December 11, 2008

Dear WSU Community:

After visiting with numerous members of the Legislature last week, I was reminded of the importance of again reviewing with you the legislative priorities for Washington State University. Notwithstanding the start of the session in January, much work and activity are already occurring.

The overall fiscal environment of the State of Washington clearly places the operating budget at the top of our priority list. While we realize there will be cuts for higher education, the overall magnitude is unclear at the time of this writing. However, the cuts will be deep with broad impact on our University. Nonetheless, we will strive to never compromise the quality of our teaching, research, scholarship, and outreach even in these challenging times. I direct your attention specifically to our strategic plan at www.strategicplan.wsu.edu.

As a consequence, we will focus on the following priorities:

  • Maximizing student access to WSU programs at campuses in Spokane, Tri-Cities, Vancouver and Pullman, including high-demand fields such as nursing and engineering
  • Nurturing cutting-edge research, education, and outreach programs such as the School for Global Animal Health, Clean Technology initiatives, and the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication
  • Providing support for the state agriculture industry through research and extension across the state

On the capital construction budget, these are among our top priorities:

  • The Applied Technology Classroom Building to serve the semi-conductor industry in Southwest Washington in partnership with the Washington Technology Center. We can begin construction just a few weeks after we secure a $38.7 million appropriation from the Legislature
  • Securing $7.4 million in design funds for a new Veterinary Medical Research Building that can be constructed on the Pullman campus in 2011-2013
  • Maintaining the vital infrastructure of our campuses and securing funding for a $15.7 million Wastewater Reclamation Project in Pullman

Even though the projected downturn in the economic forecast is extremely serious, it is important for us to maintain excellence and quality and promote sustainability at WSU. Your continued support will be crucial in this regard.

Many alumni have asked about our position on the proposal before the Legislature to spend $150 million on the renovation of Husky Stadium. This is a matter I want to leave between the University of Washington and the Legislature.

WSU’s institutional commitment and priorities are clear and focused on enhancing the lives of citizens in the state, nation, and world. If we continue to focus on our strategic goals and together work as hard as we ever have, I firmly believe that WSU will come through these challenging times with flying colors…and, of course, they will be crimson and gray.

Thank you for your continued support of WSU. We will keep you updated on our progress.

Happy Holidays,

Elson S. Floyd

Elson S. Floyd, Ph.D.
President