Risa Zwerling Wrighton

Impactful Leadership

Risa Zwerling was raised in New York City and attended Barnard College, where she received a bachelor’s of arts (AB) in Psychology in 1970.  She received her masters of social work (MSW) from the University of Maryland in 1975. Ms. Zwerling worked as a medical and psychiatric social worker in Baltimore, MD and St. Louis, MO.  She received a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Washington University in St. Louis, MO in 1989.  Ms. Zwerling combined both her social work and business experience and has worked for 14 years at Magellan Health Services as the Director of Program Development where she developed mental health and work life programs for large corporate employers to assist them in maintaining healthy workforces.  She retired from Magellan in 2006.

Ms. Zwerling, MSW, MBA is married to Mark Wrighton, Chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis.  At Washington University, Risa has worked as a 4-year academic advisor and supports a wide range of initiatives at the university.  She is the founder of Home Plate, where she places hundreds of students each year with families for a “touch of home away from home.”  She also supports student run fundraisers, such as Relay for Life, Dance Marathon and Mr. and Ms. Wash U.  In 2015, she spearheaded Washington University’s year- long gun violence prevention initiative to address gun violence as a public health crisis.  This project has led to a community wide collaboration with United Way agencies which continue this effort.  Ms. Zwerling is currently on the boards of Our Little Haven, Provident, Inc., and has been involved in mentoring disadvantaged youth through “Aging Out” and “Discovering Options” programs.  She has also been active in the Jewish Federation, the Center for Creative Arts and Central Reform Congregation.