Elizabeth Chilton, WSU provost and executive vice president.

As the fall semester begins, I am excited and honored to join the Cougar community and serve as provost and executive vice president of Washington State University. I moved to Pullman in late June from New York, with my son Emmet, a rising college sophomore, my husband Michael Sugerman, a professor in anthropology, and our two rowdy dogs.

WSU exemplifies the principles of equity, access, and community engagement that are the hallmark of land-grant universities, and I’m eager to work with you all to advance that mission. I’ve spent the majority of my career at research-intensive public and land-grant universities; I most recently served as Dean of Arts & Sciences at Binghamton University, SUNY. As a Carnegie “Engaged University,” WSU is well positioned to make good on its land grant missions and continue making a difference in our communities through education, research, and extension programs.

As we begin the fall semester, I’m looking forward to getting to know our faculty, staff, and students, learning more about our campuses and extension locations, and understanding the challenges and opportunities we’re facing. Over the summer I’ve started to get to know our chancellors and deans, and I’ve begun virtual town halls at our five physical campuses, and I look forward to many more such opportunities to engage with you all.

I recognize that this fall semester is not what any of us could have imagined a year or even six months ago. Our faculty and staff have done extraordinary work to make the student experience as smooth, authentic, and dynamic as possible, proving that Coug spirit shines bright, even at a distance. Our colleagues have shown remarkable resilience in the face of monumental challenges over the past six months. They continue to innovate, inspire, and demonstrate the resourcefulness that has long been a WSU hallmark.

We are well positioned to continue delivering world class education and conducting life-changing research while keeping our communities safe throughout the fall semester. Our students are receiving great support from faculty and staff, including assistance with grants, computer loans, mental health services, tutoring, and dedicated instruction. We will continue to be flexible and support each other as we face the uncertainty of the months ahead.

It is an odd time to have moved across the country and be joining a new institution, but I want to thank you all for the warm welcome I have received. Even after only a few weeks on the job I feel like a Coug through and through. I always welcome your questions, suggestions, and comments at provost@wsu.edu. I look forward to working with you to advance WSU.

Go Cougs!


Elizabeth Chilton
Provost and Executive Vice President
Professor, Department of Anthropology
Washington State University