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In the News

Washington leaders pay tribute to President Floyd

Elson S. Floyd

Elson S. Floyd was named President of the four-campus Washington State University on December 13, 2006. He took office as the 10th president of Washington State's land-grant research university on May 21, 2007.

He leads one of America's most productive research universities. WSU is classified among the nation's 96 leading public and private universities with very high research activity by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Dr. Floyd brings to WSU an exceptionally wide range of administrative experience, as well as valuable state and national perspectives on higher education issues and policies.


Before coming to WSU, he was president of the four-campus University of Missouri for four years and president of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo for more than four years. While at Western Michigan University, he also was a tenured faculty member in the Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology and in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Leadership.

Dr. Floyd spent from 1995 to 1998 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one of the nation's leading research institutions, where he served as chief administrative and operating officer and the senior official responsible for business and finance; human resources; auxiliary enterprises; student affairs; information technology; university advancement and development; and enrollment management.

For two years he was executive director of the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board, the agency responsible for statewide planning, policy analysis and student financial aid programs for Washington's post-secondary education system. From 1990 to 1993, Dr. Floyd served as vice president for student services, vice president for administration, and executive vice president at Eastern Washington University. In the latter capacity, he was the university's chief operating officer.

WSU's president began his career in 1978 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he held deanships in the Division of Student Affairs, the General College and the College of Arts and Sciences. From 1988 to 1990, he was assistant vice president for student services for the UNC system office, where he helped develop and articulate student affairs and academic affairs policy for the 16-campus university system.


A native of Henderson, N.C., Dr. Floyd holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science and speech, a master of education degree in adult education, and a doctor of philosophy degree in higher and adult education, all from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Among other honors, Dr. Floyd is the recipient of the 2005 Communicator of the Year Award, given by the Mid-Missouri Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). He also received the 2004 James C. Kirkpatrick Award given by the Northwest Missouri Press Association for public service. Other honors include the 2004 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Dr. Floyd's former high school, Darlington School, in Georgia.

Academic field

Higher and Adult Education, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Washington State University is in mourning since the passing of our beloved President Elson S. Floyd. Below is the latest post from WSU Government Relations on how state and national leaders have been responding to the news of President Floyd’s untimely passing and the legacy he is leaving for our University, the state of Washington, and the world of higher education.

Newsbeat – WSU Government Relations

All of Washington State University was united in its grief this week with the announcement that President Elson Floyd passed away early Saturday morning in Pullman due to complications from cancer. He was a respected leader, not just for the tremendous achievements he made for WSU, but also his personable and inspirational attitude towards the school, his peers, and, above all, his students.

The weekend was filled with an outpouring of condolences, support and memorable experiences shared by people from across the state and the nation. Dignitaries from all over Washington paid tribute to the incredible legacy President Floyd forged during his time as WSU President, highlighting his most recent endeavor in building a new generation of medical professionals through the establishment of a WSU School of Medicine.

You can read these dignitary tributes to President Floyd here, and to read more on Dr. Floyd’s life and achievements, or to express your own condolences or stories, please visit our web page at

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