WSU President Kirk Schulz to retire in June 2025

Closeup of Kirk Schulz.
WSU President Kirk Schulz

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University President Kirk Schulz announced today his plan to retire in June 2025. Schulz was hired as the university’s 11th president in 2016. A presidential search and transition process will begin later this month. The WSU Board of Regents will lead the search for a new president and work closely with President Schulz to ensure a seamless transition for WSU students, faculty, and staff.

“These last eight years as president of Washington State University have been some of the best years of my career,” said President Schulz. “I am immensely proud of what we’ve accomplished together to educate students, conduct ground-breaking research, and improve the lives of Washingtonians. I look forward to continuing this work over the next year, and I look forward to supporting the Board of Regents in their search for my successor.”

Under President Schulz’ leadership, WSU saw record-setting gains in philanthropy, notably raising $167.9 million in private gifts in fiscal year 2023. WSU received full accreditation for the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine in 2021 and launched eastern Washington’s first pediatric residency in 2023. Throughout his tenure, WSU also expanded educational and research facilities across the WSU system, including the Schweitzer Engineering Hall and plant sciences buildings in Pullman, a life sciences building in Vancouver, a new student union and an academic building in Tri-Cities, and a major health sciences remodel on the Spokane campus.

These last eight years as president of Washington State University have been some of the best years of my career. I am immensely proud of what we’ve accomplished together to educate students, conduct ground-breaking research, and improve the lives of Washingtonians.

Kirk Schulz, president
Washington State University

“President Schulz made a significant impact at WSU and leaves a notable set of accomplishments. The Board of Regents are grateful for his leadership,” said Lisa Keohokalole Schauer, chair, WSU Board of Regents. “Since June 2023, President Schulz has had many conversations with the Board about his intention to retire which has allowed us to be thoughtful as we prepare and design an inclusive search process for our 12th president.”

“We have greatly valued the opportunity to collaborate with President Schulz on many of the pressing workforce issues facing employers today,” said Kris Johnson, president and CEO, Association of Washington Business. “Kirk and WSU have been important partners in our effort to strengthen the ties between higher education and Washington’s employer community, to bridge the skills gap, and to help employers connect with young people in search of work-based learning opportunities in communities throughout Washington.”

Faculty Senate Chair Eric Shelden added, “President Schulz has been a valued partner with Faculty Senate leadership. His approachability, his consistent optimism and his unflagging advocacy for Washington State University have been appreciated. I look forward to partnering with him through his transition.”

At today’s board meeting, the chair of the regents established a Presidential Search Advisory Committee (PSAC). The PSAC will work with the WSU community and a national search firm to provide the board with advice on the search process, identify potential candidates, and review applications. The full committee membership is scheduled to be selected in June. The regents are committed to building an application process that honors their commitment to transparency, inclusion, and equitable representation.

The PSAC will be led by Jenette Ramos, vice chair of the Board of Regents. Regent Ramos will be joined by Regent Enrique Cerna, Regent Lura Powell, and Regent Brett Blankenship as representatives for the Board of Regents. Information on how individuals from the WSU community can apply to serve on the PSAC is scheduled to be released next week. Applicants will be selected to reflect geographic representation for all WSU campuses, faculty, staff, students, donors, alumni, and community leaders.

While the ultimate selection of the 12th president will be made by the Board of Regents, the entire WSU community will have opportunities to engage, provide feedback, and help shape the process. A presidential search website will go live in the coming weeks and will be regularly updated as the search process makes progress.

“With forward momentum, WSU is ready to seize the opportunities that await,” said Regent Schauer. “This is a tremendous opportunity for the next WSU president to carry forward the university’s legacy of innovation. The Board of Regents is excited to work with a new president to help WSU fulfill its land-grant mission.”

President Kirk and First Lady Noel Schulz share their future plans with the WSU community.

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