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Washington University in St. Louis
Latin: Universitas Washingtoniana
Motto Per veritatem vis
Motto in English Strength through truth
Established February 22, 1853
Type Private
Endowment U.S.$4.07 billion[1]
Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton
Provost Edward Macias
Faculty 3,170[2]
Staff 12,400[3]
Students 13,507[4]
Undergraduates 5,997[4]
Postgraduates 6,452[4]
Location United States St. Louis, MO, U.S.
Campus Urban and Suburban
2,335 acres (3.65 sq mi)
Danforth Campus, 169 acres (0.26 sq mi)
Medical Campus, 59 acres (0.09 sq mi) acres
Tyson Research Center, 2,000 acres (3.12 sq mi)
North Campus, 13 acres (0.02 sq mi)[5]
Former names Eliot Seminary, and Washington Institute.
Colors Red and Green          [6]
Nickname Wash U, WUSTL
Mascot Bears
Athletics NCAA Division III UAA
17 varsity teams (8 men's, 9 women's) as of Fall 2009[7]
Washington University in St. Louis logo.png

Washington University in St. Louis is a nonsectarian, private research university located in suburban St. Louis, Missouri. Founded in 1853, and named for George Washington, the university has students and faculty from all fifty U.S. states and more than one hundred and ten nations.[4] Twenty-two Nobel laureates have been affiliated with Washington University, nine doing the major part of their pioneering research at the university.[2] The university has an endowment of $4.07 billion, the 18th largest in the country.[8][9] In FY 2006 the National Science Foundation reported that the university received $434 million in Federal research funds, ranking sixth among private universities receiving federal research and development support, and in the top four in funding from the National Institutes of Health.[10]

Washington University is made up of seven graduate and undergraduate schools[11] that encompass a broad range of academic fields. Officially incorporated as "The Washington University", the university is commonly referred to as Wash. U. and occasionally WUSTL, all derived from the initials of the university's name. To prevent confusion over its location, the Board of Trustees added the phrase "in St. Louis" in 1976.[12]




Early History

Washington University was conceived by seventeen St. Louis business, political, and religious leaders concerned by the lack of institutions of higher learning in the Midwest. Missouri State Senator Wayman Crow and Unitarian minster William Greenleaf Eliot, grandfather of the Nobel Prize laureate poet T. S. Eliot, led the effort.

The university's first chancellor was Joseph Gibson Hoyt. Crow secured the university charter from the Missouri General Assembly in 1853 and handled further political maneuvering. While Eliot was in charge of raising funds for the university, he accepted the position as President of the Board of Trustees. Early on Eliot was able to solicit some support from the local business community, including John O'Fallon, one of the wealthiest people in St. Louis. He briefly considered naming the university the O'Fallon Institute, but Eliot failed to secure a permanent endowment. In fact Wash U is unique among major American universities in not having had a prior financial endowment to begin with. The institution had no backing of a religious organization, single wealthy patron, or earmarked government support. Financial problems plagued the university for several decades after its founding.

William Greenleaf Eliot, first president of the Board of Trustees

The name of the university was still unclear; in the three years following its inception, the university bore three different names. The board first approved Eliot Seminary, but this title was replaced by the Washington Institute, because of William Eliot's stiff opposition to the name. Not only was Eliot uncomfortable with naming a university after himself, but he objected to the establishment of a seminary, which would implicitly be charged with teaching a religious faith. He favored a non-sectarian university.[13] Under pressure from Eliot, the Board of Trustees created a task force charged with naming the university, headed by Samuel Treat.

Several months later Treat's committee proposed naming the University the Washington Institute, after the nation's first president George Washington. However, in the midst of finance problems the Board of Trustees voted to name the university the O'Fallon Institute to secure funds from John O'Fallon, the wealthiest individual in St. Louis. Treat believed the name was unsuitable and persuaded the board to drop the name in favor of the Washington Institute. Naming the University after the nation's first president, only six years before the American Civil War and during a time of bitter national division, was no coincidence. George Washington was universally admired by Americans and hailed as the father of America and the country's greatest president. Treat believed that the university should be a force of unity in a strongly divided Missouri.

