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Over the last generation, a few American universities have emerged as increasingly eminent and prosperous, attracting ever more academically successful student bodies and more distinguished faculties. Washington University in St. Louis, a great, private and constantly advancing university, seeks an exceptional leader to serve as its next Chancellor.

The University has been guided by two remarkable and consistent Chancellors, over a combined tenure of 46 years. Washington University has emerged, over this time, from a commuter university with a great medical school to become one of the most competitive universities in the nation, increasingly distinguished and prosperous, attracting one of the strongest student bodies in the nation and luring excellent faculty to its ranks.

Washington University educated 15,155 full-time students in FY2017, divided almost equally between undergraduate and graduate/professional students. The average SAT score for the entering first year class was 1510. The FY2018 operating budget totals $3.2 billion with revenues up 5% from the previous year. As of June 30, 2017, the market value of the University’s endowment was $7.2 billion, a number that has risen steadily with successful capital campaigns and investments. The current capital campaign had an original target of $2.2 billion, which the University raised to $2.5 billion later in the campaign. The campaign has already exceeded its new capital campaign target with six months to go and with strong prospects still in serious discussions with the leadership. In FY2017, total sponsored research reached $643 million with $482 million in federal research funding.

Washington University School of Medicine continues as a vital driver of the University’s success. The School of Medicine ranks fifth in NIH funding, has over 2,000 faculty members and over 7,000 staff. The faculty teach a large and exceptionally strong student body of over 1,400 students, and clinical faculty care for over 1.1 million patients a year. Clinical revenues of the WUSM faculty practice have grown steadily at roughly 8% to 10% per year in a strong, complimentary and strategic alliance with BJC HealthCare, which has demonstrated parallel growth.

Washington University built its national undergraduate reputation and success guided by a simple, enduring imperative, “We will know every student by their name and their story.” The University has built new residence halls, academic buildings, and a university center, expanded student services, and maintained its strong commitment to personalized attention and small class size. The undergraduate student-faculty ratio is 8:1 and Washington University is today one of the most selective undergraduate institutions in the country: its undergraduate program is ranked 11th in the nation by the Wall Street Journal, which is heavily influenced by undergraduate success after graduation and 18th in the nation by US News & World Report, which is more heavily influenced by subjective reputation ranking. US News ranks Washington University 15th in best quality of life, 13th in admissions selectivity, and 9th in graduation and retention.

From endowments and capital campaigns, the University grew substantial strategic investment funds that were used to re-build the entire campus. In the term of the current Chancellor, the University built over 50 new buildings, including a full array of undergraduate facilities and exceptional academic centers for every school. In addition, the University created over 300 new endowed chairs for distinguished faculty, strengthened every school, improved national rankings for each school and added large sums for financial aid. The University has used its strategic funds precisely and thoughtfully.

The modern Washington University was built on a consistent foundation focused on providing exceptional personalized education for students, which has been sustained for nearly two generations. The University has deep St. Louis and Mid-Western roots that foster a culture focused on caring for students, faculty collaboration, and mentoring. Washington University values are based on honesty, integrity, decency, communication and cooperation. Accordingly, The University plans strategically and manages their financial and human resources both responsibly and successfully. Washington University students, faculty and staff are loyal, enduring, hardworking, responsible and constantly improving. The University builds for this generation and generations to come.

In the tenure of the next Chancellor, the University can take great pleasure in the foundations it has built, including the physical plant. The next round of strategic investments should continue to add academic enhancements to the schools individually and collectively. Many of the schools possess exceptionally strong programs but there are opportunities to enhance research and academic programs in several undergraduate and graduate school programs. The next Chancellor will have the opportunity to plan strategically to continue to advance the University’s national and international reputation, to leverage strengths, and to add to the academic distinction of individual schools and the University as a whole. The student experience is impressive and attractive but needs continued enhancement to gain even more distinction in the most competitive markets. The School of Medicine has excellent research, clinical and educational programs but must continue to invest to remain competitive as a top ranked medical school and biomedical research institute. The University and the Medical Campus are important anchors for St. Louis. They have a great role to fulfill as engines of hope for social justice, public health, higher education, and the economy of the city and the region. The next Chancellor will have the opportunity to take the great work of the past and to galvanize it for the future.

