Ed Schweitzer

L-R: WSU Spokane Chancellor Lisa Brown, Ed Schweitzer, Beatriz Schweitzer

The Dr. Elson S. Floyd Medical Education Founders Fund was created to honor our late president and recognize his work to bring a medical school to WSU and Spokane.

Last week, the fund got a major boost when Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) in Pullman donated $100,000 to the fund. Dr. Edmund O. Schweitzer, III, the founder and president of SEL, then matched that donation on behalf of his family.

“From his first days in Pullman, Elson reached out to SEL and took the time to get to know us,” Schweitzer said in a WSU news release. “He became a valued friend who I always enjoyed talking with. This donation is my family’s way of honoring him and his family’s wish to continue the work he was so passionate about.”

Many others have contributed so far to the fund (518 individuals and corporate partners, to be precise), and one of the first to donate was Bill Savitz, the CEO of Ignite Northwest, a local business accelerator.

“From the time I first met Elson Floyd, just a few months after he came to WSU, he became a friend,” Savitz said. “He truly cared about my concerns and opinions with regard to any number of topics. What first impressed me was his clarity of purpose, focus on mission and ability to get things done. That he was able to get a medical school started was a ‘big, hairy, audacious goal’ with benefit for both the school and the Spokane region and stands as the capstone of that combination of traits. I don’t know who else would have even tried, let alone been successful in that effort. From a personal perspective, Elson was instrumental in getting Ignite Northwest associated with WSU as we work to further the gains to be had from research being developed in Spokane and throughout the university. It was his personal interest that made that happen. Elson was a one-of-a-kind individual whose devotion to WSU and the Spokane community cannot be overstated. He was a true champion for us all. His legacy will live for generations.”

The Dr. Elson S. Floyd Medical Education Founders Fund has received $425,000 to date. All donations will go toward accreditation, implementation and operation of WSU’s College of Medicine.