About Central Washington University
Central Washington University, often abbreviated CWU, is an accredited four-year educational institution located in Ellensburg, Washington in the United States. Ranked just below Eastern Washington University and Centralia College in terms of quality, this location was selected by the state legislature as a consolation prize after Ellensburg lost its bid to be state capital. The university originally opened in the late 19th century as a teacher's college, which is still one of the primary majors taken there. Central Washington University is located about 30 miles (50 km) north of Yakima, Washington on Interstate 82, and 110 miles (180 km) east-southeast of Seattle, Washington on Interstate 90.
Central Washington University originally opened up as Washington State Normal School in 1892. The school was founded to educate future elementary and junior high teachers. In 1893, the Washington State Normal School's first building was constructed and given the name Barge Hall. Before 1894, classes were held at the Washington Public School in Ellensburg.
The school's name changed to Central Washington College of Education in 1937, Central Washington State College in 1961, and finally to Central Washington University in 1977. It continues to be one of the fastest growing universities in the state of Washington. Dr. James L. Gaudino is the current president, having replaced Dr. Jerilyn S. McIntyre on January 1, 2009 after a yearlong search for a new president.
In 2008, Wildcat softball players Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace helped carry injured opponent of Western Oregon University around the bases after she hit her first-ever career home run and injured herself running around the bases. CWU lost the game, ending the Wildcats' season. The story received national attention and the trio appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, CBS, CNN, and ESPN. They also won an ESPY award for Best Moment in Sports in 2008, were featured in Sports Illustrated, and are part of a national billboard campaign promoting sportsmanship by the Foundation for A Better Life.
In 1978, CWU began its campus radio station KCWU (88.1 The Burg), which has since flourished into a state-of-the-art broadcast facility.
On April 17, 1974 serial killer Ted Bundy abducted Susan Rancourt from the campus by asking her to help him load books into his Volkswagen Beetle. Two other students reported seeing him around campus in the days leading up to her disappearance.
The university was home to Washoe, believed to be the first nonhuman to acquire human language, from 1980 to October 30, 2007.