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Comments made to the Board of Governors last Thursday


• After years of disinvestment and declining state participation, the higher education sector enjoyed a watershed year of sorts in Olympia during the 2012 legislative session. Facing still another budget shortfall hundreds of millions of dollars deep, the Legislature put the brakes on higher education’s previously unstoppable descent.

• The budget includes no general reductions to our state’s colleges and universities and kept our financial aid programs whole to support students. It was a remarkable – even stunning – achievement considering the very difficult budget environment legislators found themselves in when the session began January 9, 2012.

• Although we are by no means out of the woods, their decision recognized that higher education is a part of the solution to the long-term economic problems facing our society. They recognized that our students need more education than ever before, not less. They recognized that our employers are thirsting for a highly-educated and well-trained workforce. And their budget reflects the critical importance a research university plays in protecting the industries we have and building new ones for the future.


• Two weeks ago, the Board of Regents approved a 16 percent tuition rate increase at Washington State University for resident undergraduate and graduate students, along with comparable increases for other tuition categories, beginning in the fall of 2012. This will amount to approximately $1,500 more per year for the average WSU student.
• The proposal to implement the 16 percent tuition increase was a part of the 2011-13 state biennial budget adopted by the state legislature last year. The legislative budget assumed tuition increases would be implemented by all state-funded institutions in each year of the biennium.
• A tuition committee made up of WSU students, faculty and staff recommended accepting the tuition increase as outlined by the legislature. Even with the proposed tuition increase and the favorable supplemental budget, WSU is still working through a budgeted shortfall of $40 million for the biennium. No increases are anticipated in Student’s Services and Activities (S & A) fees.

• Tuition increases at this level are unsustainable, and if continued will compromise access and affordability for Washington’s students. It is imperative that we must continue to maintain the quality of a WSU education without pricing students out of the market. As favorable as the latest supplemental budget results were, it is incumbent on all of us to continue to let our legislature know the importance our state should place on education and that these cuts are not sustainable.”




New signs will greet visitors

New WSU banners are being placed along the various routes leading to campus. We started with Stadium Drive, since that is the main entry way. I am sure you will welcome the new addition to our campus signage to greet students and visitors to our campus.

I heard from many students and alums about the outdated old banners and our need to make a change. Check them out and snap a photo. Sincere appreciation is extended to Facilities Operation for placing them for us and to Jason Bittle for his creativity and design.

Go Cougs!

Elson S. Floyd, Ph.D.




Great night at Martin Stadium

My sincere thanks and appreciation to all of our students and fans of Cougar football, who really weathered through the storm last night and helped us get a big win!  You brought us much good fortune through the blizzard.  From start to finish the stadium was full and lively, and for that we are most grateful.  Thanks for supporting our team.  It was truly a special night in Pullman.  Now let’s go win these final two games!  Go Cougs!




Cougar Pride

On Saturday our Coug Guys ‘n Gals showed an amazing presentation of Cougar pride.  Every mile between Spokane and Pullman there was one of our tremendous student ambassadors waving Ol’ Crimson.

What a tremendous way to welcome all of our alumni, family and friends to our beautiful campus on Saturday for fun and exciting football and volleyball games.  My heartfelt appreciation to all of those who dedicated their time and their effort on Saturday to make this happen, a true definition of Cougar Pride!

If you did not have the opportunity to see this, below is a YouTube link so you can see what our amazing students accomplished on Saturday.





Back to school

It was a beautiful day on the Washington State University campus Monday, the first day of the fall 2011 semester.  As I made my way through campus, the streets were bustling with all of our students headed off to their first classes.  I would like to take this opportunity to welcome our largest-ever incoming freshman class to campus as well as our returning students; it is great to have all of you here.  Even with the challenges that we face, I am excited for this new school year to begin and I hope you are as well.

Over the weekend Carmento and I had the distinct pleasure of participating in Pullman’s Lentil Festival Parade.  Such a wonderful event and we were so proud to see all the WSU participants from our wonderful WSU marching band to all of our student athletes and coaches.  It did not end there, so many of the participants in this event are members of the Cougar family. Whether you are faculty, staff, student or a Cougar fan, there was a great deal of excitement and pride felt on the streets of downtown Pullman.  The parade and all the events that go along with the Lentil Festival provide an outstanding way for those new to Pullman and WSU to learn what this area is about and what it has to offer.  All the volunteers and organizers of this community event did an outstanding job; I don’t know a better way to spend a beautiful Saturday!

As we move past the first few days of classes and into the semester, I look forward to seeing everyone around campus – as well as filling up the stands at Cougar volleyball and football games!  Welcome back and Go Cougs!




The latest from Everett

While our students continue pouring into Pullman this week with the new semester now just days away, I spent much of Thursday in Everett where I spoke at an Everett School District administrators retreat.  The group met to discuss ways in which they can better prepare their students for a future in higher education.

I must tell you the commitment Everett leaders have to providing their young citizens with all the tools and resources they can for preparing and bringing higher education to Snohomish County is outstanding.  Their vision today will pay great dividends for future generations there.  As many of you have probably heard me say before, I am a firm believer that the best way for our country to get through this tough economic time is to invest in higher education — it represents our best hope for the future.  We are very excited to partner with Everett in this exciting new mission of WSU in Everett.

As Superintendent of Everett Public Schools Gary Cohn said Thursday, it is a unique collaboration  between a school district, a community college and a university going on in Everett.  And the real winners here are the young people in Snohomish County — and the general welfare of the citizenry as a consequence. 

I discussed some of the plans that are beginning to take shape as our market analysis of the area is conducted and we gather a better sense of the educational needs and align that with our programs.  We plan to do everything in our power to help Everett continue to be an attractive area for Boeing to call home by investing in an expanded engineering program there.  Our engineering program has been very successful in Pullman.  We also have one of the finest business hospitality programs in the country, and I have engaged in many conversations with the Tulalip Tribe about our plans for expanding the program to Everett — which will no doubt produce an excellent pool of young leaders in the field for their robust resort and casino, as well as the expanding hospitality industry in the area.

These discussions will continue for some time and much of the blueprint is still to come.  But there a lot of exciting possibilities in Everett, and I’m very happy WSU can be a part of it.

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