In 1856 the University amended its name to Washington University. The university amended its name once more in 1976 when the Board of Trustees voted to add the suffix "in St. Louis" to distinguish the university from the nearly two dozen universities bearing Washington's name.[12]

Although sanctioned as a university, for years Washington University functioned primarily as a night school located on 17th Street and Washington Avenue, in the heart of the bustling St. Louis Downtown. Plagued by the lack of resources, the university was forced to use public buildings. Classes began on October 22, 1854 at the Benton School building. At first the university paid for the evening classes, but as their popularity grew, the bill was transferred to the St. Louis public schools.[14] Eventually the board was able to secure funds for the construction of Academic Hall and a half dozen other buildings. Later the university divided into three departments; the Manual Training School, Smith Academy, and the Mary Institute. In 1867 the university opened the first private non-sectarian law school west of the Mississippi River. By 1882 the university had expanded to numerous departments, housed in buildings spread across downtown St. Louis. However by the 1890s, the university was on the brink of financial collapse, until Robert Sommers Brookings, president of the Board of Trustees, undertook the task of rebuilding the university's finances and acquiring land for a new campus. Brookings was instrumental in raising money for the university, since Eliot, the primary fundraiser for the university, had died.

Modern era

Washington University spent its first half century in downtown St. Louis bound by Washington Ave., Lucas Place, and Locust Street. By the 1890s, due to the dramatic expansion of the Manual School, and a new benefactor in Robert Brookings, the University began to move west. The University Board of Directors began a process to find suitable ground, and hired the architecture firm Olmsted, Olmsted & Eliot of Boston. A committee of Robert S. Brookings, Henry Ware Eliot, and William Huse found a site of 103 acres (0.42 km2) just beyond Forest Park, located west of the city limits in St. Louis County. The elevation of the land was thought to resemble the Acropolis and inspired the nickname of "Hilltop" campus, renamed the Danforth campus in 2006 to honor former chancellor William "Bill" H. Danforth. In 1899 the university opened a design contest for the new campus. A plan for a row of quadrangles, submitted by Cope & Stewardson Philadelphia, won unanimously. The cornerstone of the first building, Busch Hall, was laid on October 20, 1900. The school delayed occupying Busch Hall until 1905 to accommodate the 1904 World's Fair and Olympics. The delay allowed the university to construct ten buildings instead of the seven originally planned.

Fitting for its national prominence gained since World War II, Washington University has been known to be a progressive campus, frequently inviting speakers such as NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, who received an honorary doctorate in 2000.[15] Washington University admitted its first women law students in 1869.[16] Washington University School of Medicine later admitted its first women medical students in 1918.[17] Washington University integrated St. Louis Jewish Hospital, a local pioneering institution, as a major affiliate in 1963.[18]

The process of desegregation at Washington University began after World War II in 1947 with the School of Medicine and the School of Social Work.[19] The university ended racial segregation in its undergraduate divisions in 1952, making it the last local institution of higher education to do so. During the mid- and late 1940s, the University was the target of critical editorials in the local African American press, letter-writing campaigns by churches and the local Urban League, and legal briefs by the NAACP intended to strip its tax-exempt status. In spring 1949, a Washington University student group, the Student Committee for the Admission of Negroes (SCAN), began campaigning for full racial integration. The administration continued to hold that full desegregation "would place the University outside of the community," as Vice-Chancellor Leslie Buchan claimed in 1951, and could spark "incidents on campus." However, under mounting internal and external pressure, the Board of Trustees in May 1952 passed a resolution desegregating the school's undergraduate divisions.[20]

U.S. Presidential and Vice Presidential debates

2008 Vice Presidential Debate at the Washington University Field House

Washington University has been selected by the Commission on Presidential Debates to host more Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates than any other institution in history.[21] The University has been selected to host a Presidential or Vice Presidential debate in every United States Presidential election since 1992. United States presidential election debates were held at the Washington University Athletic Complex in 1992, 2000, and 2004. A Presidential debate was planned to occur in 1996, but scheduling difficulties between the candidates canceled the debate.[22] The university hosted the only 2008 Vice Presidential debate, between Republican Sarah Palin, and Democrat Joe Biden, on October 2, 2008, also at the Washington University Athletic Complex.