The University seeks a Chancellor who will continue to advance the tradition of focused, strategic, servant leadership that has made Washington University an emerging, and leading, contender among the great academic institutions of the world.

The executive search firm of Isaacson, Miller has been retained to assist the advisory committee for the search. All inquiries, nominations and applications, should be directed to the search firm as indicated at the end of this document.


Past and Present

Washington University was founded in 1853, conceived by a group of St. Louis business, political, and religious leaders concerned by the lack of institutions of higher learning in the Midwest. Unusual among major American universities, Washington University was not established with a financial endowment, nor the backing of a single religious organization, individual wealthy patron, or earmarked government support rather by a collaboration of empowered and diverse citizens. That spirit of collaboration, independence and dedication to the mission of pursuit of knowledge and service for its own merits still characterizes Washington University.

William H. Danforth led the University for over two decades (1971-1995). A cardiologist, he was a member of the medical school faculty and served as Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs prior to becoming Chancellor. He stabilized the University’s finances, built stronger ties with the St. Louis community, and contributed to the University’s recognition as a national and international leader in higher education. His accomplishments as Chancellor included: 70 new endowed faculty chairs, a $1.72 billion endowment, dozens of new buildings, and tripling the number of gift-supported scholarships. Following his retirement, he continues to serve the University as a member of the Board of Trustees and was named chancellor emeritus in 1999. The Danforth Campus is named in his and his family’s honor.

Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton joined Washington University in 1995, from MIT where he was Provost, and has continued to strengthen the University’s impact and reputation. Important new programs have been established in areas such as biomedical engineering, American culture studies, energy and environment, and public health. Under his leadership, nearly 300 endowed professorships for faculty have been established, a redesigned Arts & Sciences curriculum has been implemented, and a global university partnership program has been initiated with 33 of the leading universities in the world through the McDonnell International Scholars Academy. Additionally, Chancellor Wrighton has presided over the construction of most of the contemporary campus, a testament to the pace, ambition, and effectiveness of the Wrighton era.

The university currently encompasses 2,362 acres and more than 150 major buildings on the Danforth and Medical campuses, as well as the West Campus and South Campus in Clayton, North Campus in the city of St. Louis, 560 Music Center and Lewis Center in University City, and the Tyson Research Center 20 miles southwest of the city.

In 2017, the University began the most significant capital project in recent history: transformation of the east end of the Danforth Campus. This transforming project includes eight major components — three new academic buildings, an expansion of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, two new multi-use facilities, an underground parking garage and the expansive new Ann and Andrew Tisch Park. The East End Transformation of the Danforth Campus furthers the University’s mission and values, setting the course for the next era of academic excellence and service to society. The East End campus will open in 2019.


Washington University has built its distinct academic program around its values. Faculty welcome engagement with students and service to their university and community as important parts of their role. The same professors teach both undergraduate and graduate courses. Instructional faculty in all schools total 3,759, including both full-time and adjunct faculty.

The seven schools that make up the University are highly unique and independent and each school is nationally competitive. The recent building boom on campus has granted the schools new and state-of-the-art facilities for teaching and research. International rankings that depend solely on citation rank Washington University very highly. The Shanghai Jiao Tong university ranking, which relies solely on citation, ranks Washington University 15th in the US and 20th in the world. More conventional rankings in the US and abroad that rely on reputational scores for a large proportion of the rank place Washington University somewhere between 15th and 20th in the US and 30th to 50th internationally. The University has improved substantively over the past four decades and its reputation has followed.

  • Arts & Sciences is the largest undergraduate and graduate program at Washington University and is the center of intellectual life on campus. It comprises the core disciplines of the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Students from the four undergraduate schools within the University take classes through Arts & Sciences, and more than 70% of all university courses are taught by a member of the Arts & Sciences’ instructional faculty of more than 600. The University has targeted investments in academic distinction in Arts and Sciences and many disciplines have achieved national eminence. The College believes its highest priority is to achieve ever greater strength across the full range of disciplines.

