Washington University provost search moves forward

Crain to serve as interim provost; search committee formed

Washington University in St. Louis will begin a national search this summer for its next provost, according to Chancellor Andrew D. Martin. A ten-member committee will be tasked with finding a successor for Holden Thorp, who will conclude his term on July 15 after serving in the role since 2013.

Marion Crain, who holds a dual appointment as vice provost and the Wiley B. Rutledge Professor of Law at the School of Law, will serve as interim provost during the transition.


“We could not ask for a more capable, steady and trusted leader during this important time for the university,” Martin said of Crain, who also served as interim leader of University Libraries in 2016-17. “Marion Crain has again stepped up to lend her considerable expertise as an academic and administrator as we begin the careful work of selecting Washington University’s next provost. I can think of no one better suited for this role, and I am grateful to her for her commitment and loyalty to the university.”

Crain, who also holds academic appointments in the Brown School and in the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in Arts & Sciences, has been a member of the Washington University faculty since 2008. Her current administrative duties in the Office of the Provost include oversight of initiatives designed to stimulate and facilitate interdisciplinary teaching, including the “Bring Your Own Idea” program and the “Beyond Boundaries” cross-school teaching grant program. She serves as liaison between the provost’s office and several universitywide academic centers and institutes, including the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics, the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement and the Institute for Public Health.

Crain’s scholarly interests include labor and employment law and family law, and she teaches seminars on class inequality and social movements. Her research focuses on the relationship between gender, work and class status, with a particular emphasis on collective action. A graduate of Cornell University, she earned her juris doctor, order of the coif, from the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law.

“It is an honor to be called upon to serve as interim provost, and I look forward to temporarily filling this role while the search for a permanent leader is underway,” Crain said. “The search committee has a significant task ahead and I wish them all the best as they embark on this challenge. I have no doubt they will be successful in finding the ideal candidate to lead the university’s academic enterprise.”

The search committee, which will be chaired by Martin, will begin its work in July. Members include:

  • Eva Aagaard, MD, the Carol B. and Jerome T. Loeb Professor of Medical Education, School of Medicine
  • Emily Boyd, teaching professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, McKelvey School of Engineering
  • Andrew Bursky, AB/BS/MS ’78, co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer, Atlas Holdings LLC
  • Jeffrey Catalano, professor of earth and planetary sciences, Arts & Sciences
  • Hedwig Lee, professor of sociology, Arts & Sciences
  • Mary McKay, the Neidorff Family and Centene Corporation Dean, Brown School
  • Eric Mumford, the Rebecca & John Voyles Professor of Architecture, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts
  • Leila Sadat, the James Carr Professor of International Criminal Law
  • Lawrence Thomas, BS/AB ’77, partner, Edward Jones; university trustee
  • Lori White, vice chancellor for student affairs

The committee will be staffed by Lisa Siddens, assistant provost for strategic projects and appointments; and Rebecca Brown, associate vice chancellor and chief of staff to the chancellor.

Members of the university community, including students, will have opportunities to provide input into the search process beginning this summer and fall.

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