OLYMPIA—Today, Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib announced the hiring of Mary Chikwinya as Director of Higher Education. Director Chikwinya will lead the office’s efforts to expand access to higher education, including the administration of the adult re-engagement program Complete Washington.
“Ensuring all Washingtonians have access to higher education is the best way to promote our state’s economic prosperity and to prepare workers for the jobs of the future,” said Lt. Governor Habib. “I am confident Mary has the skills, drive, and experience to help us deliver on that goal. She is a proven leader with a long track record of finding creative solutions to some of the most difficult issues in higher education. I believe she is the right person to build out our office’s continued efforts to connect people in every corner of the state with a pathway to a college degree.”
Chikwinya has over 20 years of professional experience working in two- and four- year institutions throughout the state. Prior to joining the office, she served as Vice President for Student Services at Tacoma Community College (TCC), where she was instrumental in developing a partnership with the Tacoma Housing Authority which provides housing support to homeless and near-homeless students. Chikwinya also served as Interim Co-President of TCC for 17 months, providing leadership and strategic direction for the college until a permanent replacement had been named. In addition to TCC, she has also worked at Pierce, Highline, and Green River community colleges, as well as at Washington State University.
As Director of Higher Education, Mary will assume responsibility for the administration of the Complete Washington program, a statewide adult higher education initiative designed to address both state workforce and individuals’ needs by creating low-cost, high-demand degree programs specifically tailored to meet the needs of working adults.