  • The Olin Business School, enrolling close to 300 full-time and the same number of part-time students, has been consistently ranked among the world’s top business schools by The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, Financial Times, BusinessWeek and The Economist. U.S. News ranked the full-time MBA program 21st in the United States while Poets & Quants ranked the undergraduate business program as the second best in the nation in 2017. In 2002, an Executive MBA program was established in Shanghai, in cooperation with Fudan University. In 2016, the University followed its success at Fudan with an Executive MBA program at ITT Mumbai, which has now graduated its first class.

  • The Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts is a unique collaboration in architecture, art, and design education. Its three central units – the College of Art, the College of Architecture and the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum – merged in 2005 to create the current collaborative unit offering both undergraduate and graduate programs. In 2017, the College of Architecture’s graduate program, enrolling 265 students, was ranked 10th in the nation by Design Intelligence. The undergraduate program, which aims to prepare students to solve a wide variety of problems, not just architectural, enrolled 178 students. The College of Art, whose fine arts program is ranked 12th in U.S. News & World Report, enrolls close to 300 undergraduates and 45 graduate students.

  • The School of Engineering & Applied Science has been identified as an area of growth for Washington University. Tenured and tenure-track faculty number approximately 90 FTE. Total research funding for 2017 was $35 million. In 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked the Washington University School of Engineering 50th in the Best Engineering Schools ratings. The biomedical engineering graduate program was ranked 14th in that same period by U.S. News & World Report. Currently, the school enrolls 1,249 undergraduates and 593 graduates.

  • The School of Law has been on a remarkable trajectory for the past 10 years. It is currently ranked 18th overall among American Bar Association approved law schools by U.S. News & World Report and its clinical training and trial advocacy programs have consistently ranked in the top ten. The School of Law enrolls 1,077 students and carries around 80 faculty. It also has a thriving online program.

  • The Brown School has distinguished itself as a premier school of social work, recognized nationally and internationally. It is consistently ranked first or second in all rankings. Leveraging the strength of the School of Medicine, the school began offering a Master’s in Public Health program in 2008, and currently boasts one of the only post-doctoral programs in social work. Around 500 post-graduate students are enrolled in the Brown School, 90% of whom receive financial assistance. The Brown School of currently comprises some 250 faculty and staff engaged in high level research and teaching. The school has been a driver of research activity at Washington University and was instrumental in the creation of the Institute for Public Health.

  • University College is the professional and continuing education division Arts & Sciences and also administers the Summer School. Washington University has offered outstanding continuing education courses and professional programs since 1908. University College was founded officially in 1931 and has been serving the St. Louis region ever since. Today, University College offers part-time, evening, and summer school classes to students who want to earn undergraduate or graduate degrees or certificates in specialized areas of study, or to pursue personal enrichment.

  • Washington University School of Medicine has achieved international prominence as a leader in improving human health throughout the world. As noted leaders in patient care, research and education, the faculty has contributed countless discoveries and innovations to the field of science since the founding of the School of Medicine in 1891. The Medical School ranked 7th in the country by U.S. News and World Report; programs in occupational therapy and physical therapy are each ranked 1st, and its programs in audiology and communication sciences are each ranked 3rd.

  • The School of Medicine operating revenues totaled $2.16 billion in FY2017. Its robust research enterprise generated $554.5 million in research funding in FY2017, representing approximately three-quarters of the University’s total research dollars. Clinical faculty provide a wide array of outstanding inpatient and outpatient care, along with clinical trials, which offer patients the opportunity to participate in the evaluation of innovative treatments and prevention strategies.

    The Siteman Cancer Center is a joint venture between the School of Medicine and the Barnes Jewish Hospital. It’s the third largest Cancer Center in the US and one of the only few given an outstanding rating by the National Cancer Institute. There are plans to grow at least two additional Siteman Cancer Center locations.

Graduate and Professional Studies

Washington University enrolled 7,000 graduate and professional students in fall 2017. In the graduate and professional degree programs, students have the opportunity to pursue graduate degrees in architecture, art, business, engineering, law, medicine, social work, and a range of arts and sciences disciplines. Arts & Sciences enrolls the most graduate students, followed by Medicine, Business, Law, Engineering, Social Work, and then Art and Architecture.

