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Elson S. Floyd Named 10th President of Washington State University

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The University of Missouri is redistributing the following media advisory from Washington State University. It is for the information and reference of Missouri media. Contact the WSU News Service for additional information:

James Tinney, WSU News Service, 509/335-8055,

Robert Strenge, WSU News Service, 509/335-3583,

Charleen Taylor, WSU West, 206/448-1333,

PULLMAN, Wash. – Elson S. Floyd, president of the four-campus University of Missouri, was selected Wednesday by the Washington State University Board of Regents as the university's 10th president.

He will succeed WSU President V. Lane Rawlins, who will retire June 30 after serving as WSU president for seven years.

"Washington State University is a world-class university that is poised for even greater progress. I am very impressed with the people I have met who care deeply about this university and I am honored that the search advisory committee and the regents have chosen me. I look forward to taking on this leadership role," Floyd said.

"Elson Floyd is truly one of the outstanding leaders in higher education in the United States today. The breadth of his experience is exceptional. The regents were most impressed by his vision and his clear understanding of how to move an institution forward. We think he is the ideal person to continue the progress that WSU has made under President Rawlins," said Kenneth Alhadeff, chair of the WSU Board of Regents.

"Congratulations to Dr. Floyd on his position as president of Washington State University. I am pleased to welcome him and his family back to Washington," said Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire. "I am very proud of both of our research institutions here in Washington and look forward to continuing a strong partnership with WSU and its president."

Floyd, 50, was selected as president of the University of Missouri on Nov. 11, 2002. During his tenure at Missouri, he has won praise as a hard-working, charismatic and visionary leader for his university while dealing with tough budget issues.

The University of Missouri has a total enrollment of more than 63,000 students on four campuses, located in Columbia, Kansas City, St. Louis and Rolla. The system also includes University of Missouri health care, which provides services in hospitals and clinics around the state.

Floyd also served as president of Western Michigan University from 1999 to 2002, and held several administrative positions at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, including deanships in student affairs and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Previously, he spent two years as executive director of the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board, the agency responsible for statewide coordination, planning, oversight, policy analysis and student financial aid programs for Washington's post-secondary education system. From 1990 to 1993, he served as vice president for student services, vice president for administration and executive vice president at Eastern Washington University.

Floyd's selection completes an intensive four-month nationwide search for Rawlins' successor. Greenwood and Associates, Inc., a Florida-based firm, served as consultants to the search. Regent Rafael Stone chaired the 20-member search advisory committee that sought input about the selection in forums held around the state and identified the top candidates.

Floyd will receive an annual salary of $600,000. His contract also includes retention bonuses of $50,000 in the second and third years, $100,000 in the fourth year and $150,000 in the fifth year.

In 2005, Floyd received the Communicator of the Year Award from the Mid-Missouri Public Relations Society of America. The award is designed to recognize an individual who works outside the field of public relations, but has most effectively succeeded in communicating the message and mission of his or her organization.

"In addition to being poised in the public eye, President Floyd has a philosophy of candidness," said Scott Holste, president of Mid-Missouri PRSA. "He has taken the approach that we all know Missourians rightly expect: he speaks openly, honestly and publicly."

At Western Michigan University, Floyd oversaw WMU's elevation to the "doctoral/research universities-extensive" category in the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching's classification system. His pursuit of private gifts to the university resulted in three consecutive record years of record gifts.

Floyd was credited with increasing collaboration between the university and its hometown of Kalamazoo. During his tenure, construction of a new engineering building also led to the development of the Business Technology and Research Park for the private sector that was hailed as a model of public/private partnership.

He 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., 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.

Floyd is married to Carmento Floyd; they have two grown children.

Founded in 1890 as Washington's land-grant institution, Washington State University is classified by the Carnegie Institution as one of 96 public and private universities with very high research activity. Today, WSU provides world-class instruction on four campuses – in Pullman, Spokane, the Tri-Cities and Vancouver -- to a diverse population of more than 23,000 students, who choose from the many fields of study offered in the university's 10 colleges and Graduate School. The university's operating budget for the 2005-2007 biennium is about $1.5 billion, with more than 5,800 employees statewide.

View video of President Floyd's press conference at WSU in Real Player or Windows Media formats.

Reviewed 2010-06-16