Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, issued the following statement on the death of Washington State University President Elson Floyd:
“It was with deep sadness that I learned of the passing of Elson Floyd this morning. As president of Washington State University, Dr. Floyd was a widely admired leader and a passionate advocate for improved access to higher education. His dedication to his work is demonstrated by the way he championed the new medical school for WSU-Spokane over the last year, even as he suffered from the disease that took his life.
“Anybody can be president of a university when times are good, but only the great ones can succeed during tough financial times. Dr. Floyd shepherded his university through one of the most difficult times for higher education that we have seen in this state.
“He was always a straight shooter. One of the things I admired so much was that he would provide the same message out on the Palouse, at the Spillman Agronomy Farm, about the important role agricultural research plays in our economy, as he did when he addressed business leaders in the skyscrapers of Bellevue.
“The new medical school in Spokane will offer a lasting tribute to his accomplishments. This new institution will expand medical training programs for Washington students, encourage physicians to practice in underserved areas of the state, and provide new opportunities for economic development in Spokane and Eastern Washington. Now that we understand the severity of the personal challenge Dr. Floyd faced as he pushed the bill through the Legislature this session, his accomplishment seems all the more significant.
“A man of strong faith and love of family, Dr. Floyd was a good friend to many of us in the caucus. Our prayers were with him two weeks ago when he announced that he was taking a leave of absence to fight colon cancer. The entire Cougar nation is grieving today, as am I. He was taken from us too soon.”