Greetings from Washington University. Now more than a year into the pandemic, we are beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Our Medical Campus colleagues have been vaccinated, and the public rollout continues locally and around the globe. I’m also happy to report, despite the challenges we face as a community, that we continue to advance our mission in education, research and patient care.
On Feb. 16, 2021, I delivered my inaugural State of the University address during which I shared the ways we are keeping our WashU momentum throughout the region, nation and world. I’m thrilled that we are making progress on our commitments to academic distinction, educational access, and our role and impact “in St. Louis and for St. Louis.”
First, I’m immensely proud of the ways we have kept our momentum going through medical research and compassionate patient care. The pandemic posed numerous challenges for our Medical Campus and health-care workers. But time and again, our colleagues rose to the occasion, navigating shortages in personal protective equipment, prepping for and working tirelessly through COVID-19 surges, developing a rapid COVID-19 saliva test, and creating and delivering therapeutic treatments to patients. I’m so very grateful for their leadership and service.
I’m also pleased that we have kept our momentum by providing a world-class education. This past fall, our entire community adapted quickly to vast changes in the student experience, course delivery, and living and working conditions. While it certainly hasn’t been the academic year any of us imagined for our students, I am proud of their resilience, flexibility and the ways they pursued their academic interests with equal amounts of rigor and dedication. See the feature Finding Our Way for more on our continuing efforts to help our students and entire university community cope during the still-ongoing pandemic.
While our university-wide response to COVID-19 serves as an example of our academic distinction and commitment to improving lives, our faculty members have also continued life-changing work in other areas. In this issue, you’ll learn a few of the ways in which vital scholarship progresses in areas such as climate change and artificial intelligence, to name a few. During my address, I also shared that our research revenue last year was higher than anticipated — up $25.5 million from the previous fiscal year — for a total of $660.7 million. This is evidence that the pandemic has not altered our course.
Last June, I outlined a set of action steps to address issues of racial equity on our campus and beyond, and since then we have made positive inroads to address each of those steps. Look for more on this important work and the newly launched Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity in future issues of Washington magazine.
Finally, in terms of educational access, we have made a lot of progress. Our incoming Class of 2024 is 16% Pell eligible, and 5% is in the newly launched WashU Pledge program, which provides a free undergraduate education to full-time Missouri and southern Illinois students who are Pell eligible or from families with annual incomes of $75,000 or less.
Although the pandemic has caused great upheaval and loss, our momentum continues. Thank you, as always, for taking the time to learn more about our progress — and how we’re making a positive impact in St. Louis and throughout the world. And I hope you are finding your own ways to embody our mission this spring.