“At the beginning of my chancellorship in 1995, we decided to be more proactive in seeking relationships with universities, governments and businesses. The initial focus, in fact, was on Asia,” recalled Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) Chancellor Mark Wrighton, also one of the longest-serving chancellors of a top American university.
Today, the centerpiece of WUSTL’s international agenda is the McDonnell International Scholars Academy, which brings the brightest students from 28 universities from all over the world — 17 of which are from Asia — to St. Louis not only to pursue excellence in their chosen field, but also to interact with their contemporaries in order to gain a deeper understanding of each other and the United States.
With its rich 161-year history, WUSTL today has 13,000 students engaged in both undergraduate and post-graduate courses.
Among its seven schools, the university is most recognized for its School of Medicine, best known for its strength in genetics, genomics and Alzheimer’s disease research, as well as the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, America’s third largest. Another noted school within the WUSTL system is the Brown School of Social Work, the top-ranked school of its kind in America.
Given WUSTL’s continued success, opportunities for collaboration continue to multiply internationally, a move that is strongly encouraged by its leadership.
“For Japan, we see opportunities for collaborating with a number of institutions in addressing major global challenges such as energy, the environment and sustainability, population aging, food and water security and public health. [There] is a great opportunity to collaborate in the area of Alzheimer’s research, for example,” said Wrighton.
Having already established a strong connection with the University of Tokyo through the McDonnell International Scholars Academy, among other partnerships with Waseda University and Keio University, WUSTL maintains a strong interest in expanding its ties with Japan.
“We want to continue to build on those relationships. We are also promoting multilateral partnerships,” said Wrighton.