Greetings from Washington University! As we approach the end of the semester, I would like to share a little about what we’ve accomplished during the past several months and how this is setting the stage for what’s to come. Here, we remain optimistic and energized for the work ahead of us — work that will help us fulfill our mission, which is to act in service of truth through the formation of leaders, the discovery of knowledge and the treatment of patients for the betterment of our region, our nation and our world.
At the heart of our mission is undergraduate education. That’s where we have a tremendous opportunity to build on our foundation to admit, educate and nurture the brightest young minds who will lead us into the future.
As many of you know, one of my highest priorities as chancellor is to increase access to WashU for deserving students who might not otherwise consider attending, due to either cost or cultural concerns. We would like them to know that they, too, have a place here — that we see their accomplishments, we see their potential, and we’re ready to remove barriers and support their success so they can make their unique and positive marks on the world.
The momentum for this important work continues to build. In 2019, we implemented the WashU Pledge, which offers tuition, room and board to qualifying lower-income students from Missouri and Southern Illinois. Then in 2021, we took a big leap forward with our implementation of Gateway to Success and the shift to need-blind admissions. And just two months ago, in October, we publicly launched a bold initiative focused on student support — one that is essential to our mission and long-term vitality.
Through this initiative, we’re asking for philanthropic investment in undergraduate and graduate scholarships so that we can attract the most qualified students and make a Washington University education financially accessible to them all. We also aim to enhance our student experience, making it truly best-in-class, empowering students to thrive by offering specialized orientations, peer and professional mentorship, services in health and well-being, meaningful career preparation and additional financial support for unexpected expenses.
We’re calling this exciting initiative Make Way: Our Student Initiative because that’s truly what we’re aiming to do: make a way for these students to learn, thrive and then carry their education and experience on to their communities and workplaces. They’ve done the work, they’ve shown their potential, and we’re going to remove the financial and cultural obstacles that might otherwise prevent them from attaining the exceptional educational experience that WashU can offer.
I deeply believe this is the way forward for WashU and that the time is right to think big on behalf of our brilliant students, who, if given the opportunity, will become the trailblazing leaders of the future.
I hope this initiative resonates with you because we will need support to achieve this bold vision. Thank you for being champions of WashU and our students, and for continuing to read the magazine and staying engaged with the university.
Wishing you and yours the very best during this holiday season.