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
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 Fairan 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
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.
Since 1989 women's volleyball teams have
won seven national championships.
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
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
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
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.
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
|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
skillslocally, nationally, and internationallywhile
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
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
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
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
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 viewa 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
|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
|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
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
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
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
Arts & Sciencesat 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 sciencesareas 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 1,500thrice what it was a decade earlier.
|Charles Branch (left)
and his twin, Henry, were among the first graduates of the Collegiate
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 & Sciences49 percent of all undergraduatesand there
were 1,467 students in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences26
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
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
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
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, andYes!a better world."
This time, like always, alumni and friends are
responding enthusiastically to the University's fund-raising initiativewith
generosityto 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