The Westfield State College board of trustees in Westfield, Mass., voted Nov. 10 to name Vicky Carwein, chancellor of the UW, Tacoma, as its next president.
Carwein, who has been UWT chancellor since 1995, was unanimously selected in a formal vote of the Westfield board of trustees. She replaces Westfield president Frederick Woodward, who will retire in December.
“I have very mixed emotions about leaving the UW Tacoma,” Carwein says. “This campus has wonderful faculty, staff and students and a devoted community of supporters. Together, we have accomplished great things for the South Sound. By making bachelor’s degrees available to students who could not have attained them otherwise, UWT has truly transformed lives. By readapting historic buildings and fostering retail activity in a badly run-down warehouse district, UWT has transformed its urban neighborhood. By attracting world-class faculty, UWT has established cutting-edge academic programs. The quality of what we have built here, in partnership with our visionary founders and community supporters, is nothing short of phenomenal.”
Carwein’s departure date has not yet been determined, but she anticipates remaining until spring 2004. Her appointment at Westfield is still subject to approval by the state board of higher education.
“All of Tacoma owes Vicky Carwein an enormous debt, because the University of Washington, Tacoma lit the spark of economic development in our downtown, and Vicky was the bonfire behind UWT,” UWT Advisory Board Chair Betsy Brenner says. “Everything she did and every cause she took on during her eight years here was for the betterment of her campus and her students.”
Carwein, UWT’s first chancellor, came to UW Tacoma eight years ago when UWT, housed in leased space, had 732 students in four academic programs. Today, UWT serves more than 2,100 students with seven academic programs, including an Institute of Technology, a named business school, and many more options for study, including executive and continuing education, than existed when Carwein arrived. During her time at UWT, Carwein has provided vigorous, community-oriented leadership.
“I am leaving UWT strong in faculty talent, strong in enrollment demand, with excellent facilities, good financial management and an excellent reputation for serving its community,” Carwein says. “With all these strengths, I am confident that UWT will flourish for many years to come.”
Sally York, chair of the UWT Alumni Board and former alumni representative to the UWT Advisory Board, recalls when Carwein arrived in 1995.
“It was exciting to watch her develop strong relationships with a community that was already so supportive, and to see how she worked with local leadership in ways that were so effective in gaining legislative support for the campus. I learned so much from her,” York says.
In 1997, Carwein oversaw the grand opening of UWT’s permanent campus in Tacoma’s historic Union Station warehouse district. Since then, more than $70 million has been spent on construction at the expanding campus, including a $41 million renovation project scheduled for completion in January. Build-out of the campus to its full 46 acres is proceeding in phases. Under Carwein’s leadership, UWT has changed the face of its region architecturally, culturally and economically. Campus architecture, a combination of new construction and historic renovation, has won three national awards.
In keeping with UWT’s commitment to offer high-quality, accessible higher education to the South Puget Sound region, Carwein led UWT to establish a scholarship endowment to fully support top transfer students from the region’s community colleges.
Westfield State is located just outside Springfield, Mass., about 90 miles west of Boston. Founded in 1838, Westfield was the nation’s first coeducational teacher training institution. Today it is a comprehensive liberal arts college with about 5,000 students enrolled. Carwein will be the first woman to ever serve as president.
“I am honored to be entrusted with the leadership of Westfield and thrilled at the prospect of meeting new challenges and opportunities in Massachusetts,” Carwein says. “But I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the many people around Tacoma, including UWT’s incredible students, who have made my time here such a great experience.”
Carwein, 55, previously held the position of Dean of the College of Health Sciences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She holds a bachelor of science and a doctor of nursing science degree from Indiana University and a master of science degree from the University of California, San Francisco.