Trustees name William Shearer new board member

At its winter meeting of Friday, Dec. 7, the Board of Trustees elected William T. Shearer, M.D./Ph.D., as a board member, according to Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. Shearer is professor of pediatrics and immunology at Baylor College of Medicine, chief of the allergy and immunology service at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and a 1970 graduate of the Washington University School of Medicine.

The trustees heard presentations on the strategic plans for two Washington University schools — the George Warren Brown School of Social Work and the Washington University School of Law. The strategic planning process, known as the “Plan for Excellence,” is a University-wide effort that will involve reports from all schools of the institution during the next 12 months.

Presenting the George Warren Brown School of Social Work plan was Trustee B.A. Bridgewater Jr., retired chairman, president and CEO of Brown Shoe Co. Inc. Co-presenter was Edward F. Lawlor, Ph.D., dean of the Brown School. The Washington University School of Law plan was presented by past trustee and Law National Council Chairman Ned O. Lemkemeier, partner at Bryan Cave LLP. Co-presenting was the law dean, Kent D. Syverud, J.D.

In his report to the trustees, Chancellor Wrighton reviewed the University’s successful invitation to host a debate from the Commission on Presidential Debates. For the fifth presidential election in a row, the University was once again selected, this time to host the vice presidential debate at 8 p.m. Oct. 2, 2008, in the Washington University Athletic Complex Field House. He noted that hosting debates has become one of Washington University’s great traditions and that it continues to be highly popular with students, faculty, alumni and the St. Louis community.

He also gave construction updates on Harry and Susan Seigle Hall for social sciences and law and for the William H. and Elizabeth Gray Danforth University Center — both of which will be completed in summer 2008. He also noted that construction proceeds on schedule for Village East Residence Hall at the corner of Forest Park Parkway and Throop Drive, also scheduled to open in summer 2008.

Wrighton gave construction updates on three major facilities — the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital Outpatient Orthopedic Center in Chesterfield, Mo., the official opening of the 560 Music Center on Trinity Avenue in University City, and the groundbreaking for the BJC Institute of Health at Washington University. The BJC Institute will be a 700,000-square-foot, 11-story building, and is the largest ever constructed on the School of Medicine Campus. It is supported by a $30 million gift from BJC HealthCare. The Institute will house five BioMed21 labs and two School of Medicine academic departments.

Wrighton said efforts to recruit the undergraduate class of 2012 are well under way and we already have a large and strong applicant pool. He cited the national NCAA Div. III Championship won by the women’s volleyball team, defeating the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. This is the ninth time Washington U. has won the national championship. He also congratulated men’s soccer and women’s soccer for making their elite eight and the sweet sixteen NCAA rounds, respectively.

The trustees received reports from the following standing committees: development, educational policy, nominating, university finance, research-graduate affairs, undergraduate life, audit and the Alumni Board of Governors. In addition, the board voted to grant 740 degrees on Dec. 20, 2007.

The meeting adjourned at 3 p.m.

About William T. Shearer, M.D./Ph.D.

William T. Shearer joined the Baylor College of Medicine in 1978, after serving for four years on the faculty of Washington University in St. Louis. As professor of pediatrics and immunology and chief of the allergy and immunology service at Texas Children’s Hospital, he has received national acclaim as a clinician and researcher.

Shearer has been active professionally, serving as director and chair of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology from 1990-95, director of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology from 1999-2002, and chair of the academy’s Clinical and Laboratory Immunology Committee. He also has served as president of the Clinical Immunology Society for 2001-02 and served as editor of the 5th edition of the Primer on Allergic and Immunologic Diseases.

Shearer directs the David Center at Texas Children’s Hospital, which was established in 1984 and named after the Houston “Bubble Boy” who had severe combined immunodeficiency. The David Center treats children with all forms of congenital immunodeficiency from all over the world and offers them hope through translational research, including bone marrow stem cell therapy.

In 2005 he received the Arnold J. Rudolph Baylor Pediatric Award for Lifetime Excellence in Teaching. Shearer’s work focuses on immune pathogenesis of HIV infection, and he directs the Pediatric HIV/AIDS Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital.

In 2000, Washington University conferred its Alumni Achievement Award on Shearer for his international leadership on research and clinical care. Shearer serves on the School of Medicine’s National Council.