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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

WSU president steps into new job

Washington State University’s new president officially took office Monday, and he started by continuing the meet-and-greet rush that he’s been involved in since his hiring was announced in December.

Elson S. Floyd started his tenure as WSU’s 10th president by meeting with faculty, staff and student leaders – and by wading into the task of hiring a new chief fundraiser.

“I didn’t anticipate a vacancy for the vice president for development,” Floyd said in an interview Monday morning.

“So that’s been the single development that’s been a surprise.”

WSU announced Friday that Len Jessup would step down as vice president of university development and Foundation president.

He’ll return to an endowed chairmanship in the College of Business.

He held the job for two years, during which fundraising at WSU rose from roughly $200 million a year to $300 million.

In a news release, Jessup said he had enjoyed his time as head of the WSU Foundation.

“I am very much looking forward to returning to the business school and my lifelong passion for teaching, learning, research and the study of entrepreneurial leadership,” Jessup said.

Replacing Jessup will be an urgent priority, as WSU prepares to launch a major capital campaign. Floyd himself has extensive experience in the fundraising realm.

“I’ve already begun putting some feelers out regarding candidates for that key position,” he said.

Floyd comes to WSU from the University of Missouri, where he was president of the statewide system since 2002.

That system included four campuses, more than 63,000 students and a hospital system.

As he looks ahead for WSU, he said, he envisions continued expansion and strengthening of the university’s campuses in Spokane, Vancouver and the Tri-Cities to be a key part of his job.

High on his agenda in the coming weeks will be meeting representatives of the student body, faculty and staff around Pullman and around the region.

That’s something he’s been doing in several visits to the region since December; in his first appearance on campus in February, he gave a campuswide address in which he outlined his priorities for the university.

Floyd had not settled into the presidential house on campus, he said.

Departing President V. Lane Rawlins is still there for a while, and after that there’ll be some renovation work done before he moves in with his wife, Carmento.

But Floyd said Monday he’s not worried about it.

“I haven’t even had a chance to see the presidential residence yet – if that tells you anything about my priorities,” he said.

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