President James Gaudino recognized by the Washington State legislature

Sean Bessette, Assistant News Editor

Both chambers of the Washington State Legislature recently adopted identical resolutions honoring President James Gaudino for his service throughout his tenure.

Senators Judy Warnick, Jeff Holy, Jim Honeyford, T’wina Nobles, Bob Hasegawa and Lynda Wilson sponsored the resolution (SR 8615) in the senate.

Representatives Mike Sells, Tom Dent, Brad Klippert, Cyndy Jacobsen, Mari Leavitt, Debra Lekanoff, Alex Ybarra, Gerry Pollet and Kelly Chambers sponsored the resolution (HR 4611) passed in the house.

Warnick said it was important to recognize Gaudino because he’s been a “champion” for the university.

Gaudino said he was flattered by the recognition, but pointed out that it’s about more than just himself.

“I consider it truly a group recognition that they just put my name on because probably it was too long to list 12,000 people,” Gaudino said.

He pointed out that nothing the senators or representatives said in their testimonies were things he accomplished single-handedly and that it was a compliment to the university.

The resolutions stated Gaudino’s leadership was “instrumental” in overcoming some of the most challenging times in the university’s history. 

“Central has gone through some tough times under his leadership and you know, I’ve been impressed with how things have come around,” Warnick said.

Warnick first met Gaudino during a speech at the start of his tenure and said she thought, “boy, is he a good communicator.”

Sells agreed and added that Gaudino is a “great promoter” of the university.

The resolutions listed nine reasons for the recognition, including avoiding mass layoffs, increasing financial stability, modernizing and digitalizing the 14 business processes, overhauling campus technology and data management systems, modernizing budget and management processes, modernizing enrollment management, expanding educational opportunities by launching online degree programs and insisting on science-informed pandemic strategies.

Additionally, the resolutions made note of the work Gaudino has done on “creating a welcoming and inclusive campus climate,” something Warnick found especially important. The university has earned the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award in six of the past seven years.

The resolution was adopted in the House of Representatives on March 23 and the resolution was adopted in the Senate on March 24.