FRONTRUNNERS — Summer 2003
   

  Campuses See Building Booms

Building ... forever building. That's an apt description of the University throughout its history. In 1854, when University founders first met, they decided to acquire land at 17th Street and Washington Avenue, an area becoming fashionable, for the University's first building. Opening in 1856, the building, which housed the Academic Department, became known as Academic Hall. The department admitted boys only, serving as a preparatory school. It came to be known as the Academy, and later Smith Academy; in 1859, the University opened a counterpart school for women, Mary Institute, named after University co-founder William Greenleaf Eliot's daughter, Mary. Other buildings followed.
Arts & Sciences Laboratory Science Building, newly completed, provides laboratories and classrooms for chemistry and other students.

In 1891, Chancellor Winfield Scott Chaplin envisioned a new campus for the University. He argued that the smoke, dirt, and noise downtown hindered teaching and that nearby traffic almost totally precluded reliable scientific experiments. Also, the neighborhood had deteriorated, giving way to saloons, boarding houses, and gambling dens. He lobbied for a "great university" in which the "structures [were] grand" and "surroundings beautiful." In 1894, the Board agreed to acquire a tract of land at St. Louis' western limits, "just beyond Tom Skinker's Road."
The St. Louis Medical College moved into this building in 1892, a year after affiliating with Washington University.

The laying of the cornerstone of Busch Hall, the first building on the new campus, was in 1900. (Adolphus Busch donated the building as a chemistry laboratory.) With new buildings rising on the Hilltop Campus, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company leased the campus to augment space in Forest Park for the 1904 World's Fair—an economic boon to the University. Classes on the Hilltop began early in 1905.

The building for the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences in Arts & Sciences, to the northeast of Brookings Hall, is to be completed in spring 2004.

Because aspirations for the medical school also were rising, the University acquired land for a new medical facility near the site for Barnes Hospital. The new plant was ready late in 1914, and ever since, buildings and aspirations for the School of Medicine have indeed gone up.

Recently, BJC HealthCare and the School wrapped up Phase I of a $345 million plan to transform the medical complex. As part of the plan, the Center for Advanced Medicine, which includes the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, was completed in 2001. Under construction now is a 224-room hotel for patients and others. Next year, construction is expected to begin on a Learning and Teaching Center for medical students.
The reading room of the Kenneth and Nancy Kranzberg Information Center will be housed in the Museum Building, which, along with a new School of Art Building and three existing halls, newly renovated, will comprise the Sam Fox Arts Center on the Hilltop Campus.

On the Hilltop Campus, buildings for law, executive education, and residential housing, in addition to major renovations, have been completed since 1997. In the 2002-2003 academic year, the Uncas A. Whitaker Hall for Biomedical Engineering and the Arts & Sciences Laboratory Science Building were completed.

Among projects in progress are the Earth & Planetary Sciences Building, a new residence house on the South 40, and renovation of Olin Library. Construction of the Sam Fox Arts Center will begin as resources allow.

Between 1995 and 2004, the University will have invested $1.5 billion to erect 30 new buildings on its Hilltop and Medical campuses. Such development is allowing the University to keep pace with the needs and expectations of students and their families, the University community, and the world at large.

Athletic Teams Set Records

 

Since 1989 women's volleyball teams have won seven national championships.

For the past 15 years, fans of University teams have had it good ... very good. Volleyball, men's and women's basketball, and football teams have led the winning ways, becoming frequent national and/or UAA champions.

Early on, however, sports were exclusively intramural and student-organized. The Washington Baseball Club and Rowing Club appeared sporadically, and it wasn't until 1890 that football became the University's first intercollegiate sport. Basketball followed in 1905. From 1900 on, losing seasons far outnumbered winning seasons.
This 1890-1891 football team stirred enthusiasm by defeating archrival Missouri on Thanksgiving Day, 1890.

In 1925, teams came to be known as Bears rather than Pikers, a reference to the World's Fair midway, and, in the 1930s, the football team enjoyed its second winning season since 1905.

In the 1940s, the University reaffirmed its "strictly amateur" status, and, in 1975, varsity sports for women began. In 1985 the University played a major role in creating what is now the University Athletic Association (UAA). For years, University players have won awards for academic and athletic prowess. University players have reaped accolades both for their academic and athletic achievements.

