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Mark Stephen Wrighton (born 1949) is an Americanmarker academic, a chemist, and the current Chancellor of Washington University in St. Louismarker. Born in Jacksonville, Floridamarker, Wrighton received his B.S. in Chemistry from Florida State Universitymarker in 1969. While at Florida State, he won the Monsanto Chemistry Award for outstanding research. He received his Ph.D at the age of 22 from the California Institute of Technologymarker, working under Harry B. Gray and George S. Hammond. His doctoral dissertation subject was Photoprocesses in Metal-Containing Molecules. He graduated from Caltech in 1972.

Wrighton joined the faculty of the chemistry department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technologymarker in the fall of 1972 as an assistant professor. In 1976, he was promoted to associate professor and was made a full professor the following year. Wrighton held the Frederick G. Keyes Chair in Chemistry from 1981 to 1989, when he was given the newly endowed Ciba-Geigy Chair in Chemistry.

Wrighton's research interests are centered around photochemistry and metal catalysts. He has written more than 300 journal articles and holds 14 patents. During his time at MIT, Wrighton supervised the doctoral research of more than 70 students.

In 1987, Wrighton became the head of MIT's chemistry department. He became MIT's provost in 1990. In 1995, he left MIT to become chancellor of Washington University in St. Louismarker. In early 2007 Wrighton had been mentioned as a candidate for Harvard Universitymarker's presidency.

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Criticisms

He has faced some criticism from student publications for not spending enough time interacting with students. Wrighton was heavily criticised by conservative students for his use of university letterhead to endorse the Missouri proposition on stem cell research. Wrighton was also criticized in May 2008 when the university's Board of Trustees voted to honor alumna Phyllis Schlafly with an honorary doctorate, which led to outrage by liberals opposed to her stands on gender issues and by many other members of the university community because of her disbelief in evolution. Wrighton distanced himself from the board's decision with a letter to the community disavowing Schlafly's views on science.

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