In the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, several programs including, biological science, political science, anthropology, Spanish, psychology, and creative writing, have achieved national prominence through recruiting and retaining faculty of national stature and attracting the strongest PhD students. However, there are opportunities to increase the academic distinction of some of the graduate programs.

Faculty and Research

Washington University faculty receive many honors and awards and currently serve on the editorial boards of more than 250 professional and scholarly journals. The university has been affiliated with twenty-four Nobel laureates, many of whom did a significant portion of their award-winning work at the university. Washington University also counts among its faculty over nine Pulitzer Prize winners, four Poets Laureate of the United States, 66 American Academy of Arts and Sciences members, 53 National Academy of Sciences members, 38 American Law Institute members, and 15 National Medal of Science recipients.

The last two chancellors have viewed endowing professorships as a priority of the fundraising enterprise. In the Wrighton era alone, more than 300 endowed professorships have been added across the University with many more expected following the completion of the current capital campaign. The long term effort to strengthen the faculty and encourage scholarship has been productive.

Students and Student Life

A beloved student affairs administrator at Washington University coined the phrase, “We will know every student by their name and story.” That deep personal commitment is still an important hallmark of the Washington University experience today. The desire on the part of the staff and the faculty to understand and support the students, and the investments in student life, curricular flexibility, personalized advising, and a focus on the intersections of living and learning have significantly raised the standing and academic profile of the University’s applicants over time. It has also given the University an appealing brand and culture that is a point of pride and a draw for many excellent students.

Washington University enrolled approximately 7,540 undergraduate students in the fall of 2017. More than 90% of incoming class was ranked in the top 10% of their high school class, and the average SAT score was 1510. The fall 2017 acceptance rate was 17%. The average regular admission yield was 37% for fall 2017. The University’s culture and distinction draws students but the yield of acceptance to enrollment sometimes lags some of Washington University’s more prominent peers. St. Louis does not always attract students and families who are unfamiliar with the area and the coastal universities make the claim that they are more densely connected to the emerging, technologically driven, American economy.

Undergraduates enroll within the College of Arts &Sciences, the School of Engineering & Applied Science, the Olin School of Business, and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. The average first year retention rate is 97%. The six-year graduation rate is 94%. Because students apply and are registered in one of the schools, it can be complicated to cross register and to double major.

Washington University undergraduates receive many prestigious graduate study awards including the Rhodes, Fulbright, Marshall, Beinecke, and Truman scholarships and the Goldwater, Mellon, Putnam, National Science Foundation, and National Graduate Fellowships as well as the Howard Hughes Fellowship for undergraduate research. The University has had 29 Rhodes Scholars since 1902, 10 of them since 2001, including two in the current academic year.

Washington University has recently re-committed itself to recruiting and enrolling a more diverse student body. The University enrolls fairly equal numbers of women (8,063, 52.4%) and men (7,333, 47.6%). These percentages hold true for both undergraduate and graduate student populations. Among those students reporting racial and ethnic affiliations, inclusive of graduate and medical programs, 6% are Hispanic or Latino, 1% are American Indian, Alaska or Hawaii Native or Pacific Islander, 15% are Asian, 7% are Black or African American, 5% are multiracial, and 49% of students are White and not multi-racial. The international student enrollment is now 19% of total enrollment. Approximately 90% of undergraduates come from outside Missouri.

Since the mid-1970s, the Washington University Bears have competed as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III. Washington University has been a member of the University Athletic Association (UAA) since the beginning of the 1987-88 season and has won 148 UAA titles. The University sponsors eight men’s and nine women’s varsity sports teams. In both 2016 and 2017, the University ranked number two among all Division III schools, with an impressive number of championship teams. Historically, women’s basketball has been exceptionally strong and the men’s team has regularly made the playoffs. Twenty-two teams have earned NCAA Division III championships, with strong performances recently from Tennis, Volleyball, Basketball and Soccer teams. Last fall, every team competed in their respective championships. In addition, seventy five percent of the undergraduate student body participates in a thriving intra mural sports program.

St. Louis and Washington University

As the fourth-largest employer in the metropolitan area, Washington University plays an important role in the leadership of St. Louis. WUSTL has deep roots in the community. Nearly 5,000 evening, weekend, and summer students are enrolled in part-time and non-degree programs; the university is the institutional sponsor of seven charter schools, including the city’s first Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) charter school; and the Medical Center expends more than $115 million in uncompensated patient care.