University Grows in Stature

Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and his wife, Risa Zwerling Wrighton, greet India's first lady, Usha Narayanan, and President Shri K.R. Narayanan in New Delhi at the University's International Advisory Council for Asia meeting in March 2001. At center is host Gurpreet Singh, M.B.A. '54.

In its beginning, the University was for local students. Today, its 12,767 students represent wide diversity in geography and all other aspects. Renowned worldwide for academic excellence, the University is ranked among the nation's top universities.
Because most of its students were local until about 1960, the University was once called a "streetcar college."

Underlying its success is its public service. From the beginning, including its major role in St. Louis' cultural flowering between 1900 and 1915, to today, when many international ties have been forged, the University has reflected co-founder William Greenleaf Eliot's philosophy that the University is a work for the "direct public good."

Law School Shows Gains

In 1936 law school Dean Joseph A. McClain had the truly bright idea of roviding hands-on training for law students, but a lack of funds doomed it.

Happily, his idea is thriving in today's School of Law. Through seven clinical programs, students can practice lawyering skills—locally, nationally, and internationally—while helping the disadvantaged. Under direct faculty supervision, students have opportunities to do such things as engage in civil-rights litigation; assist abused women with legal matters; spend a semester working on Capitol Hill; and draft environmental legislation.

In contrast, the first class of law students, which numbered 12 and began in 1867 at the downtown St. Louis campus, went to school part-time and had only "blackboard instruction."
An early School of Law class contrasts with today's diverse students, who apply skills in programs such as Trial and Advocacy.

Today's learning environment features Anheuser-Busch Hall, a state-of-the-art facility. The School's 829 students are talented, and their studies include innovative interdisciplinary ones on topics such as globalization, genome research, and intellectual property rights.

In its current first-year class, women make up 48 percent and minorities make up 19 percent. (Women students, though admitted as early as 1869, were rare until after 1945.)

What has remained constant is the School's strong commitment to understanding law in the context of society and to providing equal access to justice.

Diversity Enriches University Community

Just a glance at the Student Union's list of nearly 200 student groups gives a bird's-eye view of the University's broad diversity. For example, students from each of 14 nations and regions of Southeast Asia have formed groups, as have students from each of six nations from the Middle East. Asian Americans also have a group. In addition, there are eight groups formed by African-American students, as well as the Pan-African Student Association, and there is the Association of Latin American Students. Campus groups also represent a wide variety of religious faiths, political affiliations, gender issues, social concerns, and community-service organizations.
Chancellor William H. Danforth chats with two students at an event for resident advisors in 1975.

Of freshmen entering in 2002, multicultural or international students made up 27 percent. (The class consisted of 1,342 members selected from more than 19,500 applicants, evenly divided between women and men.) All told, students and faculty come from more than 110 countries, and students come from all 50 states.

Diversity also is reflected in course offerings and library holdings. For instance, University Libraries holds the archives of the late Henry E. Hampton, Jr., A.B. '61, the distinguished documentary filmmaker. Of interest to scholars worldwide, the Hampton archives include the 14-part series Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, which won 20 major awards and attracted 20 million viewers when it was broadcast on PBS.
Events such as an American Indian powwow, sponsored by the Buder Center for American Indian Studies, celebrate diversity.

The University's current heterogeneity exemplifies the inclusiveness present at the founding and early years of the institution. Women were admitted to the study of law as early as 1869, and, by the 1880s, they were present in force in the Collegiate Department and in the School of Fine Arts. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, at least 10 African Americans and a small number of Asian-American and Latin-American students attended the University, as did a significant number of Jewish students. (The latter's access to many eastern schools was limited by a quota system.)

Racially inclusive admissions policies, however, ended in 1912, when the University described itself as "exclusively for white students," even though it continued to admit Native Americans, Asians, and Hispanics. The University's professional divisions, except for social work and fine arts, continued to be overwhelmingly male.

From the late 1920s, the School of Medicine has had a diverse student body, but, for all other University areas, desegregation was essentially a post-World War II development. By fall 1950 all graduate and professional schools were open to all races; in fall 1952 the first African-American undergraduates were admitted to the University; and, in 1954, all support services were desegregated.

Reaffirming the University's commitment to diversity, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton says: "We aim to reflect and benefit from diversity. By creating and sustaining diversity, we create an environment in which students learn to understand and accommodate varied points of view—a crucial skill for citizens and leaders in the 21st century."

