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A timeline of Cullinan’s work with Eastern Washington University

UPDATED: Mon., May 3, 2021

Cullinan’s EWU file

June 2014: Mary Cullinan is hired as president of Eastern Washington University, the first woman to hold the job in the school’s history. She replaces the retiring Rodolfo Arevalo.

July 2015: EWU announces plans to send financial aid counselors and outreach teams to Wenatchee to help students affected by the Sleepy Hollow fire, which destroyed more than two dozen homes and forced numerous evacuations. “Our intent is to minimize the devastating effects that our students are facing so that their success in college continues with as little interruption as possible,” Cullinan said.

February 2016: Cullinan is announced as a member of the Spokane University District’s 2016 board of directors and officers.

Spring 2016: Cullinan appoints athletic director Bill Chaves to explore options for Roos Field.

Fall 2016: The university approves the $30 million renovation of the Pence Union Building, which incorporates some of the amenities in the Gateway Project proposal. The $30 million project was financed with 30-year revenue bonds, to be paid by a mandatory student service and activity fees.

March 2017: Cullinan serves as grand marshal in Spokane’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

May 2017: Cullinan announces the university has hired the Phoenix Philanthropy Group of Arizona for $124,000 to assess the university’s fundraising capacity and help plan a campaign for the university’s athletics facilities.

August 2017: EWU announces a partnership with Microsoft to offer a new data analytics degree. As part of the degree, the College of Business and Public Administration integrates a 10-course data science program by Microsoft with the college’s senior year curriculum.

January 2018: Bill Chaves leaves as athletics director for a job at the University of North Dakota. Meanwhile, Cullinan and the EWU administration say they are “looking to athletics to provide cost-control measures” to mitigate a cumulative budget deficit of $5.8 million.

February 2018: Lynn Hickey is named interim athletics director. She is officially hired in April.

February 2018: Cullinan announces EWU will move three STEM degree programs, up to 50 faculty members and around 1,000 students to the Catalyst Building at the south landing of the U-District pedestrian bridge.

October 2018: Ribbon-cutting ceremony takes place for the new Pence Union Building, culminating two years of construction and $47 million.

Spring 2019: Cullinan and Uriel Iñiguez, chairman of the board of trustees, tell faculty and staff that the university is working to cut costs by restructuring colleges and academic departments, as the institution was facing a projected $3.6 million budget shortfall. Leaders announced they would undertake a 3% budget “realignment.” Departments were also asked to avoid filling vacant positions and limit overtime and travel expenses. The administration also canceled a pay increase for non-unionized employees that was scheduled for the start of 2019. EWU spokesman Lance Kissler said 22 vacant positions were eliminated earlier this year while employees in 10 other positions were laid off, asked to work fewer hours or not replaced after leaving voluntarily. Additionally, Kissler said, the university opted not to rehire some adjunct faculty members, who work on short-term contracts, and offered voluntary buyouts to 55 tenured faculty members.

June 2019: Trustees voted to extend the contract of President Mary Cullinan through Sept. 1, 2022.

September 2019: The EWU Board of Trustees unanimously approved a proposal by the school’s athletic department for renovations to its football stadium, Roos Field, a privately funded project with an estimated cost of $25 million.

February 2020: Faculty members call for an outside independent analysis of the university’s athletics spending. Cullinan and other EWU leaders declined the request later that month.

March 2020: EWU moves most courses online due to concerns about COVID-19.

August 2020: Cullinan announces her resignation. She was brought on as a special assistant to May through Sept. 18. Cullinan, who holds a doctorate in English literature, joins EWU’s faculty as a tenured professor.

September 2020: EWU names Brian Levin-Stankevich as its new provost and vice president for academic affairs after May left the position to serve as interim president. It is announced that Cullinan is taking nine months of paid leave to hone her teaching skills and work on a forthcoming book. She was set to begin teaching students in fall 2021.

Greg Mason

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

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