Trustees meet, discuss entrepreneurship and innovation, elect new trustee

Chancellor also gives updates on admissions, construction projects

At the December meeting of the Washington University Board of Trustees Dec. 1 and 2, trustees discussed the university’s innovation and entrepreneurial focus and programs, according to Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton.

The board also elected a new trustee. Robert W. Frick, former vice chairman of the board of Bank of America and currently actively involved with young entrepreneurial companies in the San Francisco Bay Area, was elected as a new Ethan A.H. Shepley Trustee for a four-year term ending December 2015.

Following a presentation by Wrighton, “Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Washington University: Creating a Path to Economic Prosperity and Enhanced Quality of Life,” the trustees broke into six small group discussions around the following topics: research and economic benefits; social entrepreneurship; innovation and entrepreneurship in fulfilling the educational mission; policy framework for technology transfer; WUSTL’s role in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in St. Louis; and strategic recruiting of faculty and students.

In his report to the trustees, Wrighton noted that applications for the fall 2012 freshman class continue to arrive in great numbers. The application deadline is Jan. 15, and the application count is currently behind last year’s record-setting pace. The admissions office is in the middle of its early-decision application review and plans to mail decision letters soon. A more complete update will be given at the March board meeting, after all applications have been reviewed.

Wrighton gave an update on construction projects on both the Danforth and Medical campuses, beginning with the recent announcement of lead gifts totaling $25 million by two of WUSTL’s most dedicated benefactors that will support the Olin Business School and its plans for two new innovative facilities for graduate education. The gifts — $10 million from George and Carol Bauer through the Bauer Foundation and $15 million from Charles F. and Joanne Knight — will take Olin into its second century.

He also noted that the complete interior renovation of Umrath Hall is on track for a May 2012 completion.

On the Medical Campus, work continues at the BJC Institute of Health at Washington University. The 11th floor is under construction for the Center for Musculoskeletal Research and scheduled for completion this month. The 10th floor is in the construction phase for expansion of the Center for Women’s Reproductive Sciences Research.

The planned expansion of the Genome Data Center, funded in large part by an ARRA stimulus fund grant, is under way and scheduled for completion by next summer. The new South County Siteman Cancer Center location will be complete by early 2013.

Wrighton told the trustees about a number of recent announcements, rankings and awards:

  • Olin Business School has been selected as the inaugural winner of the MBA Roundtable Innovator Award for its Critical Thinking@Olin initiative, designed to develop critical thinking skills in MBA students. WUSTL was presented with the award at the MBA Roundtable’s seventh annual curricular innovation symposium Nov. 17 and 18 in Seattle.
  • The Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design, part of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, has been ranked fourth in the nation, according to DesignIntelligence, which publishes an annual guide, America’s Best Architecture and Design Schools.
  • Washington University was named one of the top producers of U.S. Fulbright students, based on outcomes of the 2011-12 competition. The complete list of top-producing colleges and universities was recently published in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Philanthropy activities by faculty, staff and students are alive and well on campus this year, Wrighton noted. The student-run Dance Marathon had a record number of student dancers — nearly 1,400 — and this year’s space-themed event raised $150,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network.

In addition, thanks to generous faculty, staff and retirees, the WUSTL community has raised more than $686,000 in its United Way of Greater St. Louis campaign, surpassing the university’s stated goal of $650,000.

The WUSTL Bears had a number of successful fall sports seasons, Wrighton reported. Most notably, the women’s cross country team had four individuals earn All-America honors on its way to winning the program’s first NCAA Division III National Championship Nov. 19. The WUSTL men also had its highest finish in school history, placing third in the team standings. Head coach Jeff Stiles was named the Division III Women’s National Coach of the Year.

The volleyball team advanced to the Sweet 16 before falling to Carthage College 3-2 on Nov. 13. The Bears finished the season with a 34-2 overall record and had five student-athletes receive All-America accolades. The football team finished 6-4 and took back the Founders Cup by defeating archrival University of Chicago Nov. 12 in its season finale.

Although still early in the basketball season, Wrighton noted good starts for both teams and that women’s coach Nancy Fahey became the fastest women’s basketball coach in NCAA history to reach 600 career wins with a 62-52 victory over Hendrix College Nov. 26 at the WU Field House. Fahey reached the 600-win milestone in just her 706th career game at WUSTL.

Wrighton invited trustees to two athletic events happening on campus over the weekend. The men’s and women’s basketball teams host the 28th Annual Lopata Classic and 11th Annual McWilliams Classic on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2 and 3, at the WU Field House.

Wrighton also noted that the club water polo team won the national Division III club championship in its first trip to the title game. Daniel Conner, student representative to the board, is the team’s coach.

In addition, the board heard reports from the following standing committees: development, educational policy, nominating and governance, university finance, and the Alumni Board of Governors.

Robert W. Frick

Following a successful 24-year career with Bank of America, during which time he was named the bank’s youngest vice president in 1968 and rose to executive vice president, chief financial officer, vice chairman of the board and head of the world banking division, Robert Frick went on to several other careers, including developing affordable housing, teaching, and venture capital investing.

He and his wife, Barbara, created KES Management Co., a successful real estate development and property management firm specializing in quality housing for low- to moderate-income residents in ethnically diverse neighborhoods. They provided many amenities for these residents, including Head Start, tutoring, English as a second language classes, subsidized meals and recreation programs.

Frick graduated from WUSTL in 1960 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and earned a master’s of business administration degree from Olin Business School two years later.

He is an adjunct professor of business strategy in the executive MBA program at St. Mary’s College of California, a liberal arts institution in Moraga, Calif., near San Francisco.

He serves as a director of six corporations, including Lucasfilm Ltd., Charles Schwab Bank and Responsys Inc., in addition to the Habitat for Humanity affiliate in his region. In 2008, he rode his bicycle 3,300 miles from California to Florida to raise awareness and money for Habitat for Humanity.

At WUSTL, he serves on the executive committee of the Eliot Society as membership chair, is a member of the Olin Business School National Council, and chairs the San Francisco Area Eliot Society Membership Committee. He has served on the San Francisco Regional Cabinet and the Regional Campaign Committee. He was honored in November 2011 at Founders Day with the Distinguished Alumni Award, and the Olin School honored him with a Distinguished Alumni Award in 1988.

In 2004, the Fricks established the Robert and Barbara Frick Professorship in Business Strategy at the Olin School, and they are patrons and life benefactors of the Eliot Society.