SOE News

Funeral for alumnus Elson Floyd set for Saturday

Elson Floyd
Photo courtesy of Washington State University

A funeral for Elson Floyd, president of Washington State University and alumnus of the School of Education, will be held Saturday in his hometown of Henderson, N.C.

Floyd (A.B. '78, M.Ed. '82, Ph.D. '84) died Saturday, two weeks after taking a leave from his job to fight colon cancer. He was 59.

Floyd, a nationally respected voice for affordable, accessible higher education, began his professional career in 1978 as an assistant dean for student life at Carolina. After holding leadership posts at Eastern Washington University and the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board, he returned to Chapel Hill as a vice provost and executive vice chancellor, posts he held from 1995-1998.

Floyd became president of Western Michigan University in 1998, a position he held for five years. He served as president of the University of Missouri from 2003 until 2007, when he became president of Washington State University.

He remained a friend of the School of Education throughout. He was awarded the School of Education’s Distinguished Leadership Award in 2002. In 2004 he was awarded UNC-Chapel Hill’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Visitation will be held Friday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Henderson. The funeral will be held Saturday at noon at South Henderson Pentecostal Church in Henderson.

Washington State will host an official university celebration of life honoring him on Aug. 26, after students return for fall semester.

Washington State has a tribute to Floyd here.