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Washington University Chancellor Wrighton announces retirement plan

Washington University Chancellor Mark Wrighton (left) spoke with education reporter Dale Singer (right) on "St. Louis on the Air" on Aug. 24, 2015.
File | Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio
Washington University Chancellor Mark Wrighton, left, during an interview with former St. Louis Public Radio reporter Dale Singer on "St. Louis on the Air" in August 2015.

Washington University Chancellor Mark Wrighton is planning to retire after two decades leading the school.

Wrighton told Washington University’s board of trustees of his decision to step down on Friday, the 22nd anniversary of being inaugurated chancellor. He was hired in 1995.

Wrighton, 68, will step down no later than July 1, 2019, according to a news release from the university. That allows time for him to oversee the completion of the school's $2.5 billion fundraising effort.

“I am very proud of the progress that has been made at Washington University during my years as chancellor,” Wrighton said in a statement.

During his tenure at Wash U, the university’s endowment grew along with the number of applications and the size of the faculty. He also oversaw a construction boom around campus.

Wrighton “has represented the very best of Washington University, and has given the university community – students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends – so many reasons to be proud,” said Board of Trustees Chair Craig Schnuck, who will lead the search for a new chancellor.

Wrighton is Washington University’s 14th chancellor — and the second-longest serving. He replaced William Danforth, who had lead the school since 1971. Danforth called Wrighton “competent and very hard-working.”

A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Wrighton received degrees in chemistry. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and a doctorate degree from California Institute of Technology .

He led the chemistry department at MIT and became provost in 1990, a position he held until being hired by Washington University.

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @rpatrickdelaney

Ryan was an education reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.

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