A 2009 video tribute to Terrell

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University today marked the death of former President Dr. Glenn Terrell, remembering the institution’s seventh president for both his compassion and academic leadership.

“The Cougar family lost one of its most beloved leaders this morning with the passing of Dr. Glenn Terrell,” WSU President Elson S. Floyd said in announcing Terrell’s passing to the WSU community.

Terrell, who was 93, served as president of WSU during the tumultuous era between 1967 to 1985.

“The years of Dr. Terrell’s presidency were times of change for the nation and for the University,” Floyd said in a statement. “He navigated changes admirably, leaving WSU a stronger and more vibrant University than ever before.”

Floyd said Terrell was respected nationally for his leadership, as well as his many accomplishments on behalf of WSU, but “will perhaps best be known as a man who cared about people.

“He had a rare ability to make anyone he was talking to feel like the most important person in the world,” Floyd said.

Terrell was dean of faculties at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle prior to his selection as president by the WSU Board of Regents. During his first semester, he began earning his reputation for cordial relations with the faculty but also his reputation as “the students’ president.” Terrell frequently walked to work from the President’s House on the west side of campus to his office on the east side, stopping to visit with students, faculty, and staff along the way.

Today, the area Terrell often strolled to work, which lies at the center of the WSU Pullman campus, is known as the Glenn Terrell Friendship Mall. The newer of the two nearby library buildings is also named the Terrell Library.

In the academic realm, Terrell was devoted to improving the quality of undergraduate education at WSU as well as expanding research and graduate education. Areas of emphasis ranged from veterinary medicine to biological sciences, nursing, the humanities, and social sciences. He also emphasized efforts to attract outside funding for university research and research facilities.

Increasing support from varied sources was a priority for Terrell. During his years, research grants and contracts grew from $11 million in 1965-67 to $68.5 million in 1983-85, a reflection of the growing emphasis on faculty research and scholarship. An able partner in advancing the University’s academic quality and research was Albert C. Yates, executive vice president and provost. Another influential development during Terrell’s years was the establishment in 1979 of the WSU Foundation to increase private support for the University.

“Everyone in the Cougar family who was blessed with the opportunity to meet him will remember with fondness his sincere compassion, generous heart, and great sense of humor,” Floyd said of Terrell. “He will be missed.”