Engineering New Discoveries

From the outset, University founders emphasized "useful knowledge," so it's no surprise that the O'Fallon Polytechnic Institute, the forerunner of the University's School of Engineering & Applied Science (SEAS), was the University's first principal functioning department.
Today's biomedical and other engineering facilities utilize high technology that began with early computing systems (right).

Known first as a night school for working "mechanics," the School's graduates had many successes, such as developing a water-purification system that supplied clean water from St. Louis' water mains for the first time, just before the 1904 World's Fair.

Today, SEAS, whose nine academic departments include 1,100 undergraduates and 581 graduate students, grants diplomas to a quarter of the University's graduates.

Among other things, SEAS is developing innovative ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease; using nanotechnology to improve manufacturing processes; creating urban systems; developing devices to improve national security and devices to reduce pollution; applying physics to biological systems; decoding signals from the universe; and studying complex systems such as the U.S. economy and a space voyage.

The technological nature of the world and its internationalization present great opportunities to educate engineers who will enhance the quality of life, create wealth and opportunities, and improve the human condition.

Medical School Sets the Pace

If Henry Pritchett, Robert S. Brookings, and David F. Houston were alive today, they'd surely look at the School of Medicine and be glad they heeded advice in Abraham Flexner's report.
Researchers are developing the ability to diagnose disease before symptoms occur.

Flexner, who visited the School twice in 1909 as part of a study of medical education commissioned by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, made strong recommendations for change.

Pritchett, the former University professor cum president of the foundation who hired Flexner, joined with Brookings, president of the University's Board of Directors from 1895-1928, and Houston, chancellor from 1908-1913, in betting the University's institutional reputation on medicine. Convinced that it offered the University the greatest opportunity for immediate distinction, they played key roles in transforming the Medical Department into a modern medical school.

Five years later, in 1914, the medical school had a new, modern physical plant at Euclid Avenue; had developed a new curriculum; was developing an adequate endowment; was attracting esteemed faculty; and was associated with Barnes Hospital, opened in 1915.

Arthur Kornberg shared the 1959 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work in the biological sciences.

In succeeding years, School researchers, including 17 Nobel laureates, have had many medical firsts. They created the first PET scanner, a device that images the brain at work. They were among the first to give patients insulin for diabetes. They, along with international teams, announced the first working draft of the human genome. They uncovered key players in programmed cell death and discovered how cancer cells avoid the self-destruct signal. They developed a rating scale used worldwide to diagnose Alzheimer's disease, and now they are developing a blood test to diagnose and potentially treat the disease before symptoms appear.

Ongoing research also includes identifying the role of ethnicity in response to drugs; developing and using new minimally invasive surgery techniques; and developing and implementing activity-based rehabilitation for stroke patients and those with spinal-cord injury.

During fiscal 2002, the School of Medicine received $305.3 million in research grants from the National Institutes of Health, and, in April 2003, the School tied with Johns Hopkins School of Medicine for second in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Pritchett, Brookings, and Houston certainly would be proud.

Arts & Sciences—at the Heart of Things

Throughout the University's history, its founders and chancellors have agreed that the area of arts and sciences is the heart of the University. It embraces language and literature, history, education, culture, mathematics, and the social, natural, and life sciences—areas central to all human endeavor.
The biology department in Arts & Sciences and its chairman, Ralph S. Quatrano (right), the Spencer T. Olin Professor, are world-renowned for exciting discoveries in plant science.

Even so, for two-thirds of a century, other schools within the University eclipsed the University's Collegiate Department, the forerunner of Arts & Sciences, in number of students and prestige. The department graduated its first class, of five students, in 1862, nine years after the University's founding.

To boost sluggish enrollment in the 1870s, University administrators established a short-lived degree program that didn't require the study of Greek and did permit some choice of courses. The decision in 1870 to admit women ultimately increased enrollment, and, in 1898, the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences began.

Another strategy to increase enrollment was the move, in 1905, to the Hilltop Campus, which was designed for the Collegiate Department and the Polytechnic School, the forerunner of the School of Engineering. The biggest boost, though, came during the prosperous years of the "Roaring '20s," when undergraduate enrollment rose to 1,500—thrice what it was a decade earlier.
Charles Branch (left) and his twin, Henry, were among the first graduates of the Collegiate Department.

