The Centralia College Board of Trustees has named the center of campus Ward Plaza in recognition of Steve Ward’s vision, perseverance, and dedication in making Centralia College a campus that truly reflects the college’s mission.
Ward is the vice president of finance and administration. A naming ceremony for Ward Plaza will be held later this spring. The plaza is located between the Walton Science Center, Washington Hall, and the TransAlta Commons.
“Steve has worked consistently over many years to bring to fruition our goals for a modern and beautiful campus that the college and the community can be proud of,” said Jim Lowery, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “The Board wants to recognize the importance of these efforts and thank Steve with this recognition.”
Ward began at Centralia College as a student in 1972. A non-traditional student, he was the first in his family to attend college. He picked away at it part-time over five years, working to pay his way through. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in accounting and economics from St. Martins University and master’s degree in Public Administration from The Evergreen State College. He later worked in the State Auditor’s Office, as a CPA and in public accounting, and in upper administration at the university level before returning to Centralia College in 1993.
Since Ward’s arrival in 1993, the main campus has undergone an amazing transformation. In fact, the only buildings untouched are Kemp Hall (set for demolition this year) and the Kirk Library. All other campus buildings are new or remodeled. In addition, the main campus has grown from 17 acres to 40.
For Ward, the transformation of Centralia College has been a team effort, one in which he’s proud to have played a role.
“I am humbled and honored by the recognition given by the Board of Trustees, and especially about the Plaza, since it is the center of the college and was once a public street bisecting the campus,” said Ward. “However, the campus as it exists today is the work of many people at the college, past and present, and I wish to acknowledge all that had a hand in the campus growth. None of this would have been possible without a team of people committed to helping build a college that our community, internal and external, can point to with pride.”