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Shari McMahan formally installed as EWU president

Shari McMahan is installed as EWU's president during a Monday investiture ceremony.
Screenshot from EWU livestream
Shari McMahan is installed as EWU's president during a Monday investiture ceremony.

Eastern Washington University has formally installed Shari McMahan as its 27th president.

McMahan began her work at EWU in June 2022, but she was only presented with the presidential medal on the Cheney campus yesterday.

Before McMahan’s arrival, the mood among some at the university was restless. Many were dissatisfied with the status quo. But the mood was decidedly different Monday. Several faculty and staff members praised McMahan’s energy and inclusiveness during a ceremony at Showalter Hall.

“I can happily say that the staff, faculty and admins at this university are routinely receptive and invested and committed to hearing our student leaders and showing respect to their ideas and concerns,” said ASEWU President Lucas Fyre.

“Dr. McMahan is exceptional,” said EWU Director of Alumni Relations Kelsey Hatch-Brecek. “Her strong vision for the future sets a positive tone for what lies ahead and demonstrates a forward-thinking approach. She embodies our aspirations of the institution and is committed to the university’s growth and success. She is a leader who will continue to see us forward to even greater heights.”

“It’s been a privilege to work with President McMahan this past year,” said EWU Board of Trustees President Jay Manning. “The relationship between a board and president can be challenging at times, but we’ve never doubted the passion President McMahan has for the lasting success at Eastern and the utmost commitment she has to fulfill our mission of personal transformation through excellence in learning.”

During an upbeat speech, McMahan highlighted several people within the university community for their work. She also thanked her mentors in the California university system, where she served as a faculty member and administrator, for preparing her to lead Eastern.

“A few years into my studies, I started working with a professor collecting hair samples in people to look at lead burden,” McMahan said. She said she learned that people who live near freeways, often people of lower economic status, were more likely to be poisoned by lead in their environments.

“Early on I became acutely aware of the health disparities that exist between different socio-economic groups,” she said. “These inequities have always troubled me, the fact that not all individuals receive equitable treatment and support.”

That knowledge and experience, she said, stoked her passion for working with first-generation college students “to propel them forward and create opportunities for their transformation.”

McMahan celebrated families of EWU alumni, some as deep as five generations, and thanked them for their service and loyalty to the university.

“I did a lot of listening this past year and your thoughts and suggestions, whether from years of experience or fresh perspectives, indicated to me that you care deeply about the future of Eastern, our stability and our impact in the community. It will be a collective effort as we move forward,” she said.

Doug Nadvornick has spent most of his 30+-year radio career at Spokane Public Radio and filled a variety of positions. He is currently the program director and news director. Through the years, he has also been the local Morning Edition and All Things Considered host (not at the same time). He served as the Inland Northwest correspondent for the Northwest News Network, based in Coeur d’Alene. He created the original program grid for KSFC. He has also served for several years as a board member for Public Media Journalists Association. During his years away from SPR, he worked at The Pacific Northwest Inlander, Washington State University in Spokane and KXLY Radio.