Here at Washington University in St. Louis, we know that being diverse is one thing — and equity and inclusion are another. As a community committed to the relentless pursuit of excellence, we must be a diverse community. We must also be a community where all people feel represented, valued and included as equal members. As a local community, a nation and as a university, in some key areas, we have come a long way. Still, in too many respects, we have a long way to go. But we must continue to prioritize the important work we do every day to embrace diversity, equity and inclusion as central and guiding principles of this university.
Embracing diversity and inclusion is not just something we do because we should or because it’s the right thing to do. It is essential to human flourishing and progress. Empirical evidence has shown us that, when they utilize their differences effectively, diverse teams perform better than homogenous ones. When we surround ourselves with people who think, believe, look and act differently than us, we become more aware of our own perceptions and limitations. In turn, when we embrace all people, we become more empathetic, better problem solvers, better communicators, better teachers, better friends, better colleagues and better citizens. At a broader, institutional level, we move further along the path toward excellence.
To that end, as WashU’s chancellor, I commit to ensuring we build a community that is the best representation of our nation and world. I commit to recruiting the very best individuals regardless of background or previous opportunities. I commit to ensuring all people feel their voices and ideas are heard as well as their presence included. As a university, engaging in difficult conversations is central to our academic mission. However, these conversations can be especially challenging when they involve our fundamental identities and life experiences. I urge members of our community to engage in dialogue across difference with dignity, empathy and mutual respect.
This work is central to our mission as we continue to prepare values-oriented, compassionate individuals to be productive members of a global and rapidly changing society. I invite you to join me as we remain a renowned leader in this work and as we move along the path toward excellence in education, research and patient care.
Andrew D. Martin