A look at significant events during Bruce Shepard’s tenure as president:
April 2008 - Western’s Board of Trustees votes to hire Bruce Shepard as the school’s 13th president. Shepard begins his presidency in the fall.
January 2009 - As a cost-cutting measure the university decides to eliminate the football program at a projected annual savings of $450,000.
Spring 2009 - Faced with needing to cut nearly $19 million in the operating budget over the next two years, the university presents an operating budget that includes the elimination of 164 positions. Most of those jobs cuts are accomplished by not filling vacant positions.
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June 2013 - Port of Bellingham commissioners approve a plan to provide Western with six acres of waterfront property, a stepping stone in creating a university presence along Bellingham’s waterfront.
October 2013 - A large party near the campus turns into a riot. Shepard calls it an “ugly incident” and calls for meetings with local neighborhood associations and law enforcement to prevent it from happening again.
2014 - Creates a stir when he writes a blog post about making the university population better reflect the changing demographics of the state. He uses the phrase “less white,” drawing the ire from people including politicians and talk show hosts. In the fall of 2014, Western enrolls the most diverse group of new freshman in Western’s history, according to the university.
2014 - Oversees the launch of Western’s $60 million fundraising campaign, which has already exceeded $50 million.
2015 - Shepard is very vocal about further cuts in state funding for universities, saying it could make it harder for the school to deliver a quality education.
2015 - For the third year in a row, Western ranks first among medium-size universities for sending its graduates to the Peace Corps.
During his tenure Shepard has overseen several construction projects on campus including:
- Renovation of Fraser Hall;
- New athletic field on south campus;
- Addition to Buchanan Towers residence hall;
- Scheduled for this summer is a major renovation of the Carver Gym building, which includes classrooms.