Although Chancellor Wrighton has previously noted after the 2004 debate that it would be "improbable" that the University will host another debate and was not eager to commit to the possibility,[23] he subsequently changed his view and the University submitted a bid for the 2008 debates. "These one-of-a-kind events are great experiences for our students, they contribute to a national understanding of important issues, and they allow us to help bring national and international attention to the St. Louis region as one of America's great metropolitan areas," said Wrighton.[24]

Rankings and reputation

Seigle Hall, shared by the School of Law and the College of Arts and Sciences

University rankings (overall)

ARWU World[25] 29
ARWU North & Latin America[26] 22
Forbes[27] 45
Times Higher Education[28] 60
USNWR National University[29] 12
WM National University[30] 33

In 2009, Washington University received approximately 23,000 applications for 1,500 [31] spots at the undergraduate level.[32] More than 90% of incoming freshmen were ranked in the top 10% of their high school class. In 2010, the number of students applying for the undergraduate class increased to 25,000, for a freshman class of 1,500. [33] Also in 2006, the University ranked fourth overall and second amongst private universities in the number of enrolled National Merit Scholar freshmen, according to the National Merit Scholar Corp.'s annual report.[34] Washington University in St. Louis was ranked number one for quality of life in 2008 according to the Princeton Review, among other top rankings.

Currently, the undergraduate program is ranked 12th overall, tied with Northwestern University, and 11th in admissions selectivity, in the 2010 U.S. News & World Report National Universities ranking.[35] Additionally, 19 undergraduate disciplines are ranked among the top 10 programs in the country.[36] Global rankings include 28th in the Academic Ranking of World Universities by Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2006 that assesses quality of scientific research leading toward a Nobel Prize.[37] Britain's Times Higher Education Supplement ranked Washington University 48th in the world in 2006.[38] Washington University was ranked 45th nationally in The Washington Monthly's 2006 ranking of universities' contributions to research, community service, and social mobility.[39] In addition, the Olin Business School's undergraduate program is among the top 12 in the country.[40] The Olin Business School's undergraduate program is also considered amongst the country's most competitive, admitting only 14% of applicants in 2007.[41]

Graduate schools include the School of Medicine, currently ranked 3rd, tied with University of Pennsylvania, in the nation, and the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, currently ranked 1st. The Program in Occupational Therapy at Washington University currently occupies the top spot for the US News and World Report rankings (tied for #1). For the 2009-2010 edition, the School of Law is ranked 19th while the Olin Business School is ranked 22nd.[42] Additionally, the Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Design was ranked 5th in the nation by the journal DesignIntelligence in its 2009 edition of "America's Best Architecture & Design Schools".

Geography & campus

Although the school includes St. Louis in its name – and its official mailing address is in the City of St. Louis – the school's main Danforth Campus (including Brookings Hall) is partially located in St. Louis County with a small portion in the City of St. Louis.[43][44][45]Within the county much of its territory is in an unincorporated area, portions are in the cities of Clayton and University City.[46][47] The school's Medical Campus is in the city of St. Louis on the east end of Forest Park. Some administrative offices are in the city of St. Louis in what is called the North Campus. The 560 Music Center and the Lewis Center are in University City. The school has also two smaller campuses (South and West) as well as the Tyson Research Center in St. Louis County. In total, Washington University's campuses comprise 11 million square feet (1 million m²) of building space.

Danforth Campus

Graham Chapel
Danforth University Center

Distinguished by its collegiate gothic architecture, the 169-acre (0.7 km2) Danforth Campus lies at the western boundary of Forest Park, partially in the City of St. Louis. Most of the campus sits in unincorporated St. Louis County, while the southern part of the campus sits in suburban Clayton.

Formerly known as the Hilltop Campus, Danforth Campus was officially dedicated with a formal university ceremony on September 17, 2006, in honor of William H. Danforth, the 13th Chancellor of the University, the Danforth family, and the Danforth Foundation.

The construction of Danforth Campus was accelerated through a profitable lease of several buildings to the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. Through the efforts and influence of David R. Francis, an alumnus and former mayor of St. Louis, Missouri governor and U.S. Interior Secretary, newly-constructed campus buildings on the edge of Forest Park began use for classes when the World's Fair was over. This included facilities used by the 1904 Summer Olympics, such as Francis Field and Francis Gymnasium.[48]

The Danforth Campus is accessible by the University City-Big Bend and Skinker stations on the MetroLink's recently-opened cross-county extension, which provides easy access to the Washington University Medical Campus, the North Campus, and the West Campus.

Medical Campus

Washington University Medical Center comprises 135 acres (0.5 km2) spread over approximately 12 city blocks, located along the eastern edge of Forest Park within the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis. The campus is home to the School of Medicine and its associated teaching hospitals, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children's Hospital. Many of the buildings are connected via a series of skyways and corridors.

The School's 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty Physicians & Nurse Practitioners also serve as the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals, which are part of BJC HealthCare. Washington University and BJC have taken on many joint venture projects, such as the Center for Advanced Medicine, completed in December 2001.