In the 1960s, Arts & Sciences and other schools benefited from the faculty-recruiting talent of Chancellor Thomas H. Eliot, a distant relative of co-founder William Greenleaf Eliot. Enrollment in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences rose 40 percent between 1961 and 1968, and, signaling a rise in research stature, 166 Ph.D. degrees were conferred in 1970-1971. The period after 1985 saw a renaissance in Arts & Sciences.

Today, the fortunes of Arts & Sciences' 21 academic departments, 19 interdisciplinary programs, and six centers have improved. In the fall of 2002, there were 3,551 undergraduates in Arts & Sciences—49 percent of all undergraduates—and there were 1,467 students in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences—26 percent of all graduate students. Arts & Sciences also includes University College, which serves part-time, evening, and summer-school students of all ages.

A major development in 2001 was the introduction of a new undergraduate curriculum, which features interdisciplinary work. It retains basic requirements but adds greater flexibility as students choose courses or clusters in areas of natural sciences, social sciences, textual and historical studies, and languages and arts.

All College of Arts & Sciences students can strike an individualized path. Whether a student wants to understand the conditions that contribute to the success and failure among African-American students in public schools, to study what it means to be an American, to see how mathematics is helping improve plastic surgery, to better understand the beginning of the universe, to see how neuroscience is explaining memory functions, to revel in the performing arts, or explore many other areas, Arts & Sciences offers infinite possibilities.

Social Work and Business Double the Success

Business and social work didn't seem like an odd couple in 1917. That's when the School of Commerce and Finance was founded, and it included courses in social work.
Business students in 1968 use early computing equipment.

In 1925 social work became a department within the (by then) School of Business and Public Administration. And in 1927, a B.S. degree in social work was offered. The next year, the department became the George Warren Brown Department of Social Work. (The shoe magnate's widow, Bettie Bofinger Brown, made a substantial gift in his memory, and, later, her own bequest enabled the construction of George Warren Brown Memorial Hall.)

In 1945 it became a school unto itself, and, in 1998, it added Alvin Goldfarb Hall. For many years, the School has been considered one of the very top in the nation.

The business school has forged its own way into the top tier of management education. It instituted an M.B.A. program in 1950 and a doctoral program in 1958, but the School was housed in a 1902 dormitory, and its growth was slow.

A business task force in 1981 changed all that. It convinced University trustees to make having a nationally recognized business school a top priority.
Enola Proctor (left), Ph.D. '68, the Frank J. Bruno Professor of Social Work Research, directs mental-health programs.

In 1983, John E. Simon Hall was completed, and, in 1988, the School was named in honor of benefactor and trustee John M. Olin. In the 1980s the Olin School of Business saw substantial increases in undergraduate and graduate enrollment, and it began an Executive M.B.A. (EMBA) program. In 2001, the Charles F. Knight Executive Education Center, a first-class residential learning facility, was completed, and, in 2002, an EMBA program co-sponsored with Fudan University in Shanghai began.

Today, ties between business and social work remain, especially through the M.B.A./M.S.W. degree program. Given present economic and social trends, many collaborative opportunities may be in their future.

Grand Plans Call for Generous Gifts

In January 1885, William Greenleaf Eliot, co-founder of Washington University, wrote to his Board of Directors: "What Washington University has done and is now doing, though restricted in all its action by insufficiency of income, is an earnest of what it might do if amply endowed. It might exert and ought to exert a commanding influence, not only in St. Louis but in the whole valley of the Mississippi."

And he added, "... we need an additional endowment, for specific and general uses, of at least Five Hundred Thousand dollars."

In September 1998, more than 113 years later, Sam Fox, chairman of the public phase of the Campaign for Washington University, quoted Eliot at the kickoff of the current fund-raising campaign and told volunteers: "I might have said that a little differently. I might have said, 'If we had more gas, we could have gone a lot farther.' And that is what this Campaign is all about. Not so that we can boast about how much we raised. Not to move up on the list of universities with the largest endowments. But rather so that Washington University can do even more to make this a better country, a better society, and—Yes!—a better world."

This time, like always, alumni and friends are responding enthusiastically to the University's fund-raising initiative—with generosity—to further the same mission. They are extending a Washington University tradition of, as Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton puts it, "nourishing one of the world's premier universities."

The challenge now is to fulfill the University's promise in the 21st century by meeting the need for scholarships, professorships, unrestricted funds for academic programs, and physical facilities.