Gov. Jay Inslee signs Substitute House Bill No. 1559, April 1, 2015. Relating to higher education programs at Washington State University and the University of Washington.

April 1, 2015 — when Governor Jay Inslee signed the WSU medical school bill into law — marked the unofficial start of the College of Medicine.

Today is another landmark day for the college.

The WSU Board of Regents today anointed the university’s new medical school as the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.

The Regents’ vote at their meeting in Pullman this morning accomplishes two things. It changes the name from College of Medical Sciences to a more traditional College of Medicine. It also affixes the late president’s name, adding to his powerful and lasting legacy at WSU.

The vote is an affirmation of the leadership shown by President Floyd before and during the 2015 legislative session, when lawmakers granted WSU the authority to create its own medical school and appropriated $2.5 million to start the process. The president led a team of university administrators, including Spokane Chancellor Lisa Brown and Ken Roberts, the acting dean of Medical Sciences, in educating legislators, community and health care leaders around the state about the benefits of having a second publicly-funded (and third overall) medical school in Washington.

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Following the Regents’ vote, Interim President Dan Bernardo announced the hiring of Dr. John Tomkowiak as the College of Medicine’s first founding dean.

Dr. Tomkowiak is the dean of the Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. In addition to this and his other administrative duties, he’s a professor of psychiatry who holds a Masters of Organizational Leadership degree from Gonzaga University.

He has experience helping medical schools in Florida, New York and Illinois achieve accreditation. He says helping WSU through the accreditation process will be his top priority.

“I look forward to working very closely with the new dean. We need his input on our plans for the medical school going forward,” said Acting Dean Ken Roberts. “We’re past the half-way point in preparing our accreditation documents for submitting to the accrediting agency.”

Tomkowiak will begin work with WSU in early October. He and his wife, Sherri, a practicing psychiatrist, have four children.