Trustees elect Rainwater, Distler as new members

At its May 6 meeting, the University’s Board of Trustees elected two new members: Stephen Distler, retired partner, managing director and treasurer of Warburg Pincus & Co. of New York City; and Gary Rainwater, chairman & chief executive officer of Ameren Corp. The announcement was made by Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton.

David W. Kemper, chairman, president & CEO of Commerce Bancshares Inc., was re-elected as board chairman. Re-elected as vice chairmen were Stephen F. Brauer, CEO of Hunter Engineering; and John F. McDonnell, retired chairman of the board of McDonnell Douglas Corp.

In his remarks to the trustees, Wrighton noted that the upcoming freshman class for fall has been selected from the largest number of applicants in the University’s history — 21,500 — to fill a class of approximately 1,330 to 1,350 students. He indicated that this should be the academically strongest incoming class, as well.

Wrighton announced three new deans:

• For the Olin School of Business, Mahendra R. Gupta, Ph.D., the Geraldine J. and Robert L. Virgil Professor in Accounting and Management;

• For law, Kent D. Syverud, J.D., currently dean of the Vanderbilt University Law School; and

• For architecture, Jerome J. Sincoff, retired president and chief executive officer of Hellmuth, Obata Kassabaum.

Wrighton expressed appreciation to outgoing deans Stuart I. Greenbaum, Ph.D., of the Olin School; Joel Seligman, J.D., of law; and Cynthia Weese of architecture, who will complete their terms June 30.

Wrighton thanked Daniel L. Keating, J.D., the Tyrell Professor of Law, who has agreed to serve as law dean for six months until Syverud takes office Jan. 1. Wrighton also updated the trustees on the search for a dean of the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts.

He reviewed the University’s plans for the International Advisory Council for Asia meeting in October in both Shanghai and Beijing, China. Updates were provided on facilities, including the dedication of the Earth & Planetary Sciences Building, new student housing in the South 40, construction at the Sam Fox School and a new building under consideration for the social sciences and the School of Law.

He completed his remarks with praise for the Bears baseball team, which has completed one of its best seasons on record, and the No. 1-ranked softball team, which ended regular-season play with a 45-1 record.

The board approved the election of the University’s corporate officers, including the appointment of Richard A. Roloff as vice chancellor, reporting to Wrighton. Roloff was succeeded by John E. Klein in September after serving 13 years as executive vice chancellor.

In his new role, Roloff will be responsible for supporting the University’s involvement in the regional high-tech initiative called CORTEX — the Center of Research, Technology and Entre-preneurial Expertise — as well as University real estate development and capital projects.

The trustees approved a memorial resolution for the late Elizabeth “Ibby” Gray Danforth, first lady of WUSTL from 1971-1995. Three tribute resolutions were approved for Greenbaum, Seligman and Weese.

Presentations to the board included reviews of the year by undergraduate representatives Zachary Friedman and Teresa Sullivan, both Arts & Sciences seniors. Graduate- and professional-student representatives Christopher Goddard from the School of Law and Anna Terry from the School of Medicine also gave presentations.

Linda J. Pike, Ph.D., associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics in the School of Medicine, gave the faculty representative’s report.

The board approved the appointment of new student representatives to succeed the outgoing representatives. They are Jeff Marlow, Arts & Sciences Class of 2007, and Aaron F. Mertz, Arts & Sciences Class of 2006, as undergraduate representatives. The graduate representatives are Glynis Joseph from Arts & Sciences and Sasha Polonsky from the School of Law.

Trustees also received reports from the following committees: compensation, development, educational policy, honorary degree, Hilltop finance, medical finance, investments and audit. The Alumni Board of Governors report was given by J.J. Stupp.

About the new trustees

Distler is the recently retired managing director and treasurer of Warburg Pincus, where he specialized in education and training investments. Distler had been with the firm since 1984.

Warburg Pincus is a partner-owned investment firm with holdings in more than 180 companies in North and South America, Asia and Europe. It buys stakes in established firms as well as startups and engages in acquisitions and restructurings.

Distler is a parent of a freshman in Arts & Sciences, is a life member of the Eliot Society and is a member of the Danforth Circle in Arts & Sciences. He also serves as a member of the New York City/North New Jersey regional cabinet of WUSTL, the parent-capital resources committee and the University’s Parents Council.

His wife, Roxanne Kendall Distler, is a pediatrician. She also is a member of the WUSTL Parents Council and of the parent-capital resources committee.

Rainwater is chairman, president and chief executive officer of Ameren — a position he assumed Jan. 1, 2004, after serving as president and chief operating officer since 2001.

Ameren is a $13.5 billion asset energy company and parent of AmerenUE and several other companies serving 3.2 million customers in Missouri and Illinois.

Rainwater joined Union Electric Co. — now AmerenUE — in 1979 as an engineer in electric transmission and distribution. By 1993 he was elected vice president for corporate planning, and in 1997 he was named executive vice president of the Springfield, Ill.-based AmerenCIPS. Later that year, he was named president of the division.

Rainwater earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri and a master of systems management degree from the University of Southern California.

In 2000, he received the Missouri Honor Award for distinguished service from the University of Missouri College of Engineering. Three years later, the University of Missouri’s alumni association honored him with its alumni service award.