WSU President Elson Floyd Dies From Colon Cancer At 59

President Elson Floyd

Former Washington State University President Elson S. Floyd died earlier this morning at the age of 59.

Dr. Floyd, who was president of WSU for eight years, died of complications from colon cancer. He had taken a leave of absence from the university to undergo cancer treatment just two weeks prior to his death, the Seattle Times reported.

WSU Regents Chair Ryan Durkan indicated in an e-mail to the university’s faculty and staff that the late Floyd “remained positive” throughout his prognosis and that as a result of his death, “Higher education has lost a giant, and the world has lost one of its kindest human beings.”

Back on June 5, Elson conveyed his appreciation for everyone’s “kinds words” and thoughts in a tweet from his Twitter account.

According to Durkan, the late WSU president “died in Pullman surrounded by family.”

Elson served as the 10th president of the four-campus Washington State University, beginning on May 21, 2007 and ending on June, 2015. In addition to his tenure as president at WSU, he was also the Chairman of the Pac-12 CEO group and previously served as president of both Western Michigan University as well as the University of Missouri System.

“E-Flo” as he was known to his students was born in Henderson, North Carolina on February 29, 1956. His student nickname, which was derived from his approachable style, was coined by the University of Missouri’s student newspaper, The Maneater.

Floyd received, among other honors and awards, the 2004 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Darling School in Georgia, the 2005 Communicator of the Year Award from the Mid-Missouri Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and the 2004 James C. Kirkpatrick Award from the Northwest Missouri Press Association for public service.

A message on WSU’s Office of the President website read:

Goodbye to our beloved President.

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