized students. “We can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results. We must focus on closing equity gaps.”

Much of the president’s speech focused on gratitude as McMahan thanked EWU employees from the School of Social Work, Dining Services and the EWU University Police for making a difference for evacuees and victims of the recent Gray Fire, saying “it was overwhelming and inspiring to see how quickly the Eagle spirit of community and service rose to the occasion.”

The president praised teams across campus for their work to earn reaccreditations for the university as whole, and for degrees and programs offered by College of Professional Programs, the Department of Wellness and Movement Sciences and the EWU Music, as well as the Program Leading to University Success (PLUS).

She also noted EWU was recently awarded as one of the Best Colleges in America by Money Magazine and Nursing, Engineering, Education, Business and Career Development received Colleges of Distinction awards.

Legislative successes highlighted by the president included earning approval for state funds for the Nursing Program, the completion of the renovation of the Science Building and funding to begin pre-design for Martin and Williamson halls.

In addition, fundraising teams secured $7.5 million for the EWU Foundation and a total of $16 million in grants overall to support student and university needs.

McMahan also thanked the faculty and staff members involved in the SRA templating process, saying the final reports are expected to be released in December.

The campus community members in attendance were particularly excited to learn about new health, wellness and training opportunities inspired by early conversations about culture and a resulting Wellness Task force.

The new EagleWell website will provide a one-stop for resources for professional and personal development.

In addition to the return of the Benefits Fair on Tuesday, Nov. 2, employees can look forward to the following benefits:

  • University Recreation Center passes available for $20 a month, starting Oct. 1.
  • Season football tickets offered at half price
  • Special staff appreciation days for athletics’ events with free admission for an employee and guest starting with the Sept. 30 game against the Idaho Vandals (claim your free tickets at goeags.com).

McMahan announced a significant benefit for employees who are parents – saying the university is finalizing plans to offer dependent tuition fee waivers for employees.

“You give so much to our campus, it’s time we support your family’s education, as well,” the president said.

McMahan ended her speech by encouraging unity. “Let’s commit to having a great year, supporting one another, focusing on unity and ensuring every person, whether student, faculty or staff feels welcome, safe and supported as an Eastern Eagle.”