Four trustees elected to board at meeting

George W. Couch III, Hugh Grant, James V. O’Donnell and Steven N. Rappaport were elected to the University’s Board of Trustees at its May 5 meeting. Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton made the announcement.

Couch is chairman, president and chief executive officer of Couch Distributing Co. Inc. in Watsonville, Calif.; Grant is chairman, president and CEO of Monsanto Co. in St. Louis; O’Donnell is president and CEO of Bush O’Donnell and Co. Inc. of St. Louis; and Rappaport is a partner with RZ Capital LLC of New York.

Re-elected as officers of the board were David W. Kemper as chairman and John F. McDonnell and Stephen F. Brauer as vice chairmen.

Kemper is chairman, president and CEO of Commerce Bancshares Inc.; McDonnell is retired chairman of the board of the McDonnell Douglas Corp.; Brauer is CEO of Hunter Engineering.

In his report to the trustees, Wrighton discussed a University-wide comprehensive strategic planning process that involves each of the schools and their national councils.

Among the themes that are expected to emerge from the planning process involve graduate and professional programs, enhancement of undergraduate education, diversity and gender balance, community relations, BioMed21, entrepreneurship, aging, environment and energy, a comprehensive physical development plan, international relationships, and career services.

The chancellor also briefed the trustees on the activities surrounding the dedication of the Danforth Campus Sept. 17. The theme of the renaming celebration will be “A Higher Sense of Purpose” and will feature a key-note address by Harold Shapiro, former president of Princeton University.

The campus is being named in honor of Chancellor Emeritus William H. Danforth, the late Elizabeth “Ibby” Gray Danforth, the Danforth family and the Danforth Foundation.

In other remarks, Wrighton noted that the University received the largest number of applications in its history — more than 22,250 — and that the fall freshman class will be exceptionally qualified. He also noted that the University was named as one of the three best places to work in the St. Louis region and that the University is providing all qualifying faculty, students and staff, as well as all qualifying workers from contract service suppliers, with all-points MetroBus and MetroLink passes.

Wrighton announced the following:

• The McDonnell International Scholars Academy now has 10 corporate sponsors and 15 partner universities selected from among the very finest academic institutions in Asia, the academy’s ambassadors to these institutions have been named, and the first class of McDonnell International Scholars will enroll this fall.

• The Siteman Cancer Center was accepted into the National Comprehensive Cancer Network — an alliance of the world’s leading cancer centers.

• John Major, former prime minister of the United Kingdom, will be Commencement speaker. James W. Davis, Ph.D., professor emeritus of political science in Arts & Sciences and the founding director of the Gephardt Institute, will serve as honorary grand marshal.

• The baseball (34-5), softball (33-5), men’s tennis (18-2), women’s tennis (14-8) and track and field teams have all produced extraordinary showings this spring, in many cases setting team win-loss records. NCAA Division III playoffs are under way with all University spring season teams invited to participate.

The trustees heard a detailed report from John H. Biggs on the oversight and management of the University endowment. Biggs is chair of the board’s investments committee.

Reports were also received from the following committees: nominating, compensation, development, educational policy, honorary degrees, medical finance, University finance, audit and the Alumni Board of Governors.

Reviews of the 2005-06 academic year were presented by the undergraduate student representatives: Jeffrey Marlow (Arts & Sciences) and Aaron Mertz (Arts & Sciences), by graduate and professional student Sasha Polonsky (law), and on behalf of the faculty by Linda J. Pike, Ph.D., associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics in the School of Medicine.

Since 1973, Couch has served as chairman, president and CEO of Couch Distributing Co., a wholesale beverage distributor in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties of California. He also serves as a director of Triad Broadcasting Co., which owns and operates 49 radio stations in eight U.S. markets.

He is a 1971 graduate of the Harvard Business School and earned an undergraduate degree in economics from Stanford University. He has been an active member of the national council for the WUSTL School of Medicine for seven years and is a 1990 recipient of the University’s Robert F. Brookings award.

He received the School of Medicine’s Second Century Award in 2004.

Since 2003, Grant has served as president and chief executive officer of Monsanto Co. A native of Scotland, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Glasgow University and a postgraduate degree from Edinburgh University, as well as an M.B.A. from the International Management Centre in the United Kingdom.

He joined Monsanto in 1981, first in European sales, and then in 1991 was promoted to global strategy director of the agriculture division.

In 1995, he became Monsanto’s managing director for the Asia-Pacific region; in 1998 he was named co-president of the company’s agriculture division; in 2000 he became the company’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.

In 1958, O’Donnell co-founded Bush O’Donnell and Co., a St. Louis-based financial services holding company. He earned both undergraduate and M.B.A. degrees from Washington University and has been an active alumnus. He is a 1989 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award, a 1997 recipient of the Olin School of Business’ Distinguished Business Alumni Award and a 2005 recipient of the Dean’s Medal from the Olin School. He is an adjunct lecturer in finance at the Olin School.

He previously served on the University’s Board of Trustees from 1996-2000. O’Donnell also serves as chairman of Exegy Inc., a startup technology company founded to commercialize field-programmable gate array technologies developed at the University’s School of Engineering & Applied Science.

Prior to co-founding Bush O’Donnell, he worked in the St. Louis office of Goldman, Sachs and Co. for 13 years.

Rappaport, a 1974 graduate of the University’s School of Law, is a partner of RZ Capital LLC, a private-equity investment firm that also provides administrative duties for a limited number of clients. After graduating from the WUSTL law school, he earned a second law degree in 1980 from New York University.

He served as an associate and then partner at Hartman & Craven, a New York City general-practice law firm. He then held leadership roles in several companies, including Telerate Inc., Metallurg Inc., Shieldalloy Corp., and then was president of Loanete, an online real-time accounting service used by brokers and institutions in support of domestic and international securities borrowing and lending activities.

He has been an active supporter of WUSTL, serving on the New York council and the School of Law’s national council. His wife, Judith A. Garson, is a 1975 graduate of the School of Law. Their son, Peter, is now completing his senior year at the University.