A University of Washington official opened the school’s new Spokane center with a tribute to Elson Floyd, the president of Washington State University who died last weekend.
“We lost a great education visionary and leader last Saturday morning,” said interim Provost Jerry Baldasty, a Spokane native. “All of us are a little poorer today but richer that he was with us.”
The UW center at 201 W. Main Ave. will be the Seattle-based university’s hub in the region, serving alumni, prospective students and the UW medical students who spend some or all of their academic years here, said Catherine Brazil, director of government and community relations for Spokane and Eastern Washington.
It’s also a symbol of UW’s commitment to Eastern Washington, Baldasty said.
“Our roots here are very deep,” he said.
The center opens as UW and WSU forge diverging paths for medical education after decades of collaboration under a five-state program.
UW wants to expand physician training in Spokane, while WSU is looking for funding from the state to start the process of opening its own medical school – a project led by Floyd.
Local city and business leaders say they want both schools to follow through on those plans and expand health care employment and services in Eastern Washington.
The 2,600-square-foot UW center is on the outskirts of Spokane’s University District, at the corner of Main Avenue and Brown Street. A former visitors center, it’s owned by the city and leased to the university.
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