The mission of Washington University in St. Louis is to discover, disseminate, and apply knowledge in its many forms.

We protect freedom of inquiry through research, teaching, learning, and patient care, ensuring inclusive excellence and reflecting a diverse set of perspectives from individuals of all identities and backgrounds.

We believe that education is one of the greatest exports a society can provide and we are dedicated to solving the problems of today and tomorrow.

As such, Washington University’s faculty, students, and staff strive to enhance the lives and livelihoods of students and patients, the people of the greater St. Louis community, the state of Missouri, the country, and the world.

Our guiding principles

We hold fast to five pillars that must undergird any changes if we are to make substantive progress.

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA)

Washington University aspires to be a diverse community fully committed to the principles of equity, fairness, and inclusive excellence. As such, we actively pursue and value diversity, equity, and inclusion in our research, learning, and administrative environments so that we can benefit from the rich perspectives and contributions of all individuals.

Global Perspective

Washington University is firmly rooted in St Louis, but its vision of academic excellence extends beyond our local and national geography. We believe that the discovery and dissemination of knowledge is truly a global enterprise based on an environment of open collaboration and engagement with scholarship, challenges, and viewpoints around the world. We cherish the varied perspectives and practices that our international students, staff, and faculty bring to our community, and we value the intellectual fellowship we construct with our academic partners around the world.


Washington University rests on the contributions of many generations that pushed the boundaries of knowledge and service, guaranteed the free expression of ideas, and sacrificed time and effort to build our institution. We honor their careful stewardship by ensuring that the resources entrusted to our care grow in a sustainable way, guaranteeing that future generations will retain the ability to further the University’s mission in perpetuity.

Community Impact

Washington University aspires to have a positive impact on the growth pathway of each person in our community (faculty, staff, students, and patients) as well as on the lives of all members of the surrounding St. Louis community. We believe that our faculty, staff, and students are lifted up and inspired by local communities with which we engage, and we aspire to have mutually enhancing relationships that build both Washington University and the surrounding community.

Academic Distinction

Washington University strives for excellence in education, research, and patient care. This academic mission is the cornerstone of our institution – and the heart. It informs and inspires everything we do. Our strategic plan must reflect this and advance our proud legacy of academic distinction for many years to come.

Our goals

  • to welcome students, faculty, and staff from all backgrounds to create an inclusive, equitable community that is nurturing and intellectually rigorous
  • to foster excellence and creativity in our teaching, research, scholarship, patient care, and service
  • to prepare students with attitudes, skills, and habits of lifelong learning, critical and ethical thinking, and leadership, thereby enabling them to be productive members and leaders of a global society
  • to be an institution that excels by its accomplishments and positive impact in our home community, St. Louis, Missouri, as well as across the nation and the world.

To this end, we intend:

  • to judge ourselves by the most exacting standards 
  • to attract and retain people of great ability from diverse backgrounds
  • to encourage faculty, staff, and students to be innovative, bold, independent, and critical thinkers
  • to provide an exemplary, respectful, inclusive, equitable, ethically principled, and responsive environment for living, teaching, learning, and working for present and future generations
  • to focus on meaningful and measurable results for all of our endeavors