Olin Residence Hall, named for Spencer T. Olin, provides residential services for 200 medical and graduate students.[49]

The Medical Campus is accessible via the Central West End MetroLink station, which provides a quick link to the Danforth, North, and West Campuses.

Medical Campus Includes:

North and West campuses

Washington University's North Campus and West Campus principally house administrative functions that are not student-focused. North Campus lies in St. Louis City, near the Delmar Loop. The University acquired the building and adjacent property in 2004, formerly home to the Angelica Uniform Factory.[50] Several University administrative departments are located at the North Campus location, including offices for Quadrangle Housing, Accounting and Treasury Services, Parking and Transportation Services, Army ROTC, and Network Technology Services. The North Campus location also provides off-site storage space for the Performing Arts Department. Renovations are still ongoing; the most recent addition to the North Campus space was a small eatery operated by Bon Appétit Management Company, the University's on-campus food provider, completed during spring semester 2007.

The West Campus is located about a mile to the west of the Danforth Campus in Clayton, Missouri, and primarily consists of a three-story former department store building housing mostly administrative space. The West Campus building was home to the Clayton branch of the Famous-Barr department store until 1990, when the University acquired the property and adjacent parking and began a series of renovations.[51] Today, the basement level houses the Library archives and a conference center. The ground level still remains a retail space. The upper floors consolidated capital gifts, portions of alumni and development, and information systems offices from across the Danforth and Medical School campuses. There is also a music rehearsal room on the second floor. The West Campus is also home to the Center for the Application of Information Technologies (CAIT), which provides IT training services.

Both the North and West Campuses are accessible by the St. Louis MetroLink, with the Delmar Loop and Forsyth MetroLink Stations directly adjacent to these campuses, which provides easy access around the St. Louis metropolitan area, including all of Washington University's campuses.

Tyson Research Center

Tyson Research Center is a 2,000-acre (8 km2) field station located west of St. Louis on the Meramec River. Washington University obtained Tyson as surplus property from the federal government in 1963. It is used by the University as a biological field station and research/education center. In May 2009, the Living Learning Center, expected to be one of the first buildings accredited under the Living Learning Challenge[52], opened to serve as a biological research station and classroom for summer students.


Undergraduate and Graduate Programs Graduate and Professional
Danforth Campus Danforth Campus

Medical Center

Arts & Sciences

Holmes Lounge, the central reading room on campus, where students may eat and study

Arts & Sciences at Washington University comprises three divisions: the College of Arts & Sciences, the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, and University College in Arts & Sciences. Edward S. Macias is Executive Vice Chancellor and Dean of Arts & Sciences. James E. McLeod is the Vice Chancellor for Students and Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. Robert E. Thach is Dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

  • The College of Arts & Sciences is the central undergraduate unit of the University with 330 tenured and tenure-track faculty along with over 100 research scientists, lecturers, artists in residence, and visitors serving more than 3,700 undergraduates in 40 academic departments divided into divisions of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences and Mathematics. The College of Arts & Sciences has an average class size of 18 students, with over 80% having fewer than 24. Almost one-half of the undergraduate classes have fewer than 10 students. The student-faculty ratio is 7:1.[53]
  • The Graduate School serves over 1,800 students pursuing Master's and Ph.D. degrees.
  • University College at Washington University in St. Louis grants both graduate and undergraduate degrees, offering courses primarily in the evenings for adult and continuing education.


The Knight Executive Education Center is a part of the Olin Business School.

Founded as the School of Commerce and Finance in 1917, the Olin Business School was named after entrepreneur John M. Olin in 1988. The school provides degree programs including BSBA, MBA, MS in Finance, Master's in Accounting, part-time Professional MBA, Executive MBA and PhD, as well as non-degree executive education. In 2002, an Executive MBA program was established in Shanghai, in cooperation with Fudan University.

Olin has a network of about 15,000 alumni worldwide[citation needed]. Over the last several years, the school’s endowment has increased to $213 million (2004) and annual gifts average $12 million per year[citation needed]. Simon Hall was opened in 1986 after a donation from John E. Simon.

Undergraduate BSBA students take 40–60% of their courses at Olin and are able to formally declare majors in eight areas: accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, healthcare management, marketing, managerial economics and strategy, organization and human resources, international business, or operations and supply chain management. Graduate students are able to pursue the MBA degree either full-time or part-time. Students may also take elective courses from other areas in Washington University including law and many other fields. Mahendra R. Gupta is the Dean of the Olin Business School.

Design & Visual Arts

Created in 2005 by merging the existing Colleges of Art and Architecture, the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts combines the strengths of these fields into a single collaborative unit offering both undergraduate and graduate programs. The School comprises:

  • College of Architecture
  • Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design
  • College of Art
  • Graduate School of Art
  • Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, considered one of the most distinguished university art collections in the country[citation needed]

Architecture offers BS and BA degrees as well as M. Arch and MUD. There is a combined six-year BS and M. Arch degree program as well as joint M. Arch programs with most of the other schools in the University. The Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Design was ranked 5th in the nation by the journal DesignIntelligence in its 2008 edition of "America's Best Architecture & Design Schools".

Art offers the BFA and MFA in Art in the context of a full university environment. Students take courses in the College of Arts & Sciences as well as courses in the College of Art to provide a well rounded background. One third of students in the school pursue a combined study degree program, second major, and/or minors in other undergraduate divisions at Washington University[citation needed]. U.S. News & World Report ranked the MFA program 15th in the nation in 2008.[54]

In October 2006 the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum moved into new facilities designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect, and former faculty member, Fumihiko Maki.[citation needed]

Carmon Colangelo is the Dean of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. Bruce Lindsey is Dean of the College of Architecture and the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design. Franklin "Buzz" Spector is the Dean of the College and Graduate School of Art.


Cupples Hall

The Washington University School of Engineering was ranked 43 in the 2007–2008 U.S. News undergraduate engineering program ratings. Graduate programs are also offered through the School of Engineering and part-time programs through the Sever Institute of Continuing Studies. The biomedical engineering graduate program was ranked 10th in the 2008-2009 U.S. News ratings. Interim Dean of Engineering Salvatore P. Sutera took office on July 1, 2008.

Departments include:


Anheuser Busch Hall, home to the School of Law

The Washington University School of Law offers eight joint-degree programs, including JD/MSW, JD/East Asian Studies, and JD/MBA programs. It also offers two graduate degrees in law, the LLM and the MJS (Master of Juridical Studies). The law school offers 3 semesters of courses in the Spring, Summer, and Fall, and requires at least 85 hours of coursework for the JD.

In the 2009 US News & World Report America's Best Graduate Schools, the law school is ranked 19th nationally, out of 190 law schools.[55] In particular, its Clinical Education Program is currently ranked 4th in the nation.[56] This year, the median score placed the average student in the 96th percentile of test takers.[57] The law school offers a full-time day program, beginning in August, for the J.D. degree. The law school is located in a state-of-the-art building, Anheuser-Busch Hall (opened in 1997). The building combines traditional architecture, a five-story open-stacks library, an integration of indoor and outdoor spaces, and the latest wireless and other technologies. National Jurist ranked Washington University 4th among the "25 Most Wired Law Schools."

Kent D. Syverud is the Dean of the School of Law.


The Washington University School of Medicine is highly regarded as one of the world's leading centers for medical research and training.[58] Among its many recent initiatives, the School's Genome Sequencing Center (directed by Dr. Richard K. Wilson, Ph.D.) played a leadership role in the Human Genome Project, having contributed 25% of the finished sequence.[59] The School pioneered bedside teaching and led in the transformation of empirical knowledge into scientific medicine. The medical school partners with St. Louis Children's Hospital and Barnes-Jewish Hospital (part of BJC HealthCare), where all physicians are members of the school's faculty.

Within the medical school, the Program in Physical Therapy is also highly reputable. It is ranked 2nd in the nation for "Best Physical Therapy Schools" according to U.S. News & World Report.[60] In 1999, the Program was granted approval by Washington University to offer a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) at both the professional and post-professional levels. The two new clinical doctorate programs replaced the Master of Science in Physical Therapy and the Master of Health Science (MHS). With the transition to the DPT, the program would best equip students to manage the changing needs of the health-care environment and the growing responsibilities of the profession. In its 60-year history, more than 1,500 students, most of whom are still actively involved in the physical therapy profession, have graduated from the Program[citation needed].

The Program in Occupational Therapy is currently tied for 1st in the nation for "Best Occupational Therapy Schools" according to U.S. News & World Report.[58] The Program offers a Master of Science degree as well as the Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) at the professional and post-professional levels. M. Carolyn Baum, Ph.D., serves as the program director and was the most recent president of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

Larry Shapiro, MD, is Executive Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine.

