Chancellor Wrighton to retire

  • October 6, 2017
  • By WashU Olin Business School
  • 3 minute read

Washington University Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton has announced that he will retire after the University conducts a national search for his successor.

An email message from the Chancellor to the University community on Oct. 6, stated:

“Today, during our October meeting, I shared with the university’s Board of Trustees my intention to transition out of the chancellorship after completion of our Leading Together campaign. It is an honor to serve the university and I am very proud of what we have accomplished together over the past 22 years.”

“With so much to do and so much opportunity ahead of us, we will not be slowing down. I am determined to maintain our momentum. Most importantly, I want to ensure the final nine months of the campaign are successful. But, this is an appropriate time to begin to plan for my transition and I wanted to share the news with all of you who are part of a very special community….”

“I am grateful for the privilege of being your chancellor and look forward to this next phase of our work.”

The email also contained Wrighton’s statement to the board and a link to the official announcement from the University. It states that Wrighton will “conclude his term as Chancellor, effective no later than July 1, 2019.”

Wrighton was inaugurated as chancellor Oct. 6, 1995, 22 years ago today. WashU’s The Source published a tour of the Chancellor’s office today on its website.

University accomplishments during Chancellor Wrighton’s tenure include a more than two-fold increase in undergraduate applications, more than 300 new endowed professorships for faculty, a redesigned Arts & Sciences curriculum, newly created programs in biomedical engineering, public health, American culture studies, and completion of more than 50 new buildings for Arts & Sciences, business, design and visual arts, engineering, law, medicine, social work and residential life.

Two major, multiyear fundraising initiatives were conducted during Chancellor Wrighton’s tenure. In 1998 the university publicly launched a billion-dollar campaign to build resources for student scholarships, professorships, other endowed program support and new buildings. The campaign continued through 2004, surpassed its goal, and raised more than $1.55 billion.

The current capital campaign – Leading Together: The Campaign for Washington University – will build on the university’s strong history and further evolve its global leadership by focusing on strengthening the university’s impact in four key areas: preparing the leaders of tomorrow, advancing human health, inspiring innovation and entrepreneurship, and enhancing the quality of life. The Leading Together Campaign was publicly launched in October 2012 and will conclude in June 2018. The Campaign has already exceeded its $2.5 billion goal with more than $2.7 billion realized.

Born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1949, Wrighton earned his BS degree with honors in chemistry from Florida State University in 1969. While at Florida State, he studied under Professor Jack Saltiel and upon graduation received the Monsanto Chemistry Award for outstanding research. He did his graduate work at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) under Professors Harry B. Gray and George S. Hammond, receiving his PhD there in 1972. His doctoral dissertation was on “Photoprocesses in Metal-Containing Molecules.” Based on his research accomplishments, Wrighton was named the first recipient of the Herbert Newby McCoy Award at Caltech.

Wrighton started his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1972 as assistant professor of chemistry. He was appointed associate professor in 1976 and professor in 1977. From 1981 until 1989 he held the Frederick G. Keyes Chair in Chemistry. In 1989 he was appointed the first holder of the Ciba-Geigy Chair in Chemistry. He was Head of the Department of Chemistry from 1987-90 and became Provost of MIT in 1990, a post he held until the summer of 1995.

Link to complete bio.

Photo credit: The Source, WUSTL photos

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