In 2002, Washington University joined with BJC HealthCare, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis University and the Missouri Botanical Garden to create the Cortex Innovation Community, a 200 acre innovation hub, in the heart of St. Louis and near the essential science institutions. It has to date created 1.7 million-square-feet of new and rehabilitated space totaling over $550 million of investment and generating 4,200 technology-related jobs. When fully implemented, the Cortex master plan projects $2.3 billion of construction, over 4.5 million-square-feet of mixed-use development (research, office, clinical, residential, hotel, and retail), a new MetroLink light-rail station and 15,000 permanent technology-related jobs. Currently, there are over 250 companies that call the Cortex Innovation Community their home. Cortex has played a central role in the movement of young people to the city and the revival of St. Louis.

Consistently ranked among the nation’s most affordable and best places to live and raise families, the St. Louis region offers many opportunities to watch or participate in a wide range of sports, recreational activities, and cultural events. Not far from St. Louis’ urban core are the beautiful rolling hills of the Ozark Mountain region and outdoor activities such as hiking, canoeing, and spelunking in some of Missouri’s more than 6,000 caves.

Service to the community is a fundamental value at Washington University. The Gephardt Civic and Community Engagement coordinates community service activities of the University; 67% of undergraduates report involvement in community service and a total of seven million-person-hours volunteered to the community each year. Additionally, the University sustains nearly 600 partnerships with the community. Faculty also collaborate with communities to make advances in public health, the environment, and development, and at least 90 courses engage students in community-based teaching and learning.

In recent years, St. Louis and neighboring Ferguson have become a flashpoint of protests around racial disparities in law enforcement. The death of Michael Brown and the subsequent acquittal of the officer involved brought a wave of street protests to Ferguson that had effects on the city, the University, and the nation. More recently, the acquittal in the trial of Jason Stockley, the police officer accused of killing Anthony Lamar Smith, resulted in another round of intense protests in and around St. Louis. Some Washington University students joined in these protests and took coordinated action. Student involvement in these efforts has been peaceful and constructive. Additionally, Washington University was engaged with and represented on the Ferguson Commission, the body charged with making recommendations to address the conditions highlighted by the protests. The university has also established a Gun Violence Prevention Collaborative in partnership with the United Way and other community agencies. The collaborative has received funding from the Missouri Foundation for Health to train an interdisciplinary team to intervene in emergency rooms across the region.

Washington University is an essential institution for St. Louis and the city’s prosperity is essential to Washington University. The University has provided innovative leadership and the entire region counts on the University as a key partner for its success. The commitment of the next chancellor to advancing social justice, education and public health in the St Louis region is critical.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Washington University has made great strides recently to encourage the development of ideas and industries generated in the St. Louis area and within the University. Created less than two decades ago, the undergraduate entrepreneurship program was recently ranked in the top 10 on the Entrepreneur’s list of best programs in the country. The undergrad program offers 26 entrepreneurship-related courses. Its alumni, who have created nearly 100 startups, have raised $189 million in the last five years. The University has also created the William Greenleaf Eliot Seed Fund that will invest funds in early-stage companies with ties to Washington University.

The Cortex Innovation Community is a 200-acre urban mixed use district founded in 2002 by Washington University, BJC HealthCare System, the University of Missouri – St. Louis, St. Louis University and the Missouri Botanical Garden. As the region’s epicenter of innovation and entrepreneurship, Cortex is designed to accelerate technology company formation by providing access to new technologies, tech-supporting facilities and programs, and smart, innovative, creative people.

Organization and Finance

Washington University uses a classic version of revenue centered management. Finances are decentralized, in the University to the seven schools and colleges, and within the Medical School, to the departments. Each dean has profit and loss responsibility for his or her unit; tuition revenues follow undergraduate credit hours. Each academic unit contributes a prorated percentage of net undergraduate tuition to central administration to establish a central fund to support institutional strategic priorities. The schools work closely with the central administration on budget planning and prioritization. There is significant central strategic investment, driven by philanthropy and careful investment. Central investments are coordinated with the schools.

