December 12-13, 2006
The Board of Regents of Washington State University held a Special Regents’ Meeting pursuant to call at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, December 12, 2006, in the Lake Quinault Room at the Westin Hotel, 600 Bellevue Way, NE, in Bellevue, Washington; and on December 13, 2006, in Room 405 of the Lighty Student Services Building in Pullman, Washington.
Present: Regent Kenneth Alhadeff, Chair; Regents Elizabeth Cowles, Theodor Baseler, Francois Forgette, Laura Jennings, Connie Niva, Rafael Stone, and Michael Worthy.
1. December 12 Evaluation of the Qualifications of Candidates. Chair Kenneth Alhadeff began the Special Regents’ meeting in Open Session and stated that the purpose of the meeting was regarding the selection of a President for Washington State University. Regent Alhadeff then announced an executive session for the purpose of evaluation of candidates for the position of President and that the Regents were ready to conduct interviews with individual candidates. He stated that he expected the executive session to last until approximately 4:30 p.m.
At 4:35 p.m., the Regents ended the executive session and convened the meeting in open session.
2. Evaluation Discussion. Regent Alhadeff said that the Board had evaluated the candidates for President and that this had been done with the excellent help of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee. He noted that the Committee had looked at many qualified applicants with the assistance of the search consultant and that it had done an excellent job of sharing its assessment with the Regents on Monday. He further remarked that each of the Regents had been provided access to all candidate packages for evaluation purposes and had interviewed candidates throughout the day.
Regent Alhadeff asked for a show of hands from the Regents to indicate if they were ready to proceed and move forward with a discussion on the merits of the candidates interviewed. The Regents held a discussion of the candidates and agreed that all candidates interviewed were outstanding, that all were well qualified, and that any of them would be an asset to Washington State University.
Following discussion, Regent Alhadeff asked if the Regents were ready to pursue one of the candidates discussed, and said that, if so, they would need a motion to that effect. It was moved and seconded that the Board of Regents authorize Regent Alhadeff to have a conversation and pursue an arrangement with “Candidate 3” that includes the following points: 1) a discussion of the basic terms of an appointment; 2) the process for final action by the Board; and 3) whether the candidate would be willing to travel to a special meeting of the Board in Pullman the next day. The motion carried unanimously.
3. Order of Adjournment. Regent Alhadeff announced that the Regents would adjourn the meeting and would reconvene in Pullman the following day. Regent Alhadeff adjourned the meeting through an Order of Adjournment which read:
The Washington State University Board of Regents hereby adjourns its special meeting of December 12, 2006, to December 13, 2006, at 10:00 AM in room 405 Lighty Services Building, Pullman, Washington.
The meeting adjourned at 5:10 p.m.
4. December 13 Reconvening of the Special Regents’ Meeting. At 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 13, the special Regents’ Meeting reconvened in Room 405 of the Lighty Student Services Building, in Pullman, Washington. The Regents present were: Regent Kenneth Alhadeff, Chair; Regents, Elizabeth Cowles, Theodor Baseler, Francois Forgette, Laura Jennings, Connie Niva, and student Regent, Kyle Smith.
Regent Alhadeff announced that the meeting was a reconvened special meeting of the Washington State University Board of Regents which had been adjourned the day before. He stated that this was an historic day at Washington State University and noted that the purpose of today’s meeting was to appoint the 10th President of Washington State University. Regent Alhadeff emphasized that many people had worked hard for a very long time in the continued pursuit of excellence of WSU and that we are poised to move forward with excitement, vigor and vitality. He further acknowledged that everyone in the room has a deep connection to the University and cares deeply about its future and who will join us in its leadership.
Regent Alhadeff reported on the search process to provide background of how the Regents had arrived to this point. He noted that he would read his report, rather than provide it from memory, to ensure its accuracy.
5. Search Process Report. Following is a transcript of Regent Alhadeff’s report on the search process:
This has truly been a process that has involved the entire university community. When we started the search process a little over three months ago, the Regents engaged in an outreach process to gather input from everybody. We held forums on all of our campuses and in Seattle, with university and community constituencies. We heard what people thought about where the university was, where she needed to go, and going and what she needed in a new leader.
