When Elson Floyd envisioned a Washington State University medical school, he had big dreams.
He spoke about training more doctors in Washington to alleviate the state’s physician shortage and about using WSU’s stature as the state’s land-grant university to extend the new school’s influence into every county.
Nearly a year after his passing as the new school that now bears Floyd’s name is in the process of being created, the expectations are high. Prospective students are contacting the school to find out when they can apply. Several of Washington’s health care providers have signed agreements to teach WSU medical students in clinical rotations. And Founding Dean John Tomkowiak, M.D., is leading the effort to give the state’s newest publicly-funded medical school its own unique identity.
The City of Spokane and the Spokane Public Library Foundation today honored former WSU president Elson S. Floyd with first ever Spokane Citizen Impact Award. Going forward, the award will be named the Elson S. Floyd Impact Award and will be given each year to individuals who have made significant contributions to the region that may fall outside the scope of the Hall of Fame.
The late Elson S. Floyd was a frequent visitor to Spokane during the last year of his life.
He had this notion that Washington State University could start a medical school, and it wasn’t long before he persuaded others that WSU really was perfectly capable of doing such a thing, and furthermore, that it was WSU’s mission as the state’s land grant university to do so.
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.
President Elson S. Floyd, March 1, 1956 – June 20, 2015
Elson Floyd’s fingerprints are all over our campus.
The WSU president saw the opportunity that WSU had in Spokane – a large medical sector, a beautiful University District – and designated WSU Spokane as the University’s health sciences campus.
This spring, Floyd helped convince lawmakers from both sides of the state to allow WSU to operate its own medical school. The impacts of that work will live on for many years to come as the WSU medical school grows.