WU History

Thurtene Carnival: WUSTL’s Oldest Tradition

By Lillian Blotkamp, Graduate student worker on April 9, 2014

This month, WU’s oldest tradition, Thurtene Carnival, returns to campus. A carnival was first held in 1907, and has continued annually.  The only interruption came in 1943, when World War II called away many members of the Thurtene honorary.  Otherwise, the weekend-long festivities, overseen chie...

April Fools

By Miranda Rectenwald on April 1, 2014

A long running tradition on campus are joke issues of Student Life, such as this headline from April 1, 1930.  (Read the full front page here) Most year’s editors were clear about their joking, indicated “April Fools” in the mast head, and printed on different colored newsprint....

100 Years Ago: Francis Field Gates

By Miranda Rectenwald on March 31, 2014

One hundred years ago today, campus architect James Jamison completed the designs for the “Francis Field Gateway.” Constructed in the summer of 1914, the gates honored David R. Francis for whom the field was named, and his feat of bringing the World’s Fair to St. Louis ten years...

St Patrick, Patron of Engineers

By Sonya Rooney on March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from University Archives Engineering students in 1931 celebrate with their patron saint (on the main quadrangle of campus).

Remembrance: Harold Ramis, Class of 1966

By Miranda Rectenwald on February 27, 2014

Harold Ramis entered Washington University as a freshman in the fall of 1962 and moved into student housing on the “South Forty.”   He pledged Zeta Beta Tau and joined (at the time) the largest fraternity on campus, with one hundred members.  After a year in the dorms, Ramis moved int...

A Look Back: Engineering Week at WU

By Lillian Blotkamp, Graduate Student Assistant on February 16, 2014

Engineering Week has a long history of presenting competitions, fundraisers, and acclaimed guest speakers on WU’s campus.  Since the first decades of the twentieth century, the School of Engineering has held an annual Engineer’s Day showcasing the ingenuity of its students.  Most commonly, studen...

THE FACULTY APARTMENTS: A look at life on the Washington University campus, 1947 through 1952

By William 'Bill' Gullion (WU Class of 1957) on February 1, 2014

The Gullion family arrived in St. Louis on February 1, 1947.  Chancellor Arthur Holly Compton had hired my father to head the University’s new ‘amateur athletic’ program, intercollegiate sports without athletic scholarships. He was named head of the University’s School of Physical Education; athl...

Nobel Prize winner at WU: Gerty Cori

By Lillian Blotkamp, Graduate Student worker on December 10, 2013

Every 10th of December, ceremonies in Oslo and Stockholm honor that year’s Nobel Prize winners.  Currently, Washington University in St. Louis boasts connections to 23 Nobel laureates.  Among them is Gerty Cori, who researched and taught at the University from 1931 to 1957.  In 1947, she became t...

Remembrance: World War I in the Archive

By Miranda Rectenwald on November 6, 2013

In honor of Veterans’ Day, November 11, a guide to archival research about World War I is now available.  This guide features an overview of collections at University Archives and the WU Libraries that document St. Louis and Washington University historical connections to the Great War (Wor...

Honoring Mary Wickes, WU alum and actress

By Sonya Rooney on October 22, 2013

Mary Wickes was born Mary Isabella Wickenhauser in St. Louis, Missouri on June 13, 1910.  She grew up in St. Louis and attended Washington University in St. Louis where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1930.  During her college years she performed in student theatre productions and wit...