Alumni News

Elson S. Floyd (A.B. '78, M.Ed. '82, Ph.D. '84) named 10th president of Washington State University

Effective May 21, 2007, Elson S. Floyd succeeded Lane Rawlins as the 10th president of Washington State University in Pullman, Wash. Formerly, Floyd served as president of the University of Missouri, the first African-American person to do so.

Prior to his appointment at the University of Missouri, Floyd served as president of Western Michigan University from 1999 to 2002, where his pursuit of private donations to the university resulted in three consecutive years of record gifts.

Floyd 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.  After several years as executive vice president of Eastern Washington University and executive director of the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board, Floyd returned to Carolina in 1995 and was appointed executive vice chancellor, the University’s chief administrative and operating officer.

Among his many awards and honors, Floyd received the Distinguished Leadership Award from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education in 2003; the James C. Kirkpatrick Award in 2004, given by the Northwest Missouri Press Association for public service; and the Communicator of the Year Award in 2005 from the Mid-Missouri Public Relations Society of America.

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.