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Elizabeth Chilton named first chancellor of WSU Pullman

Closeup of Elizabeth Chilton standing outdoors on the WSU Pullman campus.
Provost and Executive Vice President Elizabeth Chilton. Photo by Shelly Hanks, WSU Photo Services.

Elizabeth Chilton, Washington State University’s provost and executive vice president, will also become the first chancellor of the flagship Pullman campus in a phased transition culminating on July 1, 2022.

The appointment is part of the OneWSU initiative announced by WSU President Kirk Schulz this spring that maintains some centralized operations for efficiency while more closely aligning individual campuses with local community needs.

Until now, WSU presidents have also served as the de facto chancellor in Pullman, the largest of WSU’s six campuses statewide. A chancellor in the WSU system provides overall leadership of a campus, while the provost is WSU’s highest ranking academic officer, responsible for guiding all aspects of the university’s system‑wide academic mission.

“Given the expansive research and scholarship that takes place on our flagship campus, expanding the provost role to include leadership of the Pullman campus makes a great deal of sense,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz.

With the appointment of Chilton as Pullman chancellor, Schulz will focus on setting the strategic vision and direction for the Washington State University system, advocating for higher-education policy, engaging in philanthropic priorities, and representing WSU at the state and federal levels.

Chilton, who joined WSU a year ago, said she is “honored and thrilled to take on this expanded role in the next year.” She added, “Our Pullman campus is distinct from the other campuses in its history, size, and local community. It’s our only residential campus and it’s the seat of Cougar Athletics. When it comes to decisions affecting the Pullman campus operations or our relationships with communities and constituencies on the Palouse, the campus needs the same distinctive autonomy afforded our other WSU campuses.”

In announcing the move toward a statewide administrative structure earlier this year, Schulz pledged that the new Pullman chancellor would be one of WSU’s current senior administrators. He selected Chilton because of her extensive academic and administrative leadership experience and dedication to WSU’s mission of service, equity, and inclusion.

In addition, “As an anthropologist, Dr. Chilton understands the connections between people and place as well as how individual units function as part of a system,” Schulz said. “Her cumulative expertise in public university systems makes her the natural choice to become the first chancellor of WSU Pullman.”

The announcement of Chilton’s new role is part of a broader restructuring announced today.

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