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Office of the President Kirk Schulz biography

President Kirk H. Schulz

Transforming WSU into a top 25 public research university

University President Kirk H. Schulz is guiding Washington State University’s transformation into one of the nation’s top public research universities.

To achieve that goal, WSU launched the Drive to Twenty-Five in the fall of 2016, a system-wide effort to achieve recognized status as one of the nation’s top 25 public research universities by 2030. The initiative builds on the cornerstones of the University’s Strategic Plan and its two primary goals:

  • WSU will offer a transformative educational experience to undergraduate and graduate students
  • WSU will accelerate the development of a preeminent research portfolio

Continuing the momentum from the successful launch of the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine is also high on the list of the president’s priorities. Created by the legislature in 2015, the college welcomed its inaugural class of 60 medical students in August.

“Creation of the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine is the most dynamic development for this University in generations,” President Schulz says. ”We are committed to expanding access to healthcare, particularly for those in rural and underserved communities, and for vulnerable populations in Washington.”

The University has achieved several significant milestones under President Schulz’s leadership:

  • Statewide enrollment totaled a record-breaking 30,614 students for the fall, 2017 semester—the second consecutive year WSU topped the 30,000-student mark
  • WSU Everett, the University’s newest campus, has expanded its academic offerings and opened a state-of-the-art facility in downtown Everett
  • WSU and the state wine industry—the second largest producer of premium wine in the country—have strengthened their partnership, symbolized by the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center at WSU Tri-Cities

Reaching out to Cougar Nation

President Schulz meets regularly with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and other members of the Cougar family—across the state and beyond—as he partners with others to build upon University’s successes.

The president is one of the most active college presidents nationally to communicate via Twitter, using the social media tool to connect with the WSU family and share his pride in the University. He invites others to follow him:


National leader

A nationally respected leader in higher education, President Schulz became the 11th president of WSU and a tenured professor in the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering on June 13, 2016. He previously served seven years as president of Kansas State University, where he guided KSU to significant achievements in research, enrollment, and fundraising.

President Schulz chaired the NCAA board of governors, the NCAA’s highest-ranking committee, from 2014-2016. The board ensures that each division of the NCAA operates consistently within the basic purposes, fundamental policies, and general principles of the association.

Prior to his appointment at KSU, President Schulz served in a variety of administrative roles during nine years at Mississippi State University. As vice president for research and economic development from 2007 to 2009, he guided MSU to significant advances in landing research grants and contracts. He was dean of the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering from 2005 to 2007 and director of the Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering from 2001 to 2004. He has also served on the faculty at Michigan Technological University and the University of North Dakota.

Personal background, interests and activities

President Schulz is a member of several professional societies, including the American Institute for Chemical Engineering (AICE) and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). He is a fellow in both the ASEE and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

He is active in the Boy Scouts of America and served as president of the Coronado Council in Kansas. In 2013, he was recognized with the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the National Eagle Scout Association. He has also served in a variety of roles on the boards of the Cereal Food Processors, the Greater Manhattan Community Foundation, the Kansas Bioscience Authority, and the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

President Schulz earned his undergraduate and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering at Virginia Tech.

He is married to Dr. Noel Nunnally Schulz, who is a professor in the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture. She previously was the associate dean for research and graduate programs in the Kansas State University College of Engineering and the Paslay Professor of Electrical Engineering.

The Schulzes have two sons, Tim and Andrew.

President Kirk H. Schulz

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President Schulz’s CV (PDF)

Washington State University