President Shepard sends message to campus announcing retirement from WWU

Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard sent the following message to Western faculty and staff today announcing his retirement from the university:


This morning, I advised Board of Trustees Chair Lee of my intention to retire from the presidency of Western Washington University, effective after the conclusion of the 2015-16 academic year. 

Serving you has been a deeply rewarding privilege and so this has not been an easy decision.  Yet, transitions always come and, after much reflection, I believe this is now the appropriate time for Western and for Cyndie and me. 

Having come through any number of challenges, Western proudly stands, I believe, strong as ever.  Because of all of you.  It is now time to ask, though, the critically important question: what next?  Not initially what president or presidential attributes should be next.  Rather, preparing for a presidential transition provides a unique opportunity for the people who are Western to consider and reassess the University’s critical mission and how that mission is now best served in a significantly changing world.

Only then, after a period of serious reflection on and discussion about Western’s future, is it meaningful to turn to determining the qualities that logically follow and that should then be sought in a presidential search.

Consequently, I am making the announcement now because there is a great deal of preparation that must commence so that, under the leadership of the Board of Trustees, campus-wide consultation and discussion can begin promptly with the start of the next academic year. 

That being noted, no university dynamically engaged in a changing environment can simply “take a time out.”  The year ahead poses opportunities and challenges I hope you find as exciting as do I.  As always, I will be seeking your insights on what priorities should drive us in the year ahead and will then outline them in my Opening Convocation remarks next fall.

Cyndie joins me in reiterating our deep gratitude for the opportunity to serve Western, to serve you over past years and through an exciting year ahead, and knowing that, over the years that then follow, we will always proudly be Vikings.