May 12, 2014


Contact Information:
Missy Kline
Managing Editor

Waded Cruzado, President of Montana State University, Receives CUPA-HR’s Chief Executive HR Champion Award

Waded Cruzado, president of Montana State University, has received the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) 2014 Chief Executive HR Champion Award. Recognizing that what makes an institution great are its people, this award honors a president or chancellor of a higher education institution or system who has demonstrated significant support for the institution’s human resources function. Thanks to the generous support of Sibson Consulting, CUPA-HR is pleased to offer an $8,000 contribution to Montana State University (MSU)’s endowment or a scholarship of Cruzado’s choice.

In her four years at the helm of MSU, Cruzado has made several strategic investments in the institution’s human resources organization, enabling it to become an integral part of decision making at MSU. In 2011, she created the position of chief human resources officer, affording HR a spot on her executive committee. In the three years since, she has offered her unwavering support of a total restructuring of HR, including the creation of four additional HR management positions, a physical move to a better suited building, the purchase and implementation of an electronic applicant tracking system, and the creation of a professional development and training function. Cruzado has also played an integral role in the university’s myriad employee engagement, employee recognition, leadership development and workforce diversity efforts.

“President Cruzado is supporting MSU’s HR operation with more than just words and deeds — she truly believes in an integrated, empowered HR department,” says Chief Human Resources Officer Dennis Defa, who nominated Cruzado for the award. “She understands the impact HR can have in helping the university move forward, and that has helped others see and appreciate HR’s value. President Cruzado’s mindset has removed obstacles, freed up resources and given HR the latitude to make much needed improvements and to move forward with long-stalled projects. Thanks to her belief in the importance of a strong HR function, MSU HR is well on the path to transforming itself from a primarily transactional operation into a dynamic, strategic and proactive operation.”


CUPA-HR is higher ed HR. We serve higher education by providing the knowledge, resources, advocacy and connections to achieve organizational and workforce excellence. Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, and serving more than 17,000 HR professionals and other campus leaders at more than 1,900 member organizations around the country and abroad, the association offers learning and professional development programs, higher education salary and benefits data, extensive online resources and just-in-time regulatory and legislative information.

CUPA-HR’s annual Higher Education Human Resource Awards honor excellence in higher education human resources and recognize service and commitment to CUPA-HR and innovation in the profession.