President Randhawa ushers in new school year with Faculty & Staff Convocation

September 20, 2017

Western's President, Sabah Randhawa, addressed Western's faculty and staff this morning at the annual convocation that marks the official start of the new school year.  

After a hearty breakfast in the Viking Union, Western employees gathered in the PAC to celebrate the year's awards to faculty and staff. Faculty Senate President Allison Giffen provided welcoming and closing remarks.

In his convocation remarks, greeted at the end by a standing ovation by those in attendance, Randhawa discussed the framework of the upcoming Strategic Plan, which will be released in its entirety by the end of the fall, and its three emerging themes: Advancing Inclusive Success, Enhancing Adademic Excellence, and Increasing Washington Impact. President Randhawa also touched on a few notable achievements from the past year in research; fundraising; athletics; infrastructure; and enrollment, citing a 19% boost in incoming students of color over last year.

Randhawa also discussed the need for campuses to understand and respect free speech and the dignity of all, and underlined once again Western's commitment to its undocumented students. For the full text of his speech, go the president's website here or at

The following award winners were also recognized at the event:

  • Outstanding Faculty Leadership Award: Gordon Chalmers, professor of Kinesiology
  • Carl H. Simpson Bridging Award: Vicki Hsueh, professor of Political Science
  • Outstanding Classified Staff Award: AJ Barse, Instructional Technology specialist
  • Diversity Achievement Award: Francisco Rios, professor of Secondary Education, and Liz Partolan-Fray (In Memoriam), director of International Programs and Exchanges
  • Professional Staff Award for Excellence: Linda Norman, senior systems analyst, Enterprise Application Systems
  • Phil E. Sharpe, Jr. Community Engagement Award: Emmanuel Camarillo, Student Outreach Services
  • Team Recognition Award: Howard Hughes Medical Institute Proposal Development Team


For a full archived video of convocation, click here or go to

For a full Flickr album of images from the morning, go to


WWU photos by Rhys Logan/Office of Communications and Marketing