Washington University Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton will be honored as the 2007 Citizen of the Year during a ceremony at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 25, in Graham Chapel on the university’s Danforth Campus.
Mark S. Wrighton
Established in 1955, the Citizen of the Year award honors an individual who “best exemplifies an inspiring level of civic and industrial leadership to generate a spirit of conviction, purpose and confidence in the development of the greater St. Louis area.”
Wrighton was chosen by a committee of past winners of the annual award, which is sponsored and administered by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He was announced as the 2007 award recipient in the Jan. 6 issue of the newspaper.
Recipients are chosen from nominations submitted by members of the business community and the general public. A committee composed of former award recipients makes the final selection.
Wrighton was elected the 14th chancellor of Washington University in 1995 and serves as its chief executive officer. Under his leadership, the university has made significant progress in student quality, campus improvements, resource development, curriculum and international reputation. Since his arrival, Wrighton has been engaged in the St. Louis community, serving on numerous committees and boards and continuing to raise the university’s stature regionally, nationally and internationally.
University accomplishments during Wrighton’s tenure also include a more than two-fold increase in undergraduate applications, nearly 190 new endowed professorships for faculty, a redesigned Arts & Sciences curriculum, new programs in biomedical engineering and American culture studies, and completion of 30 new buildings, with several more either under construction or in planning.
Born in Jacksonville, Fla., in 1949, Wrighton graduated with a B.S. degree in chemistry with honors from Florida State University in 1969 and received the Monsanto Chemistry Award for outstanding research. He did his graduate work at the California Institute of Technology, receiving his Ph.D. in 1972.
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 to 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 1987-1990 and became provost of MIT in 1990, a post he held until 1995.
He is the author or co-author of several books and more than 300 articles published in scholarly journals, and he holds 14 patents. He has research interests in the areas of transition metal catalysis, photochemistry, surface chemistry, molecular electronics and photoprocesses at electrodes.
Wrighton was awarded a MacArthur Prize Fellowship in 1983. He was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1986) and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1988). In 2001, he was elected to membership in the American Philosophical Society. He was a presidential appointee to the National Science Board (2000-2006), which serves as science policy advisor to the President and Congress and is the primary advisory board of the National Science Foundation.
Wrighton currently serves as vice chair of the Committee on America’s Energy Future of the National Academy of Sciences. He is a member of the boards of directors of Brooks Automation; Cabot Corporation; the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center; the Nidus Center for Scientific Enterprise; and Universities Research Association. He also serves as a trustee of Barnes-Jewish Hospital; BJC Healthcare; Innovate St. Louis; the Saint Louis Art Museum; the St. Louis Science Center; the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra; and the United Way of Greater St. Louis. Wrighton is an ex officio member of the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association’s board of directors, the Missouri Botanical Garden and Civic Progress.
The 2006 Citizen of the Year award winner was David W. Kemper, chairman, president and CEO of Commerce Bancshares Inc. and chair of WUSTL’s Board of Trustees.
Past winners of the award also include WUSTL Chancellor Emeritus William H. Danforth; former U.S. Senators Thomas F. Eagleton and John Danforth; and Sam Fox, U.S. ambassador to Belgium, founder and former CEO of Harbour Group and lifetime member of the WUSTL Board of Trustees.