Trustees meet, dedicate Preston M. Green Hall

At its fall meeting Sept. 23, the Board of Trustees heard a number of presentations by top university officials, including a report on the Washington University endowment by Kimberly G. Walker, chief investment officer; a student housing and off-campus development planning update from Executive Vice Chancellor Henry S. Webber; and a presentation on the new Preston M. Green Hall by Ralph S. Quatrano, PhD, dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Science and the Spencer T. Olin Professor.

The trustees also presented a resolution for long-serving vice chancellor for public affairs, M. Fredric Volkmann, who is retiring after 31 years of leadership service to the university; and held a moment of silence and presented a memorial resolution for James E. McLeod, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and vice chancellor for students, who passed away Sept. 6.

Following the meeting, trustees attended a symposium, “Challenges & Opportunities in Engineering Education & Research,” held in conjunction with the dedication of the new Preston M. Green Hall for the School of Engineering & Applied Science. The symposium featured presentations by National Science Foundation Director Subra Suresh, DSc; Dennis Muilenburg, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Defense, Space & Security and a member of WUSTL’s Board of Trustees; and P.R. Kumar, DSc, professor and College of Engineering chair in computer engineering at Texas A&M University and a WUSTL alumnus.

Following the symposium, Preston M. Green Hall was dedicated, and the keynote speaker for the ceremony was Charles M. Vest, PhD, president of the National Academy of Engineering and president emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In his report to the Board of Trustees, Wrighton said that members of the fall 2011 freshman class of just under 1,500 students moved in Aug. 25 with a variety of activities for the students and their families, and have already made a good transition to campus life, thanks to the dedication of the orientation team. He noted that more than 1,200 members of the class participated in this year’s 13th annual Service First event, working at 12 St. Louis-area schools.

Wrighton noted that this year’s class, selected from nearly 29,000 applicants, hails from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and 21 countries. He added that nearly 40 percent are multicultural or international students, and that the class is evenly made up of male and female students.

Chancellor Wrighton made special note that, on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorists attacks of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the university community gathered in Edison Theatre for “Ten Years Later,” a program of reflection, music and speeches about what the legacy of 9/11 means for this generation of college students.

Additionally, there was a panel discussion in which he participated with other faculty and staff who were at the university on 9/11, moderated by Randall Calvert, PhD, professor of public affairs and political science and director of American Culture Studies, both in Arts & Sciences. The event inaugurated “Remembering 9/11,” a multifaceted cultural archives project that will become part of the American Lives digital initiative.

Wrighton gave an update on construction projects on both the Danforth and Medical campuses, including the ongoing, extensive renovation to Umrath Hall — an original Cope and Stewardson building — which includes the removal and replacement of the roof, interior walls and floor systems. When completed in May 2012, the building will house various Arts & Sciences and Central Fiscal Unit centers, including the Danforth Center on Religion & Politics, the Center for the Humanities and the Center for Integrated Research on Cognition, Learning and Education.

Wrighton noted that the College of Arts & Sciences moved its offices over the summer to the first floor of the newly renovated Cupples II Hall, which is slated to receive LEED Silver certification. In addition, the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and the Office of Undergraduate Research have new homes in Cupples II.

He also reported on the completed construction of the dual bicycle path and pedestrian lane along Forsyth Boulevard from Hoyt Drive to Wallace Drive — a segment of Centennial Greenway that will eventually extend from Forest Park to Creve Coeur Park. He also noted renovations to Mallinckrodt Center, including a completely renovated campus bookstore, an enhanced south entrance and three new classrooms.

On the School of Medicine campus, Wrighton said that construction continues on the 11th floor of the BJC Institute of Health, in preparation for the Center for Musculoskeletal Research.

Wrighton reported on two recent accolades received by the university. The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) has given Washington University its 2011 award for best overall performance in fundraising. CASE is one of the world’s largest and most respected nonprofit associations for professionals working in advancement and communications fields for educational institutions.

In the second recognition, the university has earned a silver rating in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education inaugural Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS) program. STARS is one of the first tools to attempt to holistically measure sustainability efforts on college campuses.

The university finished the fiscal year June 30 with excellent financial results, Wrighton told the trustees. Top-line revenue was about $2.2 billion, an increase of a $115 million from the year before. The total operating surplus was $123 million, compared to $149 million in the prior year. Endowment return was approximately 20.7 percent and, after spending 4.9 percent of current market value, the value of the endowment was $5.35 billion on June 30, 2011, representing an increase of almost $800 million over last year.

Wrighton made special note of several recent specialized rankings of the university and its programs, including U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of our undergraduate program as 14th best in the nation, as well as the fact that the university’s undergraduate and graduate programs in entrepreneurship have been recognized as among the top ten in the U.S. by Entrepreneur magazine.

Wrighton reported on the recent and upcoming installations of seven new, endowed professorships, and also noted that this year’s United Way campaign was in full swing with a university goal of raising $650,000.

Wrighton recognized the extraordinary accomplishments and national rankings of many of the university’s athletic teams early in the fall season, including the second-ranked and unbeaten volleyball team; the women’s and men’s cross country teams, ranked second and fourth respectively; the unbeaten men’s soccer team, ranked sixth; and the women’s golf team, ranked seventh.

In addition, the board heard reports from the following standing committees: development, educational policy, university finance, global engagement, medical finance, audit and the alumni board of governors.