The students and staff of WSU were given their opportunity to remember and celebrate the life of Elson Floyd on Aug. 26. The memorial was held in Beasley Coliseum, and was attended by leaders from across the state.
Governor Jay Inslee eulogized the President who passed of colon cancer June 20. Floyd was the 10th president in the university's history and took over the job May 21, 2007.
"Isn't it amazing what one Cougar gift has done for the whole state of Washington?" Inslee said at the memorial. "I've known some leaders in my time and I know if they have a Mount Rushmore of college presidents he's going to be on it, for sure."
Floyd's impact on WSU can't be understated, and it seems like everyone has a story to tell about him. Today, Vince Grippi told us about how even though initially he wasn't impressed with the President, that opinion changed quickly.
"I covered a regents meeting he ran concerning the Martin Stadium remodel. I was the only reporter in a conference room with about half the WSU regents - the rest were connected by phone - and watched as he steered the discussion, and decision, the way he wanted it to go. I've covered a lot of similar meetings over the years - heck, I participated in some as well - and I never saw anyone more in control. Subtly if he could, not-so-subtly if that was called for. In the end, the remodel was approved. Martin Stadium has never looked the same. And never will. Now that Elson Floyd is gone, we can say a similar thing about Washington State University. It will never be the same."
One thing always comes up in the tales of Floyd's prowess, he left the university better than when he started. Perhaps his most important contribution will be securing the medical school for WSU. A school that will bear his name.
"For years to come, when we see doctors improving the health of our communities, we'll be seeing his legacy," U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said.
In addition to that tribute, all WSU team's will honor Floyd with uniform patches and stickers this year. His impact stretched to all nooks and crannies of the WSU community, and the loss of his presence will continued to be felt.
Floyd was 59 years old and was survived by his wife, son, daughter and three granddaughters.
"I can't even begin to say how difficult this time has been for our family. It's taken our breath away, and it's changed our lives," Carmento Floyd said. "But the one thing that has been constant, through this whole ordeal, has been your love and support."