The Mark S. Wrighton Award for McDonnell Academy Alumni will recognize an alumnus having a significant impact on their communities or professional career, based directly on their experience in the program. Established in 2019 in honor of Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton, founder of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy, the award is presented to one McDonnell Alumnus a year. Chancellor Wrighton’s vision and the McDonnell Academy’s commitment to the core missions of educating future global leaders and fostering collaborative research is the lead international initiative at Washington University. McDonnell Academy Alumni are a group of future global leaders who have been shaped by their time together in graduate or professional degree study at Washington University and are “Scholars for Life”. This award will honor those alumni who “give back”, exemplifying outstanding leadership through professional and personal development.

2019 Wrighton Award Winner | Dr. Chen Li, JD’16, JSD’15

The Wrighton Award is sponsored by Richard J. Mahoney, retired chairman and CEO of Monsanto Company, distinguished executive-in-residence at Olin Business School, and an emeritus trustee of Washington University in St. Louis.

The award will consist of a $10,000 cash prize, an engraved crystal plaque, and a travel award for the honoree and a guest to come to St. Louis to receive the award at our Welcome Dinner for McDonnell Scholars. In addition to honoring the recipient of this award at the Welcome Dinner, we will ask the awardee to talk to Scholars-in-residence about their experience as a McDonnell Scholar and how this experience has enhanced leadership and career opportunities.

Wrighton Award logo

Rules & Eligibility

Nominations, including self-nominations, can be submitted from anyone. Nominations that paint a full picture of a nominee’s qualifications for the award are strongly recommended, as the nomination you submit will be a significant factor for consideration to the selection committee about your nominee. We recommend your letter address the following items:

Your relationship with the nominee.
The reason you believe your nominee should receive the Wrighton Award for McDonnell Academy Alumni.
Description of your nominee’s leadership and impact on the McDonnell Academy at Washington University in
St. Louis community, and how it exceeds their professional responsibilities.
Examples, stories, and details about how your nominee meets the award criteria.

Characteristics of Award Honorees

The award committee anticipates a broad range of nominations that define leadership and“giving back”. While the committee is not looking for a specific type of leadership involvement, characteristics of award honorees might include one or more of the following:

Significant career achievement that contributes to society and demonstrates the Academy’s mission of a network of
leaders that address global issues either directly or via track-II diplomacy.
Helping the McDonnell Academy through recruiting new Scholars and or building our ties with partner universities,
and positively influencing the reputation of Washington University as a global research institution.
Public service: Exudes passion for a social, cultural, or economic issue.
Philanthropically supporting the McDonnell Academy or Washington University.
Exceeding professional responsibilities in service to the mission of the McDonnell Academy’s network and global
focus areas of climate change, energy & environment, food & water, public health, and social development.

Nomination & Selection Process

Deadline: Monday, May 30, 2020

A committee of award selection members review the submitted materials and select a candidate who is deemed most deserving of recognition and whose achievements most closely fit the characteristics of an award nominee. The committee may invite consulting members of Washington University to assist in its deliberations. All deliberations are kept confidential.

Please note that if your nominee is selected, he or she will need to be in attendance at the *McDonnell Scholar Welcome Dinner.

*Washington University is closely monitoring COVID-19 reports and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health authorities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the in-person proceedings of the McDonnell Scholar Welcome Dinner will be postponed to spring 2021.  Please check back regularly for the most current information.

Alumnus Nomination

In 500 words or less, we recommend you compose your nomination in a separate text file, outside of this form. You may cut/paste your final written submission, or upload your document within the text box provided on the form. This will allow you to properly compose and edit your submission, as well as save a copy for your personal files.

Nomination Form

Wrighton Award for McDonnell Academy Alumni
Please provide your first name.
Please provide your last name.
Please provide the email address the nomination committee will use to contact you should questions arise.
Please let us know how you know the nominee.
Please provide first name of the alumnus you are nominating.
Please provide last name of the alumnus you are nominating.
Please provide the email address for the nominated alumnus.
OR Upload Alumnus Nomination (500 words or less)
Maximum upload size: 33.55MB

2019 Selection Committee Members

  • Kurt T. Dirks, Vice Chancellor for International Affairs; Director, McDonnell International Scholars Academy; Bank of America Professor of Leadership
  • James V. Wertsch, David R. Francis Distinguished Professor; Director Emeritus, McDonnell International Scholars Academy
  • Laura Benoist, Associate Director, McDonnell International Scholars Academy

If you have any questions about the awards selection process, please contact Angie Rahaman.