An academic building at Washington State University Tri-Cities is likely to be renamed this week after the university’s late president.
And Regent Lura J. Powell, who represents the Tri-Cities on the board, is expected to be named the WSU governing board’s next chairwoman.
The board is scheduled to vote on both issues, as well as a nearly $1,000 tuition cut, when it meets May 5-6 in Pullman.
The request to rename the West Building on the Richland campus as the Elson S. Floyd Academic Building came from the Tri-Cities campus, said spokesman Jeffrey Dennison.
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“The discussions that have happened on campus have been positive and people feel it’s an appropriate response,” he said.
The discussions that have happened on campus have been positive and people feel it’s an appropriate response.
Jeffrey Dennison, spokesman WSU Tri-Cities
Floyd, 59, died in June a short time after going on medical leave. He’d been WSU’s president since 2007.
The university completed about 30 construction projects during his tenure, including the WSU Wine Science Center at WSU Tri-Cities. Enrollment also reached record highs and the university completed a $1 billion capital campaign.
His last major accomplishment was convincing the Legislature to allow WSU to develop its own medical school on the WSU Spokane campus, a move fought by University of Washington.
Regents decided last year to name the new medical school after Floyd and the new cultural center at WSU Pullman will also bear his name.
“His hard work and dedication to education were impactful to all the WSU campuses,” said the memo to the regents. “Dedicating a lecture hall to his legacy seems very fitting.”
Dennison said it was Mark Mansperger, a clinical associate professor of anthropology, who initially suggested renaming the West Building after Floyd. The idea was supported by administration and faculty and led to it being moved forward.
$10,356 full-time undergraduate rate 2015-16
$9,324 for similar classload in 2016-17
In other business, the regents are expected to approve new tuition rates which will save undergraduate students nearly $1,000 if they attend a WSU campus full-time compared to the current rates.
WSU is set to cut tuition for undergrads at its campuses and its online program by 10 percent as authorized by state lawmakers. It’s the second straight year of a tuition drop, with rates declining 5 percent last year.
That means that full-time undergrads who paid $10,356 to attend classes this academic year will pay $9,324 for a similar classload for the 2016-17 academic year.
No other tuition rates are changing, though the newly established Masters in Health Policy Administration program will introduce its own tuition rates in the fall.
I have so enjoyed the opportunity to be on the Board of Regents. It’s just a wonderful group of people to work with.
Lura Powell, WSU Board of Regents
▪ Powell said she is eager to take on leadership of the regents, should her fellow board members decide to elect her.
It’s common practice for the board’s vice chairperson to be named the chair following their initial term. Powell will replace Chairwoman Ryan Durkan, who has led the board for the past year.
Powell was asked to become vice chairwoman only a year after joining the board in 2014. She’s previously headed up two other statewide boards, the Life Science Discovery Fund, which promotes and supports research in the state, and the redistricting commission that redrew Washington’s state legislative and U.S. Congressional districts in 2011-12.
“I have so enjoyed the opportunity to be on the Board of Regents,” Powell told the Herald. “It’s just a wonderful group of people to work with.”
The continuing development of WSU’s fledgling medical school is likely to be a focus of the board in the next year, Powell said, especially as the accreditation process moves forward. Regents also will help guide new President Kirk Schulz, who was hired a month ago to replace Floyd.
Powell, a retired director of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, co-chaired the presidential transition team.