- Associated Press - Monday, June 16, 2014

CHENEY, Wash. (AP) - Eastern Washington University has hired an experienced administrator from Southern Oregon University to be its new president.

The university’s board of trustees announced Monday that Mary Cullinan will be the school’s 26th president, replacing President Rodolfo Arevalo (ah-reh-VAH’-loh), who is retiring in July after eight years of leadership in Cheney.

Cullinan has served as president of Southern Oregon University in Ashland since 2006 and has 34 years of higher education experience, including work in the California State University system and time at Stephen F. Austin University in Texas.

The chairman of the Eastern Board of Trustees says they chose Cullinan in part because of her focus on student success. Arevalo helped Eastern become known for embracing students who were the first in their family to go to college.

“Dr. Cullinan will continue our mission of working for the success of all students at Eastern,” Arevalo in a statement. “She and I currently sit on the board of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and I believe she shares the important passion and values EWU needs to keep moving forward.”

Arevalo also has been credited with negotiating a creative new contract with the Eastern faculty that focuses on bringing professors up to the national averages in their fields instead of giving across-the-board raises.

Cullinan does not appear to be as popular among the faculty at Southern Oregon University.

A few weeks after a new faculty contract was approved earlier this year, 63 percent of the Southern Oregon faculty voted they did not have confidence in Cullinan’s leadership. The contract did not include cost-of-living increases and followed university budget cuts that would eliminate 80 positions at the school.

Cullinan also was a finalist for the presidency at Youngstown State University in Ohio. The board of trustees chose former Ohio State University football coach Jim Tressel.

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