Washington University had a total operating expense budget of roughly $2.9 billion for FY2017. For the same period, operating revenues totaled $3.1 billion, the largest share of which, approximately $1.5 billion, from patient/hospital revenues.

Building the endowment has been a priority in fundraising efforts and it has been reflected in the growth of central resources. The endowment stood at $4.46 billion on June 30, 2010, and as of June 30, 2017, it reached $7.2 billion. In total for FY2017 endowment spending accounted for 10% of revenues. Additionally, a number of quasi-endowments feed resources into funding pools for capital investments, scholarships, and towards a strategic University fund controlled by the Chancellor. The two largest most recent investments Washington University has made, the East End Transformation and a campus-wide technology upgrade, will have all funding sources required to support the project between 2021 and 2025.


Washington University has a highly organized philanthropic effort, emphatically led by the Chancellor, who has conducted two large capital campaigns in his tenure, each doubling previous efforts.

The current capital campaign, “Leading Together: The Campaign for Washington University”, is scheduled to end on June 30th of 2018, and began with a target of $2.2 billion, subsequently raised to $2.5 billion and still has considerable momentum.

Board of Trustees

Washington University’s Board of Trustees is the University’s chief governing body. The Board is legally responsible for the institution, whose assets it holds in trust. The Board of Trustees is made up of men and women from the corporate, professional, educational, governmental, and volunteer sectors of the St. Louis community, nationwide and abroad. In addition, emeritus trustees are invited to attend meetings and serve on committees of the board. The board meets quarterly.

Craig D. Schnuck currently chairs the board and his leadership will overlap with the appointment of the next Chancellor. Craig served as the Chairman and CEO of Schnuck Markets, Inc. for 17 years and is currently the Chairman Emeritus at the company. He has served as a Board Member of Barnes-Jewish Hospital for the last twenty years and was Board Chair of Barnes-Jewish from 2013 to 2017 and currently serves as Vice Chair of BJC HealthCare, which manages the entire system.


The next Chancellor of Washington University will inherit an excellent platform and an already distinguished university. The University’s assertive rise to join the best institutions in the country has happened through remarkable consistency and integrity of leadership. This next Chancellor will pair the legacy of responsible servant leadership in a culture that values thoughtful candor with the juggernaut of discovery, teaching, and patient care that Washington University has become to truly make it one of the great academic institutions in the world.

Washington University must preserve and enhance what is already great, grow what is too small, and extend the mantle of excellent scholarship to elevate the strength of all the schools and their essential disciplines. Washington University needs, in this next tenure, to take its rightful place as an enduring great university in the country and the world.

To extend the upward arc of Washington University, the next Chancellor will address the following challenges and strive to use them as opportunities to consistently improve the university.

Recruit, retain, and develop an increasingly distinguished and diverse faculty and staff

The quality of Washington University’s academic disciplines is essential to its scholarly mission and its national and international identity. World-class excellence exists in many disciplines across the University but, to become a truly great university, Washington University needs to enhance its investments in outstanding faculty, the graduate programs that are essential to their scholarly reputation, and the facilities that support them. The next Chancellor will support success through careful investment, selective hires, and partnering with the provost, deans, and chairs. They should collectively galvanize existing strengths and future potential, further enhancing the academic profile of the University and adding to the diversity of the institution. Creating a consistently excellent faculty, competitive in any university league is the central task of this new Chancellor.

Leverage and improve the strength of the medical enterprise

The School of Medicine has been the cornerstone of the University. Its strength and national reputation in education, research, and patient care has been a constant for decades. However, the competition for medical research funding and for the best students and faculty has grown fierce. Washington University cannot expect to retain its pre-eminent position without significant investment, with resources from both philanthropy and clinical revenue growth. Simultaneously, national changes to health care systems will require agility and strategy. The next Chancellor will work closely with the Executive Vice Chancellor of Medical Affairs to ensure that the School of Medicine remains one of the top medical schools in the world. At the same time, the Chancellor will encourage and support joint programs that leverage the strength of the School of Medicine to expand and develop programs with the Danforth Campus.

