FEATURES • Winter 2000

By Marvin Meinz

The impact of the Campaign for Washington University is already being felt across the Hilltop and Medical campuses. This unprecedented early success has enabled Washington University trustees to set a new Campaign target of $1.3 billion.

Take a walk across the Hilltop Campus from Skinker Boulevard to Big Bend or drive down Kingshighway along the Medical Campus, and you will see gaping holes in the ground, mounds of dirt, cranes with long booms overhead, and construction workers. Those are just the most visible signs of how the Campaign for Washington University is helping the University better serve its students and the wider world.

Less visible, but arguably more important, is what the Campaign's early success is allowing the University to do in its classrooms and laboratories. All you have to do is watch an energized faculty member—many are holders of the 83 new endowed professorships established during the Campaign—engaging some of the nation's, and the world's, most talented students in exciting new courses and programs.

For instance, Henry (Roddy) L. Roediger, III, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Department of Psychology in Arts & Sciences, is one of the world's leading memory researchers. Recruited from Rice University in 1996, Roediger's mandate was to build the psychology department, newly housed in a modern $28 million building, into a world-class force. A recent report in Change, by two historians at Vanderbilt University, says that is indeed happening. Based on the number of citations garnered by faculty, Washington University's Department of Psychology is ranked No. 2 in the United States. And, according to Roediger, if the data were calculated before Larry L. Jacoby, one of the most eminent cognitive psychologists in the world, was recruited from McMaster University in Canada earlier this year, "we could conceivably be No. 1 now."

Among the many talented undergraduate students on campus is Tanisha Lewis. When Lewis graduated from McAdory High School in Bessemer, Alabama, with a 4.47 GPA in 1998, she was offered admission to Washington University and nine other colleges, including Harvard, Dartmouth, and Emory. Her decision came down to Harvard or Washington University because she thought she "would get an equally good education enrolling at either one." Thanks in part to a John B. Ervin Scholarship, among the $76.1 million in new scholarship endowment secured to date during the Campaign, her choice was Washington University. She is a junior studying business.

An exciting program—not new, but newly emphasized—that is being enhanced by the Campaign is cancer research. To date, School of Medicine investigators have made major advances in the battle against cancer. Now, thanks to a $35 million investment by Alvin and Ruth Siteman, the new cancer center that is being established will almost double the space currently devoted to cancer research and patient care at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. For patients in St. Louis and the Midwest, the benefits of a world leader for research in cancer diagnosis, treatment, and education are obvious. The Sitemans' $35 million gift is part of the more than $340 million in gifts and commitments already secured for academic program support.


"Our responsibility is to strengthen Washington University so that it can better serve humanity."
Biomedical engineering is the new initiative that perhaps best typifies the impact the Campaign is having. In 1997, Frank C-P Yin, the Stephen F. and Camilla T. Brauer Professor of Biomedical Engineering, was recruited from Johns Hopkins University to build the new Department of Biomedical Engineering. Yin is recognized worldwide for his contributions to biomechanics and cardiovascular research. The department is already highly regarded nationally, and both graduate and undergraduate enrollment is steadily increasing. In 1999, the Whitaker Foundation awarded two major grants to ensure the success of the department—$10 million toward the construction of Uncas A. Whitaker Hall for Biomedical Engineering and $3 million to assist in recruiting new faculty.

These are just four examples of how the Campaign for Washington University is accelerating the University's ascent among the world's premier universities. Chairman of the Board of Trustees John F. McDonnell says, "The entire Washington University community should be very proud of what has already been achieved. All of us associated with the University are extremely grateful to all those who have contributed to this stunning success. But there is so much more we must do. Success brings with it great responsibility—a duty to ensure that we are good stewards of what we have and the obligation to continue to improve. Our responsibility is to strengthen Washington University so that it can better serve humanity. That is why we must raise the Campaign goal."

Project 21, the University's long-range strategic planning process that preceded the Campaign identified more than $1.5 billion in high-priority needs and opportunities. To date, more than 65,000 alumni, friends, parents, faculty, and staff have made gifts and commitments of $929.4 million.

Marvin Meinz is director of special development communications projects at the University.

 

Photo left: Progress was made on a major Campaign initiative—the advancement of biomedical engineering—when ground was broken for Uncas A. Whitaker Hall for Biomedical Engineering on October 2, 2000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Campaign directly helps students through scholarship support. Tanisha Lewis, Class of '02, received a John B. Ervin Scholarship. She chose Washington University from among 10 college offers because it felt like home.