PULLMAN, Wash. – The Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University received preliminary accreditation on Wednesday, university officials said Wednesday.

The accreditation will allow the college to stay on track to enroll its inaugural class of students in August 2017.

“This is a significant moment in Washington State University’s 126-year history,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz. “It puts us one step closer to educating physicians who will practice in Washington’s undeserved communities and furthers the university’s land-grant mission to serve the needs of the state.”

The dean noted that the medical school will recruit talented students from rural and medically underserved communities, first-generation professional students and those with a passion to serve and lead in medical care.

The accreditation will kicks things into high gear now, most notably with WSU hiring at least 40 new employees between now and Summer 2017.

University officials said the goal has always been to serve Eastern Washington's under-served rural communities. Achieving preliminary accreditation is not easy, as inspectors have spent the last few months ensuring WSU has the right facility, funding, and staffing. Officials said not everyone gets that preliminary accreditation on their first try, making this significant.

When students were asked what Dr. Floyd would say about this preliminary accreditation one said Dr. Floyd would have been very proud. The dean of the College of Medicine, Dr. John Tomkowiak, echoed those sentiments.

"I think Dr. Floyd would say, 'You've done a great job. You've done it in Elson time. But there's a lot of work to do. I'm very proud of you. Keep up the great work, and I expect great things to come'," Dr. Tomkowiak said.

So the next step is to start recruiting students for that inaugural class. The school will then submit its application to become part of the Association of American Medical Colleges, and once that happens, they plan to begin accepting applications.

The Floyd College of Medicine is the second public medical school in the state. It is the first to be added in 70 years. The accreditation comes 19 months after Governor Jay Inslee signed the bill that changed the law to allow WSU to offer medical education.

“On behalf of everyone at Gonzaga University, congratulations to our colleagues at Washington State University on receiving preliminary accreditation for the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine,” said Thayne M. McCulloh, President of Gonzaga University.

Students will receive medical education across four of the WSU campuses, including Everett, Spokane, Tri-Cities and Vancouver.

According to a news release, the University will work to achieve membership to the Association of American medical College throughout the next week. This will provide access to the American College Application Service. Upon gaining membership, the College of Medicine will begin accepting applications in early November.