A message from Chancellor Wrighton


Next week marks the one-year anniversary of events in Ferguson that have since reverberated across the entire St. Louis community and the nation. The tragedy in Ferguson and subsequent events across the country have affected all and raised consciousness to major challenges that must be met. This special issue of the Record includes perspectives and updates intended to give us the opportunity not only to look back, but also to learn, engage and think about the road ahead.

As a leading research university, Washington University has a continuing role in contributing to a stronger St. Louis region and university community. The one-year anniversary of the tragedy in Ferguson is a reminder that our work to strengthen both is not done, and we must sustain our efforts to become more inclusive on our own campuses and to overcome health disparities, uneven educational opportunities, and lack of economic opportunity for many in our extended community.

Within the university we have undertaken efforts to engage in honest dialogue about race, ethnicity, inequality and social justice. These efforts must continue, because there is still a need to fully understand the issues that impact us and divide our nation and to find the best approaches to addressing them.

At the same time, it is important to remember that addressing the issues we face as a nation is not just an “academic” exercise. We must step out and engage our community through ongoing and new initiatives such as our College Prep Program, programs of the Gephardt Institute, efforts to create new jobs through our programs in innovation and entrepreneurship, and our public health initiatives to overcome health disparities. Many faculty, students and staff have already taken leadership roles in helping the university to become more engaged and effective in fulfilling its mission at this critical time.

A new academic year is beginning later this month. It is a time of refreshment and anticipation as we welcome a new group of talented students who join this remarkable university family. Let us take this time before we begin our new year to remind ourselves why we renewed our commitment to strengthening and engaging, and to recognize that we still have a long way to go. This special issue of the Record should stimulate new thought and action. I hope you will join me as we continue the important work that remains before us.

Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton