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'It is a shock': Former EWU president Mary Cullinan dies

Dr. Mary Cullinan stepped down from her role as Eastern Washington University president in August 2020 following a vote of no confidence from the Faculty Senate.

CHENEY, Wash. — Former Eastern Washington University President Mary Cullinan has died, Interim President David May announced on Monday.

"I have some sad news to share with you. I recently learned of the passing of Dr. Mary Cullinan," May wrote in an email to EWU employees. "I don't have any details to share, but it is a shock. It is the wishes of her family that no one reach out to them at this time, and the university will be respecting these wishes for privacy."

May did not specify when Cullinan passed away or provide a cause of death. 

Cullinan, who served as the university's 26th president, took office in August 2014. She stepped down from her position in August 2020 following a vote of no confidence from the Faculty Senate. May was appointed interim president while EWU searches for a permanent replacement

The no confidence vote statement claimed that Cullinan faced the same vote while president at Southern Oregon University following negative feedback from faculty. According to the statement, the vote of no confidence passed at SOU in 2014 and one of the other main factors was "financial mismanagement."

Cullinan served as the “special assistant to the president for transition” at EWU through mid-September of 2020. Cullinan retained a position as a professor in the English department. The Easterner, the university's student-run news site, reported in October 2020 that she was expected to begin teaching following a nine-month sabbatical. 

This is a developing story that will be updated as more information is made available.