Search committee forms to begin chancellor search

Emma Baker | Contributing Reporter

A 19-member committee has been formed to officially commence the board of trustees’ search for the next chancellor of Washington University, following the announcement of Chancellor Mark Wrighton’s retirement in 2019.

The committee, created and chaired by Craig D. Schnuck, chairman of the board of trustees, is comprised of University faculty, administrators, staff and students in addition to members from the board of trustees.

“I am very grateful to the committee members, who each bring an important perspective to the group. We are fortunate to have an outstanding team of individuals who care deeply about the University and are firmly committed to finding the best possible candidate to fill this critical position,” Schnuck said in an interview with The Source. “While our search will be global in scope, our process will be grounded within the values of the University community, upon which we will rely for insight and guidance.”

Over the next one to two years, the committee, in conjunction with the board of trustees, will evaluate and interview potential candidates to be Wrighton’s successor.

According to senior Megan Wolf, who is a member of the search committee and serves as one of the undergraduate student representatives to the board of trustees, the executive committee, including Schnuck, knew the chancellor was retiring back in June.

“Most of the board didn’t know until this past board meeting in October [that Wrighton was retiring],” Wolf said. “The executive committee knew in June that the chancellor was retiring so Mr. Schnuck was able to start getting the selection process started.”

In addition to committee-selected candidates, national leadership recruitment firm Isaacson, Miller will aid in selecting and coordinating other potential candidates for the committee to consider.

“Right now the idea is that we have selected a search firm to help us with the process and in the next few months or so, we’ll talk with different people to develop the job description and send it out,” Wolf said. “Sometime next semester, we’ll start interviewing people and start looking over applications.”

To provide an opportunity for faculty, students and staff to give their input, listening sessions will take place over the next three weeks on the Danforth Campus, with separate sessions at the Medical Campus early in the spring semester.

“We are looking forward to beginning this important conversation with members of the University community, and are coming to the sessions ready to learn, ask questions and consider all ideas and perspectives,” Schnuck said in an interview with The Source. “I know this feedback will be extremely beneficial to the committee as it begins its work.”

Wolf acknowledged the gravity of their task since the average chancellor of an American university serves around six and a half years, while Wrighton has been Washington University’s chancellor for the past 22 years.

“Chancellor Wrighton even said himself that he’s excited to see what a new person will do just because he has done so much for the University [that] people have just gotten used to seeing him as its face,” Wolf said. “It will be exciting to see where the University will be taken by this new person, whoever they may be.”