Fall 2020 Community Reflection Remarks

While these things might be true, let us find ways to remain in faith.  May we find faith in one another.  Faith in this community.  Faith in our region.  Faith in our healthcare workers.  And faith that justice will inevitably prevail.

Washington University’s newest Nobel laureate

It is our distinct pleasure to share with you the outstanding news that Charles M. Rice, PhD, a renowned virologist who conducted his seminal work while on the faculty of the School of Medicine, is one of three scientists who received the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine earlier today. Rice becomes the 19th Nobel laureate associated with the School of Medicine, and the 25th from Washington University.

WashU Response to COVID-19

Friends and colleagues, we are doing our best to keep the community informed of the situation. As we navigate the days, weeks, and months ahead, please know that my thoughts will continue to be with those impacted.

Welcome to the 2020-2021 academic year

Sunset behind Brookings Hall

No matter where you are and what your role is — you are every bit a member of this community, and we will navigate this uncharted territory together as the distinctive community that has defined Washington University since our founding in 1853. This is my promise to you, and even despite our current circumstances, I look forward to seeing all the ways we will persevere, building on the incredible momentum we already have in place as we pursue our mission to improve lives in service of the greater good.

It’s official: Medicaid expansion passes in Missouri

The passage of Amendment 2 is a tremendous victory for a quarter-million Missourians who no longer have to live in fear of getting sick or hurt because they will now have healthcare coverage when they need it.

Please support Amendment 2 on August 4

Your vote tomorrow could help nearly a quarter-million vulnerable Missourians gain access to healthcare and, in the process, bring more than a billion dollars of our tax dollars home each year. A simple step, a vast reward for Missouri.

University leaders unite behind Medicaid expansion

As the leaders of two of this region’s major research universities, we cannot sit idly by as the August 4 election draws near and not speak to a critical opportunity in front of us. It is time to act and expand Medicaid.

Our unwavering support for international students

Let us be clear. We are strongly opposed to this change in policy, and to any and all actions that would undermine the ability of international students to come to the U.S., or remain in the country to pursue their research and scholarship.

Support for Medicaid expansion in Missouri

This is the right move for our economy, especially at a time when even more people will be out of work and needing assistance. But it is also a critical step in our too-long journey toward a more just society.

Racial equity

Our path forward includes challenges that we wholeheartedly embrace. To get this right in the long run requires time for thoughtful consultation and planning. The kind of enduring transformation that is called for and necessary here will require each of us to play a vital role, and it is critically important that we do this work together – establishing a clear vision of an equitable future, identifying the specific steps we need to take, and holding ourselves accountable to our commitments.

The challenges before us

Dear Washington University community, Racism in all forms – particularly police violence toward Black people – is a plague on our society and we must all continue to listen, engage in self-reflection, and commit to doing real work if we hope to make progress and enact meaningful, systemic change. Along with other university leaders, I […]

“Ring Their Names” Vigil

Hillman Hall

As Chancellor, I can promise you that we will do our best to ring George Floyd’s name as loudly as we possibly can to ensure the arc bends toward justice.  And we will not stop ringing until justice wins.  

On racial equity and justice

The ongoing racial violence that we are witnessing against people of color is nothing short of devastating. As a community, we are united in our commitment to justice and racial equity.

2020 McDonnell International Scholars Recognition Ceremony

Greetings from campus, and thanks for inviting me to join you as you celebrate another year as McDonnell International Scholars. I’m sorry I’m unable to attend in person, though I still wanted the chance to share my congratulations and best wishes. First, congratulations on finishing up this unprecedented spring semester with your heads held high.  […]

2020 WashU Day of Dialogue and Action

That’s what days like today and tomorrow are all about, as we use this opportunity to listen, learn, and reflect on our past as we use our collective voices to make way for the future. This is not only paramount for us as a community that values diversity, equity, and inclusion, but also as we double down on our role, impact, and connection “In St. Louis and For St. Louis.”

2020 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration

Three students singing

This is the kind of place I aspire for us to be — not because it’s good for appearances or it’s good for politics. But simply because it’s the right thing to do. Once again, as Dr. King said, “The time is always right to do what is right.”

Safety and security updates

As we begin the spring semester and settle back into our regular routines, I want to take the opportunity to share with you some important updates about our ongoing commitment to improving safety and security around our campuses.

2019 December Recognition

Undoubtedly, your time here was worth far more than any Google search could ever provide — a tangible response to the popular search “Why is education important?” While studying at Washington University, you gained knowledge, understanding, tools, experiences, and relationships that have immense promise to change the world. And now that this particular chapter is ending, it is our greatest hope that you leave this place feeling ready and prepared to continue your passionate and noble search for knowledge and truth.

