NPR Profiles Shari McMahan, Selected as EWU’s 27th President

Spokane Public Radio, KPBX, used audio from Shari McMahan’s public forums to provide more insight into the woman chosen to lead Eastern. Story from Doug Nadvornick.

Original campus announcement from Feb. 24:

On behalf of the EWU Board of Trustees, I am pleased to announce that Shari McMahan, PhD, has been selected to serve as the 27th president of Eastern Washington University. The Board will immediately begin the negotiation process with Dr. McMahan, and plan to have an agreement in place by mid-March.

Dr. McMahan is currently the provost and vice president for academic affairs at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB). The Board believes her vast experience across all aspects of higher education, including her understanding of Eastern’s role as a regional university, makes her a tremendous fit for Eastern at this time. I know we all look forward to working with and helping Shari McMahan when she arrives on campus and learns more about this great university community.

The Board is very grateful to the Presidential Search Advisory Committee (PSAC) whose feedback and assistance in interviewing our top semifinalists proved invaluable to the process as we narrowed the list down to four finalists. The PSAC roster included a broad and inclusive representation of the university:

  • 4 Trustee Members 
  • 1 Dean
  • 3 Faculty (one UFE, one WFSE, one classified at-large)
  • 1 Public Schools Employee
  • 1 Exempt Staff
  • 2 Students
  • 1 Foundation Board Member
  • 1 Alumni Board Member
  • 3 Community Members

In addition, we want to thank the people who provided more than 670 comments through the portal on the presidential search website. Board members reviewed all of the remarks, including reports submitted by various campus organizations representing faculty, staff and students. All of the responses helped us engage in healthy, robust discussions on naming our next president.

The quality of the more than 60 applicants, including the four finalists, is a testament to something most of us already know – Eastern is a special place and we are poised to remain an educational leader in our region. 

The Board would also specifically like to thank interim President David May, PhD, for his great leadership and commitment to Eastern during this historic time over the last 18 months. His steady hand helped the university navigate incredible challenges, and we look forward to working with him during a transitional period over the next several months.

Dr. McMahan is expected to begin duties as president this summer. 


Kim Pearman-Gillman, Chair, EWU Board of Trustees

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