The face of Washington State University is much different today than it was seven years ago, and that is, in large part, due to the work and leadership of Dr. John Fraire, vice president for student affairs.

During his tenure, he focused on increasing access to higher education to first-generation and ethnically diverse students throughout our state and region. The success of those efforts has been reflected dramatically in our enrollment numbers; more than a third of our incoming freshmen have self-identified as students of color for the past several years. Our enrollment also has grown to an all-time high of nearly 28,700 this past fall, thanks to Dr. Fraire and his team.

Unfortunately, Dr. Fraire will be leaving WSU effective Jan. 15 to become the new vice president for enrollment management and student affairs at Portland State University. I thank him for his service and will miss him as a colleague. I wish him well in his new position.

The position of vice president for student affairs at our institution is of critical importance. For that reason, I am appointing Dr. Melynda Huskey, currently dean of students, to assume the position on an interim basis effective Jan. 16. Dr. Huskey is a seasoned student affairs professional who knows our students and institution well. She will be a capable and proactive leader until a permanent hire can be made.

To that end, I will be appointing a search committee early in spring semester to conduct a national search for our next vice president for student affairs.