We appointed a Search Advisory Committee of 20 members representing the many parts of WSU, including faculty, staff, administrative professionals, administration, alumni, the Foundation, and all the campuses. We engaged a search consultant and put her to work recruiting the best possible pool of candidates for us to consider. She worked hard, the search committee worked hard and the Board of Regents worked hard.
The Regent members of the search committee-Rafael Stone, Connie Niva and Laura Jennings-traveled to Houston, Washington, D.C. and St. Louis to meet and recruit potential candidates. I have to say at this time that the three Regents and the entire search committee did an incredible job. The three Regents spent an unbelievable amount of time on the road taking away from their families and their businesses to represent this University “face to face” with the men and women that could be those candidates. They took it very seriously, they gave it their hearts, their souls, and their minds, and you will see the results of it today.
The Search Advisory Committee traveled to Chicago to interview a pool of amazingly talented and diverse candidates. This pool included some of the best sitting presidents and provosts from across the country. The committee then forwarded to the board a group of truly outstanding candidates from whom to choose. We want to recognize the committee for their incredible work on behalf of Washington State University. It is people like these who make Washington State University what it is. [Regent Alhadeff then asked the members of the Search Advisory Committee to stand and be recognized.]
The reason we are able to be where we are today is because of President Rawlins’ leadership, dedication, and professionalism. His capacity has enlarged this University and helped her to become what she can be, and we are very much in your debt because of that and proud to be here with you today.
As we went through the search and met people and talked with candidates, one of the things we heard over and over again was what a great institution Washington State University is. What is happening here is no longer a secret. It is stretching to the four corners of this country. Washington State University is recognized for the incredible research, teaching, and facility that it is. It is a place with vision and with strategic direction. People recognize it as an institution that is on the move and that is working hard to become the absolute very best it can be. It is this quality that more than anything else helped us to recruit the outstanding candidates who were interested in being our next president. To the man and woman, they shared an enthusiasm about Washington State, about the journey she has been on, and the excitement about the journey that she will continue to go on. They could see the potential that is here and were excited by it, and all of you who are here this morning are a part of that.
This is the end of the journey that brought us to today. I am happy to announce that we are now ready to commence the process to appoint a new president.
6. Board of Regents Discussion. Prior to discussion, Regent Alhadeff noted that, although the student member of the Regents is a valued member of the Board, he would not be participating in the appointment of the president. He stated that state law precludes the student Regent from participating in the hiring of university personnel. Regent Alhadeff asked Regent Stone to open the discussion, with remarks to follow by each of the Regents concerning the candidate’s qualities and qualifications.
Regent Rafael Stone thanked the members of the Search Advisory Committee for their participation and input and also for giving the Regents insight into the work of an academic institution. He also recognized the outstanding work of Regents Connie Niva and Laura Jennings and stated how grateful he is for the opportunity to have served as Chair of the committee, as well as Sally Savage, who had assisted throughout the search. He noted that there are several other academic institutions that are currently searching for presidents and that although we on the west coast, we are certainly not isolated. He stated that we had to move rapidly when those institutions discovered where we were in the search process and who we were talking to. Regent Stone said that that we knew then that we were “in the game,” as those institutions were talking to some of the same candidates. Regent Stone stated that he felt fortunate to have been appointed as a Regent when President Rawlins came on as President. He said WSU’s reputation outside the state of Washington is unbelievable, that the credit has to go to President Rawlins, and that he was very proud to be representing Washington State University. Regent Stone provided some background about Dr. Floyd. He reported that he is familiar with the state of Washington, as he served at Eastern Washington University as Vice President for Student Services, and Vice President for Administration and Executive Vice President. He also served as the Executive Director for the Higher Education Coordinating Board for the State of Washington and was very influential in establishing the branch system. He said that we would not have WSU Tri-Cities, WSU Vancouver, and WSU Spokane without Dr. Floyd’s work as Executive Director of the HEC Board. He stated that we are so fortunate that Dr. Floyd considered us and for coming back to the State of Washington.
Regent Laura Jennings said that as a member of the Search Advisory Committee it had been an honor to work with Regent Stone and it was his leadership that brought us here today. She added that the interaction that they had with the members of the Search Advisory Committee made them better educated, and with this new knowledge, they are better Regents. Regent Jennings also reiterated that one of the things they learned as they went around the country is how great of a President Lane Rawlins has been and how far the University has come under his direction in terms of our national reputation. She stated that she had the pleasure of meeting all the candidates, that it was an exceptional pool of candidates, and that the candidate they were bringing forward today is without a doubt the most exceptional. She said it is a great pleasure to be here with him today.
Regent Ted Baseler stated that “trend lines” are very important in every aspect of the business life of a University and that the trend line President Rawlins has set is very exciting for the future of this University. He said that the Regents believe the next President will continue the trend line set by President Rawlins. Regent Baseler indicated that he had a little bit of anxiety of having the responsibility of participating in the selection of the next President of WSU, but that as he interviewed the finalists, his anxiety level kept going down. He noted that now, he has virtually no anxiety because they have such a spectacular candidate, and he is thrilled in the direction that we are going.
Regent Mike Worthy commented that, like Regent Stone who came in as Regent the same time President Rawlins came to Washington State University, he has the same distinction starting his term with the new Presidential appointment. He noted further that like Regent Stone who felt pretty good with the way things have gone, he is counting on the same opportunity. He added that the Regents Stone, Niva, and Jennings executed an outstanding process. He stated that he looked at the process from the eyes of a hiring manager and with a point of view that would ask whether the process is what it should be. He said that he can honestly say that he looked at all the steps along the way and that it was virtually flawless from his experience as an employer. He said as the Regents were going through a process that identified and interacted with the proper constituencies, he could not be prouder of the outcome. Regent Worthy also said that not having had the opportunity to meet the candidates face to face until the last few days, that first of all his assessment of the qualifications of the candidates on paper beforehand was that we had outstanding candidates and that they could not go wrong. He then noted that as the process continued, he became increasingly convinced of that, but once he became face to face with this candidate, that there was not doubt that the proper leader had been found.
Student Regent Kyle Smith noted that there are so many exciting things going on this campus and that he was looking forward to watching the University grow and progress, and maintaining his involvement later in life with the great place Washington State University is.
Regent Fran Forgette commented that we are incredibly fortunate to have had our University positioned the way it was at this time as we looked for the next President. He said that thanks to President Rawlins, it could not have been better. He stated that he believes that a lot of doors had been opened for our people in this search because of the reputation of President Rawlins, the reputation of this University, and the level he has brought it to. He stated that we owe him a huge debt of thanks for that. Regent Forgette said that what had struck him, as a Regent that did not travel on all the trips, that he would receive reports back from those trips and as their travels went on, that this became not only the search for the next President, but also a journey of what this University would next become. That is, as they went out and met with and spoke to potential candidates, they were gazing just as much on what the opportunities were for this University going forth, as what it might and should become in the future. He said it was an exciting time to have had quality candidates in front of them. He said they were all tremendous and brought their own key backgrounds and talents to the table. He said it really was an issue about what this University is going to be and where it is going, as well as who the person is that is going to lead it. He noted that the Regents were delighted about how the process went and to do it in four months is remarkable.
Regent Betsy Cowles commented that she, like Regent Stone, had joined the Regents when President Rawlins arrived. She said she also feels a particular closeness to the last six years of watching what has occurred at WSU. She stressed her gratitude to President and Mrs. Rawlins for what they have done for Washington State University and the state of Washington. She said that there was no question that the candidates they were able to talk with were there because of what President Rawlins and his team of leaders have done. She thanked the Search Advisory Committee for their hard work and Regents Stone, Niva, and Jennings for their commitment. She said that what was compelling in the candidate they had brought forth today was not only his credentials, but his passion for higher education and what it really means and his connection to students. Also compelling were the candidate’s statements about the importance of research, the importance of athletics and how that fits into a research institution and growing the next leaders, and the importance of the connection between research at universities to communities’ economic development and what that means for the state and the globe.
Regent Connie Niva commended President Rawlins for his excellent service and indicated that there is still much important work to be done, especially as we enter a legislative session. She also stated that she has become very attached to her “twenty new best friends” from the Search Advisory Committee. She said it was thrilling to receive the committees’ input, as they had interviewed the candidates. She also indicated how much she had learned in this process by attending the forums and listening to the faculty, the students, staff and the general public about their thoughts and ideas. She said she learned more through this process than she had ever been afforded the opportunity to do previously. She said everyone they spoke to indicated how wonderful Washington State University is and how far we have progressed over the past few years. She indicated how proud she is to be a part of Washington State University and to be a member of the team of the Board of Regents. She said that we have much to be proud of. Lastly, Regent Niva said that Dr. Floyd became at the front end a comparison candidate where she would ask whether anyone could be better than this person. She said they spoke to many potential candidates, and he continued to be at the top of the list throughout the process.
Regent Ken Alhadeff reflected on his past at Washington State University beginning when he was a student with Glen Terrell as President and then later when he became a Regent during Samuel Smith’s presidency. He noted that he had many questions upon President Smith’s retirement in terms of the future direction of the University and how the Regents would be able to replace him. He explained that a search committee was formed, they went through the process and that the result was the hiring of President and Mrs. Rawlins and, further, everything they had done for this institution. He stated that during President Rawlins’ tenure, you could see the magic of this institution growing and that President Rawlins loves WSU as much as he does. He further stated that he had many of the same questions upon President Rawlins’ retirement about the future of Washington State University and being able to find someone with the charisma, drive, and passion needed in our next leader. Regent Alhadeff indicated that the members of the search committee, including the three Regents who had dedicated their lives to the search, completely understand what this University is about and the importance of this search. Regent Alhadeff noted that President Rawlins laid the foundation that opened doors for this search and that out of forty years of magic with Washington State University that this was the most magical moment for him. He said that he was very proud of the Search Advisory Committee and the Regents. Regent Alhadeff called upon President Rawlins to offer his comments.
7. Comments by President V. Lane Rawlins. President Rawlins stated that Dr. Floyd brings with him an incredible resume and an incredible sense of energy, and he understands that this is a great job, that this is a University “on the move,” and that there is no higher calling than to be a Coug. He said it is a journey that has only begun, there are a lot of great things we have done, and a log of great things to be done. He said what has been accomplished has not occurred just because of him but that it was also on the shoulders of this team who were in this room. He said that the person identified to be WSU’s next President has all of the tools, the ability to work hard, the ability to see through issues, to see the big issues, and to keep his eye on the goals. He said, however, his success will also depend on the work of his team and that the President would be lifted up on the shoulders of the people who believe in this institution and the work here. He noted that he still has much work to do and that he wanted to thank the Regents for the opportunity to serve, to thank this team for the work it had done, and to challenge them that if they lifted him up, then to lift Dr. Floyd even higher. He said to respect his work and to treat him as the leader of the future, because we can do whatever we want to do-it all depends on us. He said he remembered when he was in his very first meeting and was listening to all the reason why we could not do anything because of Olympia and that what he said then is still true today: the future of WSU will be determined by our own efforts, our beliefs, and our own hard work. He stressed that we have gotten off to a good start and that we have the guy to take us to the finish line.
8. Appointment of the 10th President of Washington State University. It was moved by Regent Rafael Stone that the Board of Regents appoint Dr. Elson Floyd to be the next President of the University. It was further moved by Regent Connie Niva that, having reviewed the terms and conditions of the compensation packages of presidents across the country, at WSU’s peer institutions, the Pacific-10 Conference, and in light of the fact that Dr. Floyd comes with a great deal of experience, having served as President twice previously, that the Board of Regents offer Dr. Floyd an initial term of appointment of five years, with an initial salary of $600,000 and that Regent Chair Ken Alhadeff be authorized to executive a contract on these terms on behalf of the Board of Regents. The motions were seconded by Regent Laura Jennings, and carried unanimously.
9. Comments by Dr. Elson Floyd and Mrs. Carmento Floyd. Regent Alhadeff introduced Dr. and Mrs. Floyd and pointed out that they were a team and that Mrs. Floyd had served graciously as first lady in many capacities in the past in higher education. He stated that everyone is very pleased and honored that she was there with her husband. Mrs. Floyd stated that it was wonderful to be a Cougar and a pleasure to be at WSU. She thanked the Regents for the wonderful opportunity and stated that they hope they could measure up even remotely to what Dr. and Mrs. Rawlins had accomplished. She said they were delighted to follow them, that they hope they can make everyone proud, and they were delighted to be at “our” University. She said they hope to have a long, wonderful relationship, that they are excited to be back at Washington State and be Cougars.
