Dean of Faculty of Arts and Science Washington University in St. Louis
considers himself a product of public education, despite having spent the last 10 years employed at private universities.
attended college on a combination of scholarships, work-study funds and loans.
made it clear that he
considers financial aid a priority.
As the dean of the faculty of arts and sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, Wihl said he donates 30 percent of his salary to aid undergraduates.
In order to retain undergraduates at a university of this scale - which had roughly four times as many undergraduates as his
current school, according to fall 2010 enrollment statistics - Wihl wants to increase the student to-faculty-ratio through freshman seminars and independent study.
said the challenge is to make sure students aren't lost in the size of the school and class options.
"I think it trumps, in my view, just about every other issue that attaches to undergraduate education," Wihl
also hopes to "break away from the pack" with an interdisciplinary approach to graduate programs.
"He really focused on a certain number of high-profile matters, and that paid off," said professor Joe Manca, who worked closely with Wihl during his six years as dean at Rice University.
"I think one perspective that I bring to a job like this is the fact that I can translate well between different sectors of the University," Wihl
said, stressing his
interdisciplinary work between areas like business and medicine.
Wihl earned his doctorate in English from Yale University in 1983.
He earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees in English from McGill University in Quebec in 1976 and 1978, respectively.