The case for Medicaid expansion in Missouri

Missouri is facing a health-care crisis. Far too many residents in our state cannot get needed medical care because they lack health insurance. This is why Washington University is backing the Healthcare for Missouri initiative – an effort to expand the state’s Medicaid program to cover more Missourians.

Addressing gun violence: We must raise a collective voice

Today, we are issuing a public appeal to our state legislators to make sensible changes to Missouri state law that will grant to local governments the ability to establish stricter gun safety requirements within their municipal and county boundaries.

Inaugural Address: Momentum

WashU Danforth Campus looking north toward Brookings Hall

I view my role as your 15th Chancellor to increase our momentum and help build the bridges to our shared future — the future of this institution, the future of St. Louis, the future of this country, and the future of the world.

Francis Olympic Field Renaming Ceremony

Here at Washington University, we are immensely proud that we have continued to carry the Olympic torch throughout our history to the present moment.  The renaming of Francis Olympic Field truly solidifies our commitment to these values, and I’m confident we’ll continue to embody the Olympic movement and spirit with us well into the future.

Following up on steps to enhance safety and security

Earlier this week, I expressed my determination to address safety concerns that have intensified following a recent spike in criminal activity in neighborhoods near the Danforth Campus. I now am reaching out to share with you specific steps we are taking in the short-, mid-, and longer-term.

The safety of our community

I wanted to reach out to let you know that I am concerned and determined to take action. Nothing is more important to me than the safety and well-being of our university community.

Division of Students Affairs to report to the Office of the Chancellor

The student experience is a paramount facet of that mission as well as an area that continues to evolve with the changing landscape of higher education. To that end, and effective immediately, Dr. Lori White, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, will report directly to me moving forward. 

2019 Convocation

Brookings Hall

You now join a long line of individuals who have come before you and who have been deeply committed to the same values and principles.  As both Chancellor of Washington University and as an alumnus, I am both proud and honored that you represent our robust legacy and the extraordinary history of some of the world’s greatest thinkers, educators, inventors, innovators, advocates, and leaders.  With this comes great responsibility as you carry on the nearly 170-year legacy of distinction. 

Next steps in provost transition

Finding the ideal person to assume the role of provost will require thoughtful consideration, a smart and thorough process, and input from a broad range of community members. We are now ready to begin this task, and I want to share with you my plans for moving forward.

Commentary on Missouri law on abortion services

The university continues to share serious concerns about the recently enacted Missouri law related to abortion services. Dean Perlmutter of our medical school further explains those concerns in a commentary he coauthored with Richard Liekweg, CEO and president of BCJ HealthCare, that appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

2019 Staff Day

As soon-to-be Chancellor, I want to emphasize how important I believe it is that staff get the recognition you deserve for the enormous time and diligent energy you put into keeping this place running and moving forward.  All of you are incredibly integral to the success of the university, and I’m really grateful for your contributions.

2019 Commencement

Members of the Class of 2019, I have to be honest. I feel a little bit like Paul McCartney right now as I channel one of the Beatles’ most famous lines, “You say Goodbye, and I say Hello.” For some of you, that joke might have gotten lost in the generational gap.  But it’s true. You’re leaving this place, and I’m just beginning my role as your 15th Chancellor.  Because I wasn’t here for most of your time on campus, I haven’t earned the privilege to impart a lot of wisdom.  To that end, all I really want to say is: “Congratulations!”  

2019 Day of Discovery, Dialogue, and Action

Change requires acts of bravery — from all sides.  And friendship and dialogue are perhaps the most powerful tools we can use to enact the change we wish to see.

Trilogy “Blacks in America 400+ years”

At WashU, we aim to make hope more visible.  At WashU, we aim to hear the voice of struggle and resilience in order to achieve progress.  At WashU, we aim to enhance our institutional efforts to make Washington University a place where all people feel represented, safe, valued, and included members of our community.  And at WashU, we aim to act responsibly as we care for our students, faculty, staff, and patients here in St. Louis and throughout the world.

The 32nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration

All of us, regardless of background or experience, benefit from being part of a diverse and inclusive community. It’s not just about succeeding or benefitting, though. Beyond that, it’s also about thriving and flourishing. As human beings, when we work on our own selves and strive to communicate and collaborate across our differences, we begin to create a university, local community, nation, and world that truly flourishes.

A welcome message from the Chancellor-elect

I am delighted and honored to return to campus to serve as your 15th Chancellor. Washington University in St. Louis is a vibrant institution filled with tradition; rich with diversity; committed to innovation, progress, and inclusion; and marked by leaders who have paved a course for a thriving future.

Welcome remarks

It’s so great to be back home. The past four years for me and my family in Ann Arbor have been a fantastic experience, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve another great institution. But, there is no place like here — and no place like home.