SPOKANE, Wash. – Washington State University announced today that Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) contributed $100,000 to the Dr. Elson S. Floyd Medical Education Founders Fund to honor the memory of a valued friend and community leader. Dr. Edmund O. Schweitzer, III, founder and president of SEL, presented the gift to WSU Spokane Chancellor Lisa Brown at SEL’s world headquarters in Pullman, Wash., on Thursday afternoon.
“President Floyd contributed so much to WSU and the Pullman community,” said Schweitzer. “Because of his vision, tenacity and ability to bring people together, we will have a medical school in eastern Washington that will benefit us all.”
Schweitzer also presented a personal gift of $100,000 to the fund on behalf of his family.
“From his first days in Pullman, Elson reached out to SEL and took the time to get to know us,” said Schweitzer. “He became a valued friend who I always enjoyed talking with. This donation is my family’s way of honoring him and his family’s wish to continue the work he was so passionate about.”
“President Floyd was committed to meeting the need for a second medical school in Washington,” said Brown. “These generous and thoughtful gifts from the employees at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and from Ed Schweitzer and his family honor the legacy of President Floyd.”
The Dr. Elson S. Floyd Medical Education Founders Fund was established by the WSU Foundation in June to honor the legacy of WSU President Elson S. Floyd who died June 20 after his battle with cancer. Floyd considered pursuit of the state’s second medical school a central part of WSU’s land-grant responsibility to serve the needs of the citizens, industries and communities across the state, and he fought tirelessly to position the university to establish the school on WSU’s Spokane campus.
“President Floyd was committed to identifying the needs of the people and communities across the state and positioning Washington State University to be responsive to those needs through education, research, and service,” said Dan Bernardo, WSU interim president. “The generosity of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and of Dr. Schweitzer’s family represents a fitting tribute to a remarkable man whose legacy of leadership will directly benefit Washingtonians for generations to come.”
To date, more than $425,000 has been contributed to the Dr. Elson S. Floyd Medical Education Founders Fund by 518 individuals and corporate partners. All contributions to the fund support the accreditation, implementation and operation of WSU’s new College of Medicine.
Under Floyd’s leadership, WSU’s health sciences programs were consolidated on its Spokane campus, including the colleges of nursing and pharmacy, which helped to position WSU to win bipartisan support in the Washington State Legislature to establish a fully accredited medical school in Spokane. Preliminary accreditation for the new school is anticipated in fall 2016.
“With private funding like this from the Schweitzer family and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, and the naming of our founding dean expected this fall, we are on track to welcome our charter class in the fall of 2017,” said Brown.