The independent, student-run news site of Eastern Washington University.

The Easterner

The independent, student-run news site of Eastern Washington University.

The Easterner

The independent, student-run news site of Eastern Washington University.

The Easterner

McMahan Formally Invested as 27th President of Eastern Washington University

Source: Eastern Washington University Youtube Channel

Shari McMahan took the Oath of Office Oct. 23, 2023, formally agreeing to complete the duties of the Office of the President at Eastern Washington University. 

The investiture ceremony, a tradition in which presidential authority is officially transferred, was both a celebration of McMahan’s accomplishments and a call to action to create a more inclusive institution.

After an opening video congratulations from Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, Chair of the EWU Faculty Organization Pui-Yan Lam spoke of her anticipation for McMahan’s courageous leadership, which involves a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Authentic DEI work requires you to have the will to change deeply ingrained institutional habits and worldviews that perpetuate inequities in the university,” Lam said. “I look forward to seeing your bold, courageous leadership in practice, especially how you are going to transform the university into a more just, equitable and inclusive institution.”

Other speakers commended McMahan for what she has already brought to the university. Lucas Fyre, Associated Students of Eastern Washington University President, highlighted McMahan’s commitment to ensuring student voices are heard by being a leader of leaders.

“A leader of leaders works to ensure voices are heard, respected, and every leader has the resources available to them to help them achieve their goals. President McMahan embodies this idea, and I am so excited to see where she will take this institution in her tenure at EWU,” he said.

Jay Manning, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Eastern Washington University, summed up the overall expectation of all those who spoke.

“Just as she has demonstrated her belief in Eastern’s ability to sustain greatness, we too believe in her vision and leadership, knowing that she will do what is best for Eastern, for our talented students, and for our future,” he said.

In her speech, McMahan addressed EWU’s mission, and her personal attachment to it.

“For Eastern, our history is not in our name, which has changed over the years. It is in our mission to serve our students to the best of our ability,” she said. “That part of our mission – personal transformation – that resonates so strongly with me.”

McMahan continued to describe her own personal transformation after being a first generation college student, and learning through her research about health disparities that exist between socio-economic groups.

 “It was because of that research and personal growth that today, as an administrator in higher education, my passion is worth working with first generation and underserved students. To propel them forward, and create opportunities for their transformation,” she said.

McMahan acknowledged the challenges of following this mission, and stated what the university leadership must do to continue to uphold it for evolving student needs.

“It is a mission I am extremely proud of, but it is not always an easy task. It requires the university leadership to reflect and listen, pursue bold ideas and take courageous action in order to get things done,” she said.

McMahan concluded her speech by thanking donors to the school, alluding to a strategic plan that will “carry [the university] through the next 5 years”, and sharing a story highlighting the compassion that staff and faculty shared towards a student in need.

“I cannot 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. Thank you, and go Eags!”

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