Robert L. Virgil Jr., PhD, arrived at Washington University in St. Louis five decades ago as an MBA student. Today, as emeritus trustee, dean and professor, he continues to serve WUSTL in numerous roles since his “retirement” in 1993. Most recently, he chaired the Campaign Committee for the Danforth University Center, which opened last August. Virgil received an honorary doctor of laws degree in 2009.
Creating new opportunities for Olin Business School students
His second career as a partner in the Edward Jones investment firm followed a distinguished career at the Olin School, where students elected him “Teacher of the Year” nine times.
An equally gifted administrator, Virgil’s tenure as dean marked a period of vibrant growth for Olin with an endowment surge from $200,000 to $75 million and the construction of Simon Hall.
He initiated the executive master of business administration and expanded the experiential learning programs that remain hallmarks of the school today.
In addition to leadership roles with multiple civic and educational concerns, including The Magic House, City Academy and Harris-Stowe State University, Virgil served as a director and chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and chair of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management.
He has been recognized for his service to Washington University with numerous honors, including the William Greenleaf Eliot Society’s “Search” Award in 2001 and a Distinguished Alumni Award from Olin.
He and his wife, Gerry, received the school’s Dean’s Medal in 1996 and upon his retirement, friends and alumni established an endowed scholarship in the couple’s name. In 2004, friends established the Geraldine J. and Robert L. Virgil Professorship in Accounting and Management, which is held by Mahendra R. Gupta, PhD, Olin’s dean.