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Jun 17, 2014 07:48 AM EDT

Mary Cullinan Named As New President of Eastern Washington University

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Mary Cullinan has been chosen as the 26th President of the Eastern Washington University, effective August 1.

Cullinan - an experienced administrator - succeeds President Rodolfo Arévalo, PhD., who announced his retirement earlier this year after heading the university for eight years. Under his leadership, Eastern was widely known as the institution that supported those students who were the first in their family to go to college.

"I believe she shares the important passion and values EWU needs to keep moving forward," said Arévalo.

Cullinan last served as the President of Southern Oregon University (SOU) in Ashland, Oregon, since 2006. She joins the Cheney campus with 34 years of extensive higher education experience.

The chairman of the Eastern Board of Trustees said that they selected Cullinan partly because of her success ratio with students, AP News reports.

"Her tremendous academic and leadership experience, along with her focus on student success, make her an ideal choice to serve as president of Eastern," said BOT Chair Paul Tanaka in a statement.

Cullinan said that it will be an honor to lead the institution.

"EWU is a vibrant institution with powerful commitments to student success and strong connections with the region," Cullinan said.

Prior to Southern Oregon, Cullinan served as the provost and vice president for academic affairs at the Stephen F. Austin University in Texas from 2003 to 2006 and as dean of the College of Arts, Letters and Sciences and professor of English during her seven-year stint with the California State University, Stanislaus.

Cullinan earned M.A. (1972) and PhD. (1978) in English literature from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and her B.A. degree from the University of Pennsylvania (1972).

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