2019 Annual Dinner
The 2019 Weidenbaum Center Annual Dinner will be held on March 25. We are honored to host Mark S. Wrighton, the 14th chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis, as our keynote speaker.Chancellor Wrighton started his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1972 as assistant professor of chemistry. In 1989 he was appointed the first holder of the Ciba-Geigy Chair in Chemistry while heading the Department of Chemistry from 1987-90. He later became Provost of MIT in 1990.
He is the author or co-author of more than 300 articles published in professional and scholarly journals, and he holds 16 patents. Principal objectives of his research have been to elucidate the basic principles underlying the conversion of solar energy to chemical fuels and electricity, to discern new catalysts and ways of making them, to understand chemistry at interfaces, and to provide the knowledge base for development of new electro-chemical devices. Wrighton has lectured widely on his research work and has given more than 40 named lectureships at distinguished colleges and universities in the United States and other countries. He was a presidential appointee to the National Science Board (2000-06), which serves as science policy adviser to the president and Congress and is the primary advisory board to the National Science Foundation. While on the NSB, Wrighton chaired the Audit and Oversight Committee.
Chancellor Wrighton has received a wide array of public recognition for his research and educational achievements in the print media. He was profiled in the September 1980 issue of Fortune, where his efforts in duplicating photosynthesis were highlighted. In 1984, Science Digest included him as one of America’s brightest scientists under age 40, and in 1985 named him one of America’s top 100 innovators of the year. U.S. News and World Report featured Wrighton in a February 1988 cover story on “The New American Establishment,” and in Business Week’s 1989 special issue on “Innovation in America,” his work on molecular electronics was summarized and he was included as one of 10 innovators in science. He was included in Esquire’s 1989 Register along with 38 others “who are making America a smarter, healthier, wealthier, safer, livelier, prettier, all around interesting place to live.”
His list of awards and accomplishments are far too many to address here but to highlight just a few: The Eastern Missouri Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation named Chancellor Wrighton “Humanitarian of the Year 2000.” He was selected as the St. Louis “Citizen of the Year,” in 2007 – an annual award presented by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. For his outstanding contributions to both Washington University and the St. Louis region, Wrighton was chosen as the 2010 winner of the “Right Arm of St. Louis Award”—the most prestigious individual honor conferred by the St. Louis Regional Chamber.
University accomplishments during his tenure here include: a more than two-fold increase in undergraduate applications, more than 350 new endowed professorships for faculty, a redesigned Arts & Sciences curriculum, newly created programs in biomedical engineering, public health, American culture studies, and the completion of more than 50 new buildings for Arts & Sciences, business, design and visual arts, engineering, law, medicine, social work and residential life. He additionally was responsible for two major, multiyear fundraising initiatives to build resources for student scholarships, professorships, other endowed program support, and new buildings which raised more than 4 billion dollars collectively.