Going global

Wrighton and Ban Ki-moon
Mark Wrighton introduces then–UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the students of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy during a 2016 trip to the United Nations in New York. Photo by Joe Angeles

In 1995, when Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton gave his inaugural address as the 14th chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis, he signaled his intention to establish the university as a global leader. From the formation of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy in 2005 to the recent launch of the Africa Initiative, he has remained committed to that vision.

The McDonnell Academy is an international network of research universities, aimed at developing future leaders and promoting global awareness and social responsibility. At its inception, the McDonnell Academy included 15 universities, all in Asia. Now it has 35 partner universities from around the world.

Through the Academy, the university has attracted top-flight international students. Today, international students come to WashU from over ninety nations and represent 19 percent of the university’s enrollment. The Academy also has broadened the scope of the university’s research collaborations. At its international symposiums, the McDonnell Scholars Academy gathers leading scholars from WashU and partner universities to tackle global challenges ranging from energy & the environment to aging to agriculture to climate change.

Not least, Wrighton’s vision and commitment have inspired faculty, researchers and students from across the university — and around the world — to think and act more globally.

As Wrighton concludes his chancellorship after 24 years, his legacy of globalizing teaching, learning and research at the university and beyond will live on.

Read the full story in Washington Magazine.