Social Work

The George Warren Brown School of Social Work (commonly called the Brown School or Brown) is currently ranked first among Master of Social Work (MSW) programs in the United States.[61] Brown also offers a Ph.D. in Social Work, in cooperation with the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. The school was endowed by Bettie Bofinger Brown and named for her husband — George Warren Brown — a St. Louis philanthropist and co-founder of the Brown Shoe Company. The school is housed within Brown and Goldfarb halls. It has a center for Native American research, as well as acclaimed scholars in social security, health, individual development accounts, etc.

The school's current dean is Edward F. Lawlor.

Museums and library system

With 14 libraries, the Washington University library system is the largest in the state of Missouri, containing over 4.2 million volumes.[62] The main library, Olin Library, is centrally located on the Danforth Campus. Other libraries in the system include:

Olin Library in the Fall
Reading room in Anheuser-Busch Hall

The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, established in 1881, is one of the oldest teaching museums in the country and the first art museum established west of the Mississippi River[citation needed]. The collection includes works from 19th, 20th, and 21st century American and European artists, including George Caleb Bingham, Thomas Cole, Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Alexander Calder, Jackson Pollock, Rembrandt, Robert Rauschenberg, Barbara Kruger, and Christian Boltanski. Also in the complex is the 3,000 sq ft (300 m2) Newman Money Museum. In October 2006, the Kemper Art Museum moved from its previous location, Steinberg Hall, into a new facility designed by Fumihiko Maki. Interestingly, Maki's very first commission was in fact that very same Steinberg Hall on Washington University's campus in 1959, which is directly in front of his newest building, the Kemper Art Museum complex, nearly 40 years after Steinberg.

Research, Research Centers and Institutes

Brown Hall

Virtually all faculty members at Washington University engage in academic research, offering opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students across the University's 7 schools. Known for its interdisciplinarity and departmental collaboration, most research centers and institutes at Washington University are collaborative efforts between many areas on campus. More than 60% of undergraduates are involved in faculty research across all areas;[63] it is an institutional priority for undergraduates to be allowed to participate in advanced research, which is rather unique among leading private research universities.[64] According to the Center for Measuring University Performance, it is considered to be one of the top 10 private research universities in the nation.[65] A dedicated Office of Undergraduate Research is located on the Danforth Campus and serves as a resource to post research opportunities, advise students in finding appropriate positions matching their interests, publish undergraduate research journals, and award research grants to make it financially possible to perform research.[66]

During fiscal 2007, $537.5 million was received in total research support, including $444 million in federal obligations. The University has over 150 National Institutes of Health funded inventions, with many of them licensed to private companies. Governmental agencies and non-profit foundations such as the NIH, United States Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, and NASA provide the majority of research grant funding, with Washington University being one of the top recipients in NIH grants from year-to-year. Nearly 80% of NIH grants to institutions in the state of Missouri went to Washington University alone in 2007.[67] Washington University and its Medical School play a large part in the Human Genome Project, where it contributes approximately 25% of the finished sequence.[68] The Genome Sequencing Center has decoded the genome of many animals, plants, and cellular organisms, including the platypus, chimpanzee, cat, and corn.[69]

NASA hosts its Planetary Data System Geosciences Node on the campus of Washington University. Professors, students, and researchers have been very involved with many unmanned missions to Mars. Professor Ray Arvidson has been co-investigator of the Phoenix Rover robotic arm and chair of the Mars Exploration Rover landing site group.[70]

Washington University professor Joseph Lowenstein, with the assistance of several undergraduate students, has been involved in editing, annotating, making a digital archive of the first publication of poet Edmund Spencer's collective works in 100 years. A large grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities has been given to support this ambitious project centralized at Washington University with support from other colleges in the United States.[71]

Campus life

Student organizations

Washington University has over 200 undergraduate student organizations on campus.[72] Most are funded by the Washington University Student Union, which has a $2 million plus annual budget that is completely student controlled and is one of the largest student government budgets in the country. Known as SU for short, it sponsors large-scale campus programs including WILD (a semesterly concert in the quad), free copies of the New York Times, USA Today, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch through The Collegiate Readership Program; the Assembly Series, a weekly lecture series; and the campus television station, WUTV and the radio station, KWUR. KWUR was named best radio station in St. Louis of 2003 by the Riverfront Times despite the fact that its signal reaches only a few blocks beyond the boundaries of the campus.[73] Washington University is also home to the National Prestigious Society of Collegiate Jugglers, one of the largest and most talented juggling clubs in the Midwest. There are 12 fraternities and 7 sororities. The Congress of the South 40 (CS40 for short) is a Residential Life and Events Programming Board, which operates outside of the SU sphere. CS40's funding comes from the Housing Activities Fee of each student living on the South 40.

