New trustee added to board

New trustee added to board

By Wilson Criscione, News Writer

Uriel Iñiguez has replaced Bertha Ortega to become the newest member on the board of trustees, and as an EWU alumnus, he hopes to give back to the university that helped him get to where he is today.

Iñiguez came to Eastern as a first-generation student, and part of his mission as a member of the board of trustees is to serve students like himself. He also has 10 siblings who went to college, and Iñiguez’ son is a current student at EWU.

“I’ve lived it. I am one of those stories. My family is one of those stories,” Iñiguez said.

He believes his experience as a first-generation student gives him a unique perspective on how to better serve them. Instead of being on the outside looking in, he is on the inside looking out.

As a member of the board, Iñiguez also hopes to continue to increase engagement with alumni and the community, believing this will help the university’s prestige and increase admission rates.

He said the university is currently in an excellent position to succeed, thanks to the previous efforts of the board and the contributions from President Rodolfo Arévalo, who recently announced his retirement, effective July 2014.

“Part of the reason I am here is because I believe in the direction the university is going,” Iñiguez said.

The top priority for the board as they move forward is finding a new president, according to Iñiguez. They are also working on developing a new college of health science and public health, as well as expanding athletic projects such as Roos Field.

Iñiguez replaces Ortega, who served on the board since 2002.

“It was a phenomenal experience,” Ortega said.

Ortega believes the university was successful in increasing housing options, improving education and keeping tuition low for students. EWU has the lowest tuition rate of any state university in Washington.

But she wishes the university would have made the switch from quarters to semesters. While it would have cost money in the short term, she thought only having two enrollments and registration processes a year instead of three would have made a smoother transition for transfer students and would save the school money long term.

Still, she describes her time with the board as “very rewarding and humbling.”

Ortega will continue to serve on the board of trustees for the Yakima museum and community hospital, and she will finish out her time teaching at Heritage University this May.

She is confident EWU’s Board of Trustees will continue improving the university as Iñiguez takes her spot.

“I think the governor has made a good selection,” Ortega said.