Washington University launches search for next chancellor

Committee appointed, will seek input from university community

Washington University in St. Louis has formally launched its search for a successor for Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton, who announced last month his intention to conclude his term no later than June 30, 2019. Wrighton has served in the role for 22 years.

Mark Wrighton

The new chancellor will be selected by the university’s Board of Trustees, with assistance from a newly appointed, 20-member search committee. The committee, which will be chaired by Craig D. Schnuck, chair of the university’s Board of Trustees and chairman emeritus of Schnuck Markets Inc., will dedicate itself to identifying the absolute best candidates in higher education, based on criteria to be determined with significant input from members of the university community.

“The role of chancellor is a defining one for the university,” Schnuck said. “It is absolutely critical that our community — students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends — has a voice in determining the qualities this person should possess. We are committed to listening and learning throughout the process, and will seek candid and substantive feedback all along the way.”

As an important first step in soliciting that input, the committee will hold a series of “listening sessions” on the Danforth and Medical campuses this fall through the early part of 2018, with opportunities for students, faculty and staff to attend. The committee also will be reaching out to alumni throughout the country.

In addition to the search committee, the Board of Trustees also has enlisted the assistance of the leadership recruitment firm Isaacson, Miller, which has a long tradition of working with colleges and universities to identify talent for top administrative positions. In addition to assisting Washington University with past searches, its clients in recent decades also have included Brown University; Dartmouth College; Duke University; the University of California, Berkeley; and the University of Pennsylvania.

Although it is early in the process, the committee is ready to welcome nominations of potential candidates and input from the university community. Any member of the university community may submit nominations, comments, ideas and/or suggestions. Isaacson, Miller will manage the logistics of this process for the committee and may be contacted by email at: WUSTLChancellor@imsearch.com; by calling 617-262-6500 or faxing 617-986-7101; or by mail at: Isaacson, Miller; 263 Summer St., 7th floor; Boston, Mass., 02210. All suggestions will be taken into consideration by the committee and will remain confidential.

The search committee is tasked with an exceptional challenge, Schnuck said.

“Mark Wrighton has served Washington University with great wisdom, passion and integrity for more than two decades. The next chancellor must possess not only the knowledge and experience required to succeed in such a role, but also the strength of character to confidently take the helm from such a capable leader.

“I am very grateful to the committee members, who each bring an important perspective to the group. We are fortunate to have an outstanding team of individuals who care deeply about the university and are firmly committed to finding the best possible candidate to fill this critical position,” Schnuck said. “While our search will be global in scope, our process will be grounded within the values of the university community, upon which we will rely for insight and guidance. Together, I know we will identify the most talented leader in higher education to serve as our next chancellor.”

In addition to Schnuck, the committee members are:

F. Gilbert Bickell III (BSBA ’66), university trustee, past chair of the university’s Alumni Board of Governors, and senior vice president for Wells Fargo Advisors;

Maxine Clark, university trustee, founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop, and CEO of the Clark-Fox Foundation;

Douglas Dowd, professor of art and chair of the Faculty Senate Council;

John P. Dubinsky (AB’65, MBA ’67), university trustee, and president and CEO of Westmoreland Associates;

Victoria J. Fraser, MD, the Adolphus Busch Professor of Medicine and chair of the Department of Medicine;

Thomas J. Hillman (AB ’78), university trustee, founder and general partner of FTL Capital Partners LLC, and general partner at Lewis & Clark Ventures;

Catherine Hoyt, graduate student representative to the Board of Trustees;

Donald A. Jubel (BMSE ’73), university trustee and president and CEO of Spartan Light Metal Products;

Amy B. Kweskin, vice chancellor for finance;

Timothy D. McBride, professor of public health and secretary of the Faculty Senate Council;

• Susan B. McCollum, chairman and chief executive officer of Major Brands Inc., a member of the Board of Trustees and a 2015 graduate of the School of Law (added to committee Nov. 29);

Samuel Messenger, undergraduate student;

Andrew E. Newman, university trustee and chairman of Hackett Security Inc.;

David H. Perlmutter, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs, dean of the School of Medicine, and the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor;

• Empress Sanders, assistant dean in the School of Engineering & Applied Science and former chair of the Danforth Staff Council (added to committee Nov. 29);

Barbara A. Schaal, dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences and the Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor;

Barbara Schaps Thomas (AB ’76), university trustee and retired senior vice president and chief financial officer for HBO Sports;

Nancy Staudt, dean of the School of Law and the Howard and Caroline Cayne Professor of Law;

Lawrence E. Thomas (BSBA ’77), university trustee and partner at Edward Jones; and

Editor’s note: This story has been updated on two occasions to reflect changes to  the search committee, which has added three members and deleted two who were unable to serve.

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