Greek life

Washington University in St. Louis has twelve fraternities and seven sororities on-campus.

Washington University Interfraternity Council

Washington University Panhellenic Council

Many of these organizations and other campus life amenities are housed in the new $43 million Danforth University Center on the Danforth Campus, also dedicated in honor of the Danforth family.[74] The building opened on August 11, 2008 and is expected to earn a LEED rating of Gold for environmentally friendly design.[75]


The South 40

75% of undergraduate students live on campus[citation needed]. Most of the residence halls on campus are located on the South 40, named because of its adjacent location on the south side of the Danforth Campus and its size of 40 acres. It is the location of all the freshman dorms as well as several upperclassman dorms, set up in the traditional residential college system. All of the dorms are co-ed. The South 40 is organized as a pedestrian-friendly environment where residences surround a central recreational lawn known as the Swamp. Wohl Student Center, the Habif Health and Wellness Center (Student Health Services), the Residential Life Office, University Police Headquarters, various student-owned businesses (e.g. the laundry service, Wash U Wash), and the baseball, softball, and intramural fields are also located on the South 40.

Another group of residences, known as the Village, is located in the northwest corner of Danforth Campus. Only open to upperclassmen and January Scholars, the North Side consists of Millbrook Apartments, The Village, Village East on-campus apartments, and all fraternity houses except the Zeta Beta Tau house, which is off campus and located just northwest of the South 40. Sororities at Washington University do not have houses by their own accord. The Village is a group of residences where students who have similar interests or academic goals apply as small groups of 4 to 24, known as BLOCs, to live together in clustered suites along with non-BLOCs. Like the South 40, the residences around the Village also surround a recreational lawn.

Student media

Washington University supports four major student-run media outlets. The university's student newspaper, Student Life, is available for students. KWUR (90.3 FM) serves as the students' official radio station; the station also attracts an audience in the immediately surrounding community due to its eclectic and free-form musical programming. Though KWUR offers streaming content through the Internet, the station only broadcasts at 10 watts,[73] and its frequent applications to the FCC to increase its power have been unsuccessful. WUTV is the university's closed-circuit television channel. The university's main student-run political publication is the Washington University Political Review](nicknamed "WUPR"), a self-described "multipartisan" triweekly magazine. Washington University undergraduates publish two literary and art journals, The Eliot Review and Spires Intercollegiate Arts and Literary Magazine. A variety of other publications also serve the university community, ranging from in-house academic journals to glossy alumni magazines to Wunderground, campus' student-run satirical newspaper.


Washington University athletics logo

WUSTL's sports teams are called the Bears. They participate in the University Athletic Association and the NCAA Division III. The Bears have won 17 NCAA Division III Championships—one in men's tennis (2008), two in men's basketball (2008; 2009), four in women's basketball (1998-2001),[76], and ten in women's volleyball (1989, 1991-1996, 2003, 2007, 2009)[77] -- and 130 UAA titles in 14 different sports.[78] The Athletic Department is headed by John Schael who has served as director of athletics since 1978. The 2000 Division III Central Region winner of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics/Continental Airlines Athletics Director of the Year award,[79] Schael has helped orchestrate the Bears athletics transformation into one of the top departments in Division III.[79] Washington University in St. Louis is home of Francis Field, site of the 1904 Summer Olympics. Francis Field is also home of the Washington University in St. Louis Football, Soccer, and Track and Field teams.

  • WUSTL women's volleyball team has enjoyed the most success in the sport's history earning national championships in 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2003, 2007, and 2009. In 2009 the Bears defeated Juniata College 3-1 in the Championship game.[77]
  • In Men's Basketball, WUSTL repeated as national champions in 2009, defeating Richard Stockton College 61-52. In 2008, WashU defeated Amherst 90-68 to win the university's first men's basketball national championship. WUSTL lost to Virginia Wesleyan College in the 2007 NCAA Final Four, but defeated Wooster in the third place game. In 2009, Junior guard Aaron Thompson, senior forward Tyler Nading, and senior point guard Sean Wallis of the 2009 NCAA Division III National Champion men’s basketball team were named to the DIII News All-America Team, as announced by the publication.[76] In 2007, Junior forward Troy Ruths earned first-team All-America honors by DIII News, third-team accolades by the NABC, and honorable-mention honors by[76]
  • The women's Basketball team won four consecutive national titles from 1998-2001, during which time they established the longest winning streak in NCAA women's basketball history, at 81 games. In 2009 and 2007 both the men's and women's basketball teams made the Final Four. In 2009, the women lost to George Fox in the title game, and in 2007, the women lost to DePauw in the title game.[76]
  • Having made 17 NCAA Tournament appearances, the WUSTL's men's soccer program is one of the nation's most storied. Since the inception of the Division III tournament in 1974, the Bears have finished as national runners-up three times (1978, 1985, 1987). The Bears have also posted a 22-16-4 NCAA Tournament record (.585). The Bears have endured just three losing seasons out of the last 18, and none since 1994. Washington University has a 193-91-26 (.665) record over that span, including five NCAA Tournament appearances, two University Athletic Association (UAA) titles and a Division III Final Four appearance in 1997.[80]
  • The women's soccer team has made seven NCAA appearances and captured five UAA Championships. They were the runner up at the NCAA Division III Championship
  • The Swimming and Diving teams are led by eight year head coach Brad Shively. In 2009, the Washington University men's and women's swimming teams combined to break four school records on the final day of the 2009 NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships as the WU men placed seventh overall and the women came in 14th place. In 2005-2006, Shively led the Red and Green to their top finishes in program history. The women placed fifth at the NCAA Championships, while the men took sixth. Additionally, Seniors Michael Slavik (24-time All-American) and Eric Triebe (26-time All-American) won the first (50 free - 20.46 Michael Slavik) and second (200 free - 1:39.12 Eric Triebe) individual national titles in Washington University history.[81] Since 1979, 56 Bears student-athletes have earned 304 All-America citations. Additionally, the women's team has produced a composite dual meet record of 165-57, while the men's team has compiled a 144-90 mark.[82]
Gates at Francis Field
  • The cross-country teams are managed by head coach Jeff Stiles. The women placed third at the 2007 NCAA Division III Championship meet. The Bears also ran to third-place finishes at the 2005 and 2004 NCAA Division III Championships. Washington U. came in fourth place at the 2006 NCAA Championships. The women also won their third-straight Midwest Region title in 2007. In 2009, after going unranked all year, the men qualified for the National Championship and finished seventh place at the National meet. All told, the men's and women's cross country teams have won 13 UAA titles (nine women, four men), qualified as a team for the NCAA Championships 12 times (seven women, five men) and sent 32 individual qualifiers to the Championships. Since 1997, the Bears have also produced 12 All-Americans; seven individuals have combined to total All-America 11 honors[citation needed].
  • Since the inception of the Washington University softball program in 2000, the team has captured five UAA championships and has made six consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament, including its 2007 College World Series runner-up finish.[83]
  • The men's roller hockey team has made the NCRHA national tournament in consecutive years from 2005–2008, finishing as high as 3rd in the nation for Division II in 2005.[84]


  • WILD - Walk In, Lay Down, the semesterly concert in the Quad which brings in popular acts such as Guster, Lil' Jon, Ben Folds, Busta Rhymes, Live, and the Black Eyed Peas.
  • Bauhaus - Annual Halloween costume party sponsored by the Architecture School Council, held in a giant tent in front of Givens Hall.
  • Thurtene Carnival - The oldest and largest student-run carnival in the nation, run by Thurtene Honorary.[85]
  • Vertigo - A dance party put on by the Engineering School Council (EnCouncil), featuring an innovative 8-foot by 16-foot computer-controlled modular LED illuminated dance floor built by students. The dance floor has since become a hit in St. Louis[citation needed].
  • Cultural Shows - Washington University student groups put on several multicultural shows held each year, one of which sells out within hours of tickets going on sale (Diwali). Ashoka, the South Asian student association, puts on a performance for Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, that includes a skit and dances; Black Anthology is a student-run performance arts show celebrating black culture; Lunar New Year Festival is a collaboration between the many East Asian organizations on campus culminating in a show to celebrate the holiday with a skit and dances from Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cultures; the Association of Latin American Students showcases various forms of Latin and Spanish dances during their performance, Carnaval.


Since its founding, Washington University has been led by 14 Chancellors, beginning with Joseph Gibson Hoyt in 1858. Mark Stephen Wrighton serves as the current Chancellor of the University.

Notable people

Further reading

  • Ralph E. Morrow, Washington University in St. Louis: A History St. Louis: Missouri Historical Society Press, 1996.
  • Candace O'Connor, Beginning a Great Work: Washington University, 1853-2003 St. Louis: Washington University in St. Louis, 2003.


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External links

Coordinates: 38°38′47″N 90°18′24″W / 38.64652°N 90.30655°W / 38.64652; -90.30655


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