Vice President of University Relations
Western is a comprehensive university serving 15,000 students that has consistently been ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the highest ranking public, master’s granting university in the Pacific Northwest.
Steve is in his third year serving as the Vice President for University Relations at Western. The University Relations Division includes Internal and External Marketing, Communications, Government Relations, Community Relations and Printing and Copy Services. He is also responsible for special projects as assigned by the President, including WWU’s Western Crossing development on the waterfront in Bellingham.
Swan came to Western Washington University from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay where he was the Assistant Chancellor for University Advancement from 1995 to 2000 and again from 2004 to 2009. In between he was the President of Ultimate Sports Apparel of Green Bay, a company he founded in 2000. Before moving into administration, he was an assistant men’s basketball coach under former UW-Green Bay Head Coach Dick Bennett from 1985 to 1995. He was the sports information director, men’s basketball recruiter and an assistant football coach at UW-Stevens Point from 1977 through 1985. In 1976 he served as the press secretary to Congressman Robert J. Cornell in Washington, D.C.
A native of De Pere, WI, Swan earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 1976. He and his wife, Karen, a registered nurse in Western Health Services; have two daughters, Melissa, an elementary school teacher in the Green Bay Public School System, and Kristin, a student at Western Washington University.
Sherry Burkey is a highly regarded professional in the higher education policy and legislative field in Washington State. She has served with distinction as the Associate Vice President for University Relations and Director of Government Relations at Western Washington University since 2005.
Burkey, a trusted advisor to the university president on legislative strategy, is respected by the Western campus community and by legislators and their staffs in Olympia because of her integrity and thoughtful, passionate advocacy for Western Washington University and public higher education.
A graduate of the University of Washington, Burkey worked for more than 20 years at the University of Washington in Seattle as Director of Government Relations and for University of Washington Medicine as Director of External Affairs, before assuming her current position at Western. Prior to her current tenure in higher education she worked in Washington D.C. on the staffs of Washington State U.S. Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, and Massachusetts U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy.