August 3, 1998
KALAMAZOO -- Dr. Elson S. Floyd took office as the sixth president of Western Michigan University on Saturday, Aug. 1, succeeding Dr. Diether H. Haenicke, who had served as president since 1985. Following a sabbatical, Haenicke will return to the WMU faculty.
On his first day in office, Floyd was among local dignitaries at a public fund-raising event at Kalamazoo's Milham Park. Proceeds from the annual event, the Greater Kalamazoo Duck Race, benefit Hospice of Greater Kalamazoo.
Floyd's first official day at work, Monday, Aug. 3, included an informal morning news conference and a live interactive videoconference. He also met informally with retired WMU faculty members at a breakfast on campus.
The videoconference, which originated from the WMU Fetzer Center at noon, gave invited alumni and University friends in seven cities a chance to see and talk to Floyd using compressed video technology. The videoconference sites were located in Battle Creek, Chicago, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Holland, Lansing and St. Joseph.
Floyd came to WMU from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he served as the executive vice chancellor since 1995.
Floyd started his career at UNC in 1978 as assistant dean for student life and judicial programs officer and went on to hold several positions, including assistant dean for the Division of Student Affairs, the General College and the College of Arts and Sciences; and associate dean for academic services. From 1988 to 1990, Floyd was assistant vice president for student services for the UNC System.
In 1990, he joined Eastern Washington University as vice president for student services. At EWU, he served a year each as vice president for administration and executive vice president. He then spent two years as executive director of the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board until returning to UNC.
Floyd is involved in civic and professional associations including Rotary International, the United Way of America, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, the Association for the Study of Higher Education, and the Education Commissions of the States. He continues to write, present and speak professionally.
Floyd earned a bachelor's degree in political science and speech, a master's degree in adult education, and a doctoral degree in higher and adult education, all from UNC.
Floyd and his wife have two children.
Media contact: Matt Kurz, 616 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org
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