After serving 20 years in the Washington state Legislature, former Sen. Lisa Brown will take on a new role as chancellor at WSU-Spokane in January.
Brown will continue work on health sciences education and research initiative to develop the medical program at WSU Spokane’s Riverpoint Campus.
“The Riverpoint Campus is a multi-university effort that will be an innovative model for educating health professionals,” Brown said.
She said her vision for the future of WSU-Spokane includes a campus with a thriving culture and academics that contribute to Spokane’s future.
In addition to serving as a leader on campus, Brown said she sees herself as an advocate for higher education across the state.
Brown holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Colorado and has remained involved in higher education during her time in the Legislature teaching at the Eastern Washington and Gonzaga universities.
Leaving the Legislature is bittersweet for Brown.
“I will certainly miss Olympia and the legislative environment,” she said. “I had the opportunity to work with a lot of great people, both members and staff.”
Brown said the skills she learned in the Legislature will help her serve in her new role.
“The legislative environment is dynamic and there is always something to learn,” she said. “There is conflict and ups and downs. You have to build personal relationships and learn to communicate well and search for common ground.”
After serving two terms in the state House of Representatives, Brown was elected to the Senate in 1996 and appointed chair of the Ways and Means Committee during her first term. She then became the leader of the Senate Democrats in 2003, serving as the minority leader from 2003 to 2005. Brown was the first Democratic woman in the state to serve as Senate majority leader from 2005 to this year.
Despite her departure from the Senate, Brown said she has not abandoned her political career. She currently serves on Governor-elect Jay Inslee’s transition team along with WSU President Elson S. Floyd.
Brown will replace current chancellor Brian Pitcher, who served eight years during a time of growth and development for the campus. Pitcher will continue as a leader for the university, shifting to an internal role as vice-chancellor for operations.
Pitcher said the future of WSU-Spokane will bring economic development opportunities to Eastern Washington and to scientists in the field.
“Brown brings a deep knowledge and commitment to the development of WSU Spokane and will do a perfect job representing WSU within the community and nationally,” Pitcher said.