Risa’s Landing in the Newman Tower of Collections and Exploration

Risa's Landing space with students seated at tables.

Risa’s Landing in the Newman Tower of Collections and Exploration in John M. Olin Library.
Photo by James Byard/Washington University

Risa’s Landing, named in honor of Risa Zwerling Wrighton, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton’s wife, is a collaborative study space located on Level 2 of the Newman Tower of Collections and Exploration. It has an open balcony with views of the surrounding study spaces, and its lighted ceiling features an image from NASA of the Milky Way.

Seven tables around the perimeter of Risa’s Landing feature images of recreated desktops of prominent individuals with ties to Washington University. The tables provide the opportunity to visually tell each person’s diverse story through the lens of their chosen professions, roles within the community, and everyday life.

Edna Gellhorn, activist: Edna Fischel Gellhorn was born in St. Louis in 1878. After graduating from Bryn Mawr College in 1900, she became active in the women’s suffrage movement and founded and served as the first vice president of the National League of Women Voters. As an activist, she fought to enact the Missouri minimum wage law, eliminate child labor, and improve election laws. Gellhorn collected news clippings and memorabilia from the women’s suffrage movement. She generously donated these materials to Washington University. More information can be found in Washington University Libraries’ Edna Gellhorn Papers.

Henry E. Hampton Jr., filmmaker: Henry E. Hampton Jr. graduated from Washington University in 1961. In 1968, he established the company Blackside Inc., the largest African American-owned film production company of its time. Hampton’s works, including the award-winning series on the civil rights movement, Eyes on the Prize, chronicle the 20th century’s great political and social movements, focusing on the lives of the disenfranchised. More information can be found in Washington University Libraries’ Henry Hampton Collection.

Eugene Mackey III, architect: Eugene Mackey III earned a bachelor’s degree in architectural sciences in 1960 and a bachelor’s degree in architecture in 1962 from Washington University. The following year, he earned a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. In 1966, he won the James Harrison Steedman Memorial Fellowship in Architecture for study abroad in Europe. In 1968 he formed his own firm, which eventually became Mackey Mitchell. Mackey’s firm oversaw dozens of projects on campus, including South 40 House, College Hall, and Eliot House.

Lois Meier, student: Lora Lois Meier graduated from Mary Institute in St. Louis in 1906. In 1910, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington University. While at Washington University, she was vice president for McMillan Hall and a member of YWCA and Kappa Alpha Theta. Meier was a long-time friend of fellow student and future author and social reformer Fannie Hurst. Meier’s table includes memorabilia from Meier and her 1910 classmates, including copies of The Hatchet, Washington University’s yearbook. These materials and more can be found in Washington University Libraries’ University Archives.

Al Parker, artist: Alfred Charles Parker studied at Washington University’s School of Fine Arts from 1923 to 1928. He illustrated for such magazines as House Beautiful, Chatelaine, Collier’s, and Ladies’ Home Journal. Known as the Dean of Illustrators, Parker was one of the founding faculty members of the Famous Artists School and was elected to the Society of Illustrators’ Hall of Fame in 1965. Parker’s table includes the magazine spread with original artwork and model photograph for “The Switchboard Queen” from The Saturday Evening Post, June 10, 1950. More information can be found in Washington University Libraries’ Al Parker Collection.

Mark S. Wrighton, chancellor and chemist: Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and a doctorate from the California Institute of Technology. An accomplished chemist, he has authored or coauthored over 300 academic papers and won several major awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship and the Pure Chemistry Award of the American Chemical Society. At MIT, he served as a professor, department chair, and as provost. In 1995, he became the 14th chancellor of Washington University.

Risa Zwerling Wrighton, social worker: Risa Zwerling Wrighton earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Barnard College, a master’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland, and a master’s degree in business administration from Washington University. She takes an active role in student life at Washington University. As a mentor, campus organizer, and champion of social causes, Zwerling Wrighton freely gives her time and attention to help improve the lives of others.