Brian Pitcher, who has served as provost at the University of Idaho for seven years, has been named the new chancellor for Washington State University Spokane. WSU President V. Lane Rawlins announced Pitcher’s appointment at the WSU Spokane Riverpoint campus Friday.

“We are pleased to have Brian on board. These are exciting times on the Spokane campus. Enrollment is growing; so is the campus’s reputation as a home to world-class research. In Brian, we think we have found the strong academic leader and an excellent consensus builder that we need to keep WSU Spokane moving forward,” Rawlins said.

Pitcher came to the University of Idaho in 1997 as provost, the university’s chief academic officer. From March to June 2003, Pitcher served as acting president of the university. During his tenure at UI, Pitcher also has been a professor of sociology and an adjunct professor of educational administration.

Before coming to the Moscow campus, Pitcher worked for 19 years at Utah State University as a faculty member and administrator. Pitcher was the dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Utah State from 1992 to 1997.

Pitcher earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brigham Young University and a doctoral degree in sociology from the University of Arizona.

“I am attracted by the unique opportunity to work with talented faculty and staff, with mobilized community groups, and in collaboration with regional education institutions to create world-class education opportunity in Spokane,” Pitcher said. “The vision of the Spokane University District and leadership from Washington State University for research and advanced studies will synergize local and regional development. I am pleased to be part of the team.”

Pitcher’s start date is Jan. 17, 2005. He will take over for Nicholas Lovrich, director of the Division of Governmental Studies and Services at WSU, who became interim chancellor at WSU Spokane July 1. Lovrich succeeded Rom Markin, who had served as interim chancellor since February 2003.

Rawlins praised the work of both Lovrich and Markin in supplying steady leadership during the transition period.

That period has been one of growth in both enrollment and facilities on the Riverpoint campus. Head-count enrollment for WSU in Spokane, including students at the Intercollegiate College of Nursing, hit a record high of 1,427 students this fall, an increase of 6.7 percent from comparable figures from last year. Two new programs were created and new bachelor’s and doctoral degrees added.

Construction of the 106,000-square-foot Spokane Academic Center building is now under way, with completion scheduled for fall 2006. One of WSU’s top priorities in its capital budget request to the legislature for the upcoming biennium is a new nursing education building at WSU Spokane; given operating support to match, the new facilities will enable expansion of the program to meet critical shortages of nurses and nurse educators.

Meanwhile, the WSU Spokane campus is at the heart of a planned University District, which is being advanced by community and education leaders as a way to enhance economic development and quality of life in the downtown area.

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