Medical college fund to honor late WSU President Elson S. Floyd

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University today announced the creation of the Dr. Elson S. Floyd Medical Education Founders Fund to honor the university’s late president, who died Saturday morning after his battle with cancer.

Established by the Washington State University Foundation in accordance with the Floyd family’s wishes, the new fund will support the accreditation, implementation, and operation of the new College of Medicine at WSU.

“Washington State University would not be starting a medical school today without the vision and leadership of President Elson S. Floyd,” said John Gardner, Vice President for Advancement and WSU Foundation CEO. “His leadership was remarkable. From humble roots in rural North Carolina, he transcended race, class, and politics throughout his life. Although he rarely spoke of these experiences, they undoubtedly fueled his passion for greater access to quality medical care across Washington.”

Floyd considered the pursuit of the state’s second medical school a central part of WSU’s land-grant responsibility to serve the needs of the citizens, industries and communities across the state.

“Now is the time to address the physician shortage confronting a great many communities in our state,” Floyd said last fall of WSU’s efforts to establish the state’s second medical school. “We have a unique opportunity to further grow our state’s healthcare economy by fully utilizing the exceptional medical talent at WSU and by building on the tremendous investment made by the state and community in our research campus, WSU Health Sciences at Spokane.”

“President Floyd embraced the community’s vision and led the development of WSU Spokane as a health science education and research campus. He will be remembered as one of our city’s most transformative leaders” said Lisa Brown, Chancellor of the WSU Spokane campus, already the home of the Colleges of Pharmacy and Nursing.

“Dr. Floyd was committed to identifying the needs of the people and communities across the state and positioning Washington State University to be responsive to those needs through education, research, and service,” said Dan Bernardo, Executive Vice President and Provost. “A fund that will be used to respond to the needs of WSU’s College of Medicine represents a fitting tribute to a remarkable man whose legacy of leadership will directly benefit WSU and the state we serve for generations to come.”

Inquires about the Dr. Elson S. Floyd Medical Education Founders Fund may be directed to Nancy Fike, Director of Development for WSU Health Sciences at Spokane (509-358-7616; Donations can be made online at:

Elson S. Floyd was the 10th president of Washington State University and a national champion for affordable, accessible higher education. During his presidency from 2007-2015, WSU was transformed and redefined in numerous ways, in spite of navigating some of the worst fiscal challenges in the institution’s history.

Under President Floyd’s leadership student enrollment grew to record highs and the number who self-identified as students of color nearly doubled. Annual research expenditures also grew by 57.5 percent from approximately $213.2 million to more than $335.9 million, placing WSU in the top 11 percent of public research universities for research funding.

WSU completed approximately 30 major construction projects, including the Paul G. Allen Center for Global Animal Health, the renovation of Martin Stadium and new Football Operations Building, the Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences Building in Spokane, and most recently, the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center at WSU Tri Cities.

All of WSU’s health sciences programs were consolidated on its Spokane campus, including the colleges of nursing and pharmacy, which helped to position WSU to win bi-partisan support in the Washington State Legislature to create its own, separately accredited medical school in Spokane. The university also established the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication and the School for Global Animal Health.

Fundraising at WSU took off with Floyd at the helm, with private support increasing from about $50 million in gifts, grants and pledges from 2000-2006 annually to average more than $123.6 million in total private commitments annually during his presidency. His vision and dynamic leadership was a driving force behind the university’s success in the largest comprehensive fundraising effort in its history—the $1 billion Campaign for Washington State University: Because the World Needs Big Ideas—which will wrap up on June 30.


Trevor Durham, WSU Foundation, 509-339-3945;