Jerilyn McIntyre may not have felt especially lucky after being named CWU’s 13th president—and first female president—in July 2000. Upon arriving, she found an institution facing budget cuts, falling enrollment, and an unhappy faculty.
But by the time she retired eight years later, she was lauded for, among other things, increasing enrollment by 30 percent, doubling the percentage of students of color, strengthening ties with the faculty, and embarking on a building boom that continues to this day.
During her tenure, she oversaw the renovation of Kamola and Sue Lombard Halls as well as construction of the SURC, Wendell Hill Hall, buildings at many of the University Centers, and a new music building (which now bears her name).
McIntyre was born in Nebraska in 1942. She received a BA in history from Stanford University in 1964 and earned an MA in journalism a year later. From 1965 to 1967, she worked as a correspondent for McGraw-Hill Publishing Company at its World News Bureau in Los Angeles.
A year later, McIntyre obtained a teaching certificate and was hired as an assistant professor in the Department of Mass Communications at Chico State College in California. She earned a PhD in Communications from the University of Washington in 1973 and later that year joined the faculty in the School of Journalism at the University of Iowa.
In 1977, she became an associate professor in the Department of Communications at the University of Utah. In subsequent years, she served as Utah’s associate dean of the College of Humanities, associate vice president for Academic Affairs, vice president for Academic Affairs, and interim president (twice) before coming to Central.
In 2011, the Central Washington Music Building was renamed the Jerilyn S. McIntyre Music Building in her honor.
Jen Gray, former director of principal and legacy gifts at CWU, noted at the time that McIntyre was selected because of her “contributions to the university, and especially because of her work in the Legislature to creatively fund the construction of the music building.”
The McIntyre Music Building was constructed in 2003-2004 and has a unique metal membrane roof and, in its central mass, a large, mesh and glass cylindrical vestibule, which some have described as resembling a rocket launch tube or a giant lipstick container.
Inside, the 70,000 square foot building boasts the 600-seat Wayne Hertz Concert Hall as well as a smaller 150-seat recital hall and a number of band/choral rooms. The building is said to be second only the Benaroya Hall in Seattle in terms of music performance acoustics and visibility.
Following her retirement, McIntyre and her husband relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah, where she continues to write (her most recent work is a children’s book, The Shadow of the Unscratchable: Harley Discovers Rome).