Elson S. Floyd, Ph.D. - 11/20/08
A Year-Round Partnership
Apple Cup Week is the time when alumni, students, fans and the general public focus on the football rivalry between Washington State University and the University of Washington.
It is an exciting event, even in years like this when neither team comes in with the win-loss record it would have imagined.
However, any focus on the rivalry should not obscure the more important, year-round aspects of our relationship with our fellow research university — collaboration and cooperation.
As most of you know, when I became president of Washington State University, I identified global animal health as an area of particular attention. That decision was largely driven by the excellence of the researchers we have in that field.
The fact that we share our state with University of Washington, one of the nation’s leaders in human health research, is another positive factor. By working together to explore the relationship between human and animal diseases, WSU and UW researchers are in a unique position to make Washington a leader in health science research.
The relationship extends to education programs as well. For example, our College of Veterinary Medicine is partnering with the University of Washington to offer a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine/Master of Public Health degree, which would prepare health professionals to manage both human and animal disease issues.
The various joint efforts between our two universities are too extensive to list. But here are a few examples.
Recently, the National Institutes of Health announced a $40 million grant over five years to the Pacific Northwest Center for the National Children's Study at the University of Washington to partner with Washington State University, Oregon Health & Science University and communities in Washington and Oregon on a landmark study of children’s health.
Researchers at the two universities team up to work on everything from mapping the apple genome to measuring the safety of the log truck industry.
In 2006, the Washington Legislature approved and funded a plan, jointly advanced by UW, WSU and Eastern Washington University, to expand Spokane-based medical and dental education programs and meet the need for physicians and dentists, particularly in rural areas of Eastern Washington.
Meanwhile, WSU and UW are partners in the Ruckelshaus Center, now directed by former WSU President V. Lane Rawlins, which helps community leaders build consensus and resolve public-policy disputes.
On Friday afternoon, the Boards of Regents of the two universities will meet to discuss our numerous mutual efforts. While some of us may be in crimson and others in purple, when it comes to our belief in the importance of higher education and the need to work together to solve pressing problems for our state, nation and world, I expect we will match very well.