Promote excellence through interdisciplinary and cross-school investment in Washington University’s areas of distinction

Washington University has developed strong interdisciplinary programs across its campuses, linking the schools and promoting cutting-edge research at disciplinary interconnections, and the University looks to accelerate this trend in the future. The Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences (DBBS), the umbrella organization for the Biomedical PhD programs and the Institute for Public Health demonstrate the interdisciplinary appetite and strengths of the University. DBBS, a University-wide graduate program in place for close to 40 years, spans more than 30 departments and offers 12 doctoral training programs. The Institute for Public Health is a university-wide initiative designed to transform the field of public health. The faculty and administration, consistent with a thoughtful, values based culture, have been remarkably open to collaboration. Looking to the future, the Chancellor must continue to promote such activities, strategically allocating resources to accelerate cooperation and to further distinguish the academic strength and impact of the University.

Elevate the quality and reputation of the graduate and professional schools

In the next decade of leadership, the University needs to elevate the quality of a number of core disciplinary departments and will look to the Chancellor for the leadership and support to achieve this end. The Chancellor will play a central role in guiding a critical priority for the University: doing for the graduate enterprise what has been done at the undergraduate level. Each of the seven schools of the University has unique and high quality programs and each has unique cultures and traditions. Recruitment of graduate and professional students is not coordinated centrally and Washington University must take advantage of every opportunity to heighten its appeal to the top graduate and professional students. Recruiting and retaining the very best faculty, expanding endowed professorships, building excellence in research programs, growing scholarship and fellowship funding, and expanding the commitment to the libraries will contribute to this effort.

Expand the research enterprise on the Danforth Campus

Today, almost three-quarters of the University’s research funding comes from the School of Medicine. The Danforth graduate programs will require attention, investment, and strategic decisions to improve their standing and impact. Washington University’s heightened national and international profile and its increasingly effective, interdisciplinary work should be leveraged to attract the finest prospective graduate students, further extending the capabilities of faculty on campus and augmenting the institution’s contributions to the highest levels of national academic discourse.

Use strategic investment funds to provide leadership in new approaches to academic planning and collaborative resource allocation

The University has succeeded philanthropically and managed its resources carefully to create funds for strategic investment. Washington University combines strategic choices with a long tradition of decentralized academic planning and management. Faculty hiring, promotion, and tenure process and policy, academic planning, and fiscal responsibility all reside primarily at the school or college level. As Washington University seeks to join the ranks of the world’s greatest universities and to consolidate the gains achieved over the last two decades, an increased level of coordinated, central and local academic planning is needed, combining resources from the central administration and the schools to create the large investigations of basic processes and consequential issues that will excite the best scholars at Washington University and globally. Inspiring creativity, maximizing the use of capital and striking a balance between strategic academic planning and sustained unit independence are central tasks for the new Chancellor.

Increase the international reach and reputation of the university

While savvy consumers and researchers are familiar with the excellence of Washington University in teaching, research, and patient care, its strengths are not broadly understood in the educational marketplace. Part of this may be due to location and some part is simply the natural modesty of a fine Midwestern university. As Washington University increasingly succeeds, the next Chancellor, like their predecessors will work to ensure that the University not only is one of the top universities in the world, but that it is also widely known as one of the top universities in the world.

Strengthen the Washington University undergraduate student experience and give it a unique, contemporary identity

The visibility and reputation of Washington University have grown as a consequence of the exceptional progress of its undergraduate program. Undergraduate admissions often drive a university’s entire reputation. Competition for the best and brightest high school students continues to grow, however, both across the U.S. and internationally. Washington University attracts a very strong student body but yields somewhat more modestly than its strongest competitors. The University is committed to increasing the diversity of its student population and that is essential to future success. Contemporary students want an education that allows them to explore in the classroom and in the worlds of research and work, including the many possibilities for careers. Allowing students to benefit from the full range of the University’s offerings and to link experiential learning to the classroom will greatly strengthen the University’s program. The next Chancellor will need to attend to sustaining and enhancing the excellence of the undergraduate enterprise.

Strengthen the University’s welcome to an increasingly diverse and inclusive community

Washington University has worked explicitly to recruit undergraduate and graduate students from diverse ethnic, racial, and socio-economic communities. Progress has been made, and this is essential but further investment of energy and resources will be required. At the same time, the University continues to focus attention to recruit and retain diverse faculty, administrators, and staff to support excellence through diversity. The next Chancellor must provide personal leadership of the University’s commitment to a culture of diversity and inclusion in its intellectual and community life, and across its student, faculty, and staff populations.

Represent the University to the St. Louis community and beyond

Washington University plays an integral role in the city of St. Louis and the community looks to the Chancellor for leadership well beyond the confines of the Danforth and Medical School campuses. As the largest provider of medical care, the fourth largest employer in the region and an engine of economic revival, the activities of the university and the statements of the Chancellor carry a great weight. St. Louis has historically been a crossroads of the debates and passions that inform America and today is no different. The Chancellor will provide moral clarity and direction while applying the values of the institution to lead and affect change in the community.

Cultivate resources for the University through philanthropic giving

Washington University has enjoyed great success in fundraising through the generosity of its alumni and their parents, grateful patients, and many other friends. Through wise stewardship exercised by its board and the leadership, Washington University has built a very strong endowment that keeps the University competitive. But in order to compete with their peers, the next Chancellor must expand on this success. Washington University’s peers, in general, are anchored in larger cities with a greater pool of wealth from which to draw. The next Chancellor will therefore need to be creative, bold, and tireless in opening up new lines of support for the University.


Washington University seeks in its new Chancellor a leader with strategic vision, a collegial leadership style, and the energy and integrity to inspire the University community to new levels of excellence. Candidates should have a history of academic leadership, the ability to build and cultivate consensus in a university or similar complex environment, and accomplishment in moving a large institution while fostering a climate of community, understanding, and mutual respect. The Search Committee understands that no single candidate will have all the ideal qualifications, but it seeks candidates with the following experience and abilities:

  • The University has historically preferred Chancellors with a record of distinguished scholarship and teaching requisite for an appointment as a tenured full professor. It will, however, consider candidates with a strong record of excellent leadership in organizations directly analogous to leading a university.

  • An experienced, deliberative, and energetic leader with a track record of success in a complex research institution, preferably with some experience in an institution that has life sciences or medical schools or work that is directly analogous.

  • Strong management, planning, and financial skills; an astute understanding of university finances and the relationships between academic priorities, budgeting, and fundraising.

  • A deep and demonstrated belief in the value of diversity and inclusion and successful experience fostering diverse, inclusive environments and cultures.

  • A record of appreciating excellence and participating in the successful recruitment and retention of a superb faculty, and of significant contribution to the growth of innovative programs, departments, or schools

  • An interdisciplinary thinker, able to think creatively across silos, and committed to harnessing and facilitating the potential of collaborative activities across institutional and disciplinary boundaries.

  • Outstanding listening and communication skills; an articulate communicator who can inspire and engage others to support the vision for the University.

  • An international viewpoint and a comfort with the larger world; an understanding of international collaboration and the changing nature of global higher education.

  • A collaborator and a convener; judicious and diplomatic; the capacity to build consensus and develop an overarching vision, and to motivate and inspire others to assure its realization; the ability to make tough decisions, coupled with courtesy, respect, and a delicate touch.

  • Entrepreneurial spirit and drive; a nuanced understanding of sponsored research activity in an academic setting, and an eye for creative opportunities tied to a commitment to accountability and results.

  • Self-confidence without self-importance; the ability both to work on a team and to take initiative.

  • The ability to fundraise and to cultivate relationships on behalf of the institution.

  • A collegial, accessible, and consultative leader with absolute integrity; a deep respect for faculty and a clear commitment to undergraduate and graduate education.

  • Humility and commitment to the service leadership that is central to the Washington University experience and identity.


Washington University in St. Louis has retained Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist in this search. Confidential inquiries, nominations, referrals, and resumes with cover letters should be sent in confidence to:

John Isaacson, Chair
Kate Barry, Principal
Matthew Tzuker, Senior Associate

Electronic submission of materials is strongly encouraged.


Washington University in St. Louis is committed to providing equal opportunity to all qualified individuals in its employment and personnel practices. The university practices affirmative action by taking assertive steps to recruit, hire and promote minorities, females, individuals with disabilities and veterans.