Chancellor Emeritus Mark S. Wrighton

Mark S. Wrighton, PhD, was elected the 14th chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis in 1995 and served as its chief executive officer for 24 years.

In the years following his appointment, the university made significant progress in student quality, campus improvements, resource development, curriculum and international reputation.

University accomplishments during Wrighton’s time as chancellor include a more than three-fold increase in undergraduate applications, more than 300 new endowed professorships for faculty, a redesigned Arts & Sciences curriculum, newly created programs in biomedical engineering, public health, American culture studies, and completion of more than 50 new buildings and the redevelopment of the East End of the Danforth Campus.

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Accomplishments & Recognition

More than 50 new buildings

Financial aid endowment increased by $733 million

363 endowed positions created

During Mark S. Wrighton’s 24-year tenure as chancellor, the university saw:

  • Annual undergraduate applications increase almost three-fold (from 11,276 in 1996 to 31,320 in 2018)
  • Average SAT score of incoming students rise from 1352 in 1996 to 1510 in 2019
  • Dramatic movement in student diversity indicators, with the Pell-eligible student population growing from 5% to 15% between 2007 and 2019
  • Establishment of the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center
  • Formation of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy
  • Establishment of the Institute for Public Health
  • Formation of the Institute for School Partnership
  • Launch of Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement
  • Establishment of the Living Earth Collaborative
  • Four Nobel Prize winners
  • 1,459 endowed scholarships created
  • Double the number of nationalities represented on campus
  • 363 endowed positions, including four deanships, created
  • Two campaigns, which together raised nearly $5 billion
  • Federal research grants increased by $310 million

Debates hosted during Wrighton’s chancellorship:
2000: Presidential Debate, Texas Governor George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore
2004: Presidential Debate, President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry
2008: Vice Presidential Debate, Joe Biden and Sarah Palin
2016: Presidential Debate, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

Recent Speeches

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