Andrew D. Martin
Excerpted from the 2021-2022 Endowment Annual Report
At Washington University in St. Louis, we are privileged to witness the world’s brightest minds at work, collaborating daily to create knowledge and advance solutions for a brighter future. The excellence and dedication of our students, faculty, and staff, when supported by our vast community of alumni and friends, will shape the world in ways that will ripple outward indefinitely.
This time last year, we shared the exciting news of our record-breaking endowment return for fiscal year 2021, and indeed, we’re still celebrating the long-term impact of the last five years of solid endowment returns. You may recall that the burst of momentum from our endowment return resulted in Gateway to Success, a $1 billion investment in student financial aid and a shift to a need-blind undergraduate admissions model. I am proud that the first class recruited under this model is the most accomplished and diverse in WashU’s history, with a record 20% of students meeting Pell Grant eligibility (a marker of financial need), a whopping 15 percentage-point increase from a decade ago. Fifteen percent of students in the Class of 2026 are the first in their family to attend college, and more than half identify as students of color or multi-ethnicity. We are so glad this exceptional group of scholars has chosen to bring their gifts to bear on our WashU mission.
We’re celebrating, too, the Oct. 3 launch of Here and Next, Washington University’s bold and ambitious strategic vision for our next decade of growth, distinction, and service. Here and Next harnesses the power of our people to transform individuals, families, and communities — especially our home community of St. Louis — and to contribute innovative solutions for humanity’s toughest challenges. Here and Next will drive initiatives like the creation of a new school of public health; an institute for digital transformation; a center for the study of environment and climate change; and a St. Louis teaching and research hub that will partner with and support local communities to advance opportunity and equity for all St. Louisans.
As we look to the future of Washington University, we know our students are at the heart of all we do. These leaders of tomorrow will ask the questions and find the answers to address the scientific, social, medical, and emerging challenges of our world, and we are honored to come alongside them through Make Way: Our Student Initiative. Through this focused fundraising campaign, we aim to offer the most supportive student experience in higher ed in order to attract the very best students to WashU, support their health and wellness, minimize or eliminate their debt, and enhance our diversity. I know that many of you will join us in these efforts, and on behalf of Washington University and our students, I thank you.
As we reflect on the past year and look to the future, it’s clear that WashU needs to remain ready to make bold moves when opportunities arise, especially in light of our tumultuous economy. That requires our leaders and stakeholders to remain aligned around a common mission to act in service of truth through the formation of leaders, the discovery of knowledge, and the treatment of patients for the betterment of our region, our nation, and our world. When we all deeply believe in our potential to fulfill that mission, our university and its people will meet the moment. That moment is now, and I am tremendously grateful for the WashU community for the many ways it comes alongside us to propel us forward together.
Andrew D. Martin