Trustees meet, elect new board members and officers

Mark S. Wrighton

At its spring meeting, held Friday, May 4, the Board of Trustees at Washington University in St. Louis elected five new members, re-elected three members and also elected officers, among other actions, according to Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton.

The five new board members elected to four-year terms are:

  • Gaurav Garg, partner and founder, Wing Venture Partners, Menlo Park, Calif.;
  • Anna Manning, president and CEO, RGA Reinsurance Co., St. Louis;
  • Richard Ritholz, senior portfolio manager and managing director and head of global commodities trading, Elliott Management Corp., Short Hills, N.J.;
  • Robert Skandalaris, chairman and CEO, Quantum Ventures of Michigan LLC, Detroit; and
  • Henry Warshaw, president, CEO and co-founder, Virtual Realty Enterprises LLC, St. Louis.

Three trustees were re-elected for a second four-year term. They are:

  • Todd M. Bluedorn, chairman and CEO, Lennox International, Richardson, Texas;
  • Michael Powell, general partner, Sofinnova Ventures, Menlo Park, Calif.; and
  • Ronald L. Thompson, retired chairman of the board and CEO, Midwest Stamping Co., Holland, Ohio.

George W. Couch III, a former regular-term trustee, also was elected. Couch is founder, CEO and president of Couch Distributing Co. in Watsonville, Calif.

The board also elected three trustees emeriti. They are:

  • John F. Dains, CEO emeritus, Helm Financial Corp., San Francisco;
  • Ralph J. Nagel, president, Top Rock LLC, Denver; and
  • Robert O’Loughlin, chairman and CEO, Lodging Hospitality Management Corp.

In addition, the board elected its officers for 2018-19:

  • Craig D. Schnuck, chairman emeritus, St. Louis-based Schnuck Markets Inc., board chair;
  • Stephen F. Brauer, chairman, Hunter Engineering, vice chair; and
  • David W. Kemper, chairman and CEO, Commerce Bancshares Inc., vice chair.

Administrative transitions

In his report to the trustees, Wrighton noted a number of important administrative transitions and appointments.

James Wertsch, vice chancellor for international relations, director of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy and the David R. Francis Distinguished Professor in Arts & Sciences, will conclude his tenure as vice chancellor July 1 and his director role Dec. 31.

Kurt Dirks, the Bank of America Professor of Managerial Leadership and co-director of the Bauer Leadership Center at Olin Business School, will succeed Wertsch.

Other key new appointments are Benjamin Akande as senior adviser to the chancellor and director of the Africa initiative, a new effort to strengthen and expand the university’s efforts in Africa; II “Two” Luscri as managing director of the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship and assistant vice provost for innovation and entrepreneurship; and Michael Wysession, professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences, as executive director of the university’s Teaching Center, effective July 1.

Wrighton also noted the retirement of men’s basketball coach and alumnus Mark Edwards after 37 years, 685 wins, two national titles and dozens of coaching honors. Pat Juckem recently was named as Edwards’ successor. Juckem was head men’s basketball coach at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Wrighton reported that the Admissions Office is well on its way to enrolling a talented and diverse entering class, with strong representation of African-American and Latino students. The Class of 2022 will be socioeconomically diverse as well, with more than 14 percent eligible for Pell Grants.

Wrighton was pleased to inform the board that the track-and-field program captured both the men’s and women’s University Athletic Association (UAA) Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Pittsburgh April 29. The Bears combined for 18 event titles during the weekend and 44 all-UAA finishes.


Wrighton gave an update on construction projects on both campuses. The transformation of the east end of the Danforth Campus is coming along, with Jubel Hall the furthest. The concrete, structural steel and roof decking on Jubel is complete and stone work and window and interior installations will continue through the summer.

The green roof of the east end parking garage is being formed and the first segment has been poured. Demolition for expansion of the Kemper Art Museum will begin in early June. The foundation, elevator and walls for the Schnuck Pavilion and Sumers Welcome Center are under construction. Steel erection is beginning for Weil Hall, and design documents have been submitted for McKelvey Hall, which should be under construction in the summer.

University City has given approval for the construction of a replacement bridge over Forest Park Parkway, with work scheduled to begin May 21. January Hall renovations are underway and should be finished by August. The remodeled building is expected to garner LEED Gold certification.

Renovations to Bryan Hall and Olin Library are complete, and plans for the renovation of Compton and Crow halls are underway.

On the Medical Campus, the old Shriners Hospital, which is being repurposed as apartment-style housing, should be finished by early July. Upgrades planned for the Central West End MetroLink station are being reviewed by focus groups, and construction on the new Boyle/Cortex MetroLink station should be finished by June.

Faculty/student representatives

In addition to the chancellor’s report, the faculty representative to the board, Douglas Dowd, chair of the Faculty Senate Council and professor of art in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, and the outgoing student representatives to the board provided reviews of the year.

Seniors Peter G. Dissinger, in Olin Business School, and Megan G. Wolf, in Arts & Sciences, represented undergraduate students on the board. Catherine R. Hoyt, a PhD student in the Program in Occupational Therapy at the School of Medicine; and Ramin M. Lalezari, a dual-degree student completing an MD and an MBA, were the graduate student representatives.

Three new student representatives, who will begin their terms in the fall, were introduced to the board. They are rising senior Sam Messenger, who is majoring in economics in Arts & Sciences with a second major in finance in Olin Business School; Alex Reiter, a PhD student in mechanical engineering at the School of Engineering & Applied Science; and Ninecia Scott, a PhD student in the Division of Biology & Biomedical Sciences.

The fourth incoming student representative is rising senior Monica Sass, who is majoring in women, gender and sexuality studies, with a second major in educational studies and a minor in psychology, all in Arts & Sciences. Sass was unable to attend the meeting because she is studying in South Africa.

In addition, the trustees heard reports from the following standing committees: compensation, development, educational policy, global engagement, honorary degree, medical finance, nominating and governance, university finance and Alumni Board of Governors, and they received a written report from the audit committee.

Leave a Comment

Comments and respectful dialogue are encouraged, but content will be moderated. Please, no personal attacks, obscenity or profanity, selling of commercial products, or endorsements of political candidates or positions. We reserve the right to remove any inappropriate comments. We also cannot address individual medical concerns or provide medical advice in this forum.