Washington University’s Board of Trustees is the chief governing body of Washington University in St. Louis. As such, the Board provides strategic oversight in order to ensure the institution is moving in the right direction. The Board of Trustees authorizes many important aspects of university operations including amendments to the Charter and Bylaws and other major changes to the organization of the university, granting of diplomas and honorary degrees, approval of the budget and significant expenditures, and granting of tenure.

The Board of Trustees is made up of dedicated individuals from the corporate, educational, governmental and volunteer sectors of the St. Louis community, nationwide and abroad.  While many trustees are alumni of the university, alumni status is not a requirement. Responsibilities of trustees include faithful and consistent participation in Board and Committee meetings and a commitment to a deep understanding of the trends and issues facing not only the university, but also higher education generally.


May I nominate someone to become a trustee?

Yes. The Board of Trustees welcomes suggestions of individuals to be considered for trusteeship from any person or group associated with or interested in Washington University. This includes self-nominations.

If you’d like more information on the nomination process, please email Rebecca Brown.

What is the role of the trustees?

While administration, faculty, and staff of Washington University serve to implement and execute the operations of the university, the role of trustees is to help guide policy, provide oversight, and provide approval through vote.

Among its many responsibilities, the trustees of Washington University:

  • Appoint the chancellor
  • Review and approve or disapprove annual budgets
  • Review and approve or disapprove major capital expenditures
  • Make final decisions on awards of tenure and degrees, and on new degree programs
  • Oversee the university’s endowment
  • Take an interest in and support the university’s people and programs
Are students allowed to be trustees?

A select number of students are chosen each year to serve as representatives to the Board of Trustees. While the student representatives are not voting members of the Board, it is a distinct honor to be chosen as well as an opportunity to contribute to the work of the Board and to learn, first-hand, about the responsibilities of the chief policy-making body of the University. In addition to attending meetings, in some cases those representatives may also attend meetings of standing committees of the Board. 

How long do trustees serve?

A trustee term is four years. After completing one term, a trustee is eligible for election to one additional four-year term.

How often do trustees meet?

The full Board meets four times per year. The Executive Committee meets prior to each Board meeting and at least three additional times per year. Trustees also meet in their respective committees and other working groups at various points throughout the year. 

Who manages the endowment?

The Washington University Investment Management Company (WUIMC) was established in 2006 and manages the university’s endowment and related assets.  The Board of Trustees has delegated oversight of the university’s investment policy and strategy to WUIMC’s Board of Directors.  More information about the endowment, including an Annual Report, is available on the WUIMC webpage.