Following is a transcript of Dr. Floyd’s comments:
Right now I feel like a Cougar! To the Regents, I want to thank you very much for your confidence in me. There is no doubt that through your leadership, Washington State University will indeed be one of the great public land-grant institutions, and your work as a consequence of the search committee, is one reflection of it. Lane, I want to thank you and Mary Jo very much for what the two of you have done for this remarkable place we call WSU. Your work is legendary, and I very much look forward to working in full and complete partnership with you. To the audience, President Rawlins and I had a conversation a little bit earlier this morning. We talked a little bit about the transition, and I was very clear that he will decide when we start the transition. The reason for that is because this is a very robust place. You have done incredible work, and I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to visit with so many members of the search committee.
I’ve had a chance already to meet some of the students, faculty and staff, and I could not be more pleased to be a part of this remarkable place we call WSU. And, why is that? Because it’s through your teaching, your research, and your service and through your intellect generally, that you are making a significant difference. There is no doubt that if we make a difference here in this community, we’re making a difference for our state. And, if we’re doing that appropriately, we’re making a national impact. And, if we’re doing that right, we’re making a global impact. That is what world-class universities are all about. The improvement of a quality of life is relied very heavily on our faculty for its teaching, research, and service. As President of this University, I am going to do everything in my power to give you the tools to engage in your creative activities to make a real difference and get out of your way and allow you to you to do exactly that.
To our students, we want to make sure that the climate is one that is conducive to your learning and the social behaviors that are so important in academia today. And to the staff, and I consider myself a member of the staff, our students come to the institution because of the reputation of our faculty and the types of academic programs that we have in place. But, they make the decision to stay at Washington State University because of what you do as a staff. And so, it is this incredible institution and the symmetry associated with all of our work and activities that will sustain us both now, but also will paint the path of where we go in the future. We will never compromise the quality of what happens in our classroom and our research laboratories. We will indeed expand ourselves, building upon the incredible strategic plan that you have in place and making sure that we are making even more contributions to the state — because that is what a land grant university does. And, we do it better than any other place and we are going to be singing that very loudly across this State and throughout this nation. But, we will also have an impact on economic development and economic growth, because it is important for us to be an economic driver for what happens within Washington State. That is important for us as an institution to do that. You see, we have the sole responsibility as the States’ land-grant institution to reach out to all counties making sure that we provide the academic programs and services that will make a difference today, as well as tomorrow. We will continue to focus on agriculture, because it continues to be a major driver for the economy and what we do. And, we have an array a faculty who are the best of the best, and they understand that. Extension will be a part of what we do going forward, because that provides the front door of the institution, if you will, for our work and our activities. That is what distinguishes the great, public land-grant institutions in this nation, and there is no doubt that WSU is one of them.
I am privileged to be in your presence, and I am humbled to be here today, Carmento and I could not be more excited. To this Board, I thank you very much for the confidence that you have shown in me. You know there is something about the state of Washington, and there is something about being here in eastern Washington, that is very special. You know, when I traveled here today looking at the Palouse and the incredible beauty associated with it, I questioned why I ever left the state of Washington. But, I’m back and it is my firm goal and expectation that you not appoint another president! I had the opportunity before the Board meeting to meet many of you. Hopefully over the coming months I’ll have the chance to meet each and every one of you. My door will always be open to your questions and to your concerns, and if you ever have any observations to make about the institution, please let me know. We are going to do all that we possibly can to accommodate your needs and your aspirations in that regard. That is what great universities do, and this is truly a great university.
Lane you have laid an incredible foundation. It is going to be difficult to walk in your footsteps. And, so I will not attempt to do that, but I will clearly attempt to walk beside you as we go to Olympia, as we talk to members of our faculty, and as we go our Ag experimentation centers throughout the State. I will learn under your leadership, and I will have you as a full, full partner. All of you are immensely blessed to be a part of a place called Washington State University and to have Regents who really understand that. They have a deep heartfelt passion for what you do. They share uncompromised stewardship and I am delighted to serve as the 10th President of Washington State University.
Regent Alhadeff adjourned the meeting at 10:55 a.m.
Approved by the Board of Regents at its meeting held on January 26, 2007, at Lighty Student Services Building, Room 405, Pullman, Washington.
SIGNED COPY AVAILABLE IN THE PRESIDENT’S OFFICE