In 1961 the presidents of the two state universities and three state colleges resolved to informally meet on a regular basis in order to develop a systematic agenda for their discussions and to assume the role of participants in a continuing Council of Presidents. COP also gave consideration to a variety of business, fiscal, and budgetary procedures which it was hoped would contribute to the efficiency of operation of the institutions and to the equity of the financial support received by them. The Council adopted as the means for confronting such matters the appointment of four interinstitutional committees: business officers (with seven subcommittees: architects and physical plant administrators; budget, accounting and reporting; housing officers; personnel officers; purchasing agents; retirement and insurance officers; and space analysts); credit hour cost analysis; student financial aids; and extension and continuing education.
In 1963 the Washington State Senate adopted Senate Resolution EX-14 in recognition of efforts already made by the institutions.
COP was formally established in 1967 as the Interinstitutional Office of Business Studies, with the first office location on the University of Washington campus in Seattle. When The Evergreen State College opened in 1969, the office relocated to Olympia to take advantage of the close proximity to state government.
In 1973 the name of the office was changed to the Office of State College and University Business Affairs to reflect the scope of responsibilities in which the staff was involved. The title of Office of the Council of State College and University Presidents – commonly known ever since as the Council of Presidents – was adopted in 1975 as broader issues of responsibility were assumed with respect to academic and legislative matters.
In 1981 the structure and purpose of COP was formalized in an interlocal cooperation agreement signed by all six presidents. In 1985 the office moved from the campus of The Evergreen State College to the northeast capital neighborhood in Olympia, where we presently reside.