Chancellor Danforth Era Achievements
During William H. Danforth’s 24 years as chancellor, Washington University grew dramatically.
Dr. Danforth’s far-reaching vision and talents as an administrator, fundraiser and fiscal manager were strengthened by his unparalleled sense of integrity, respect for traditional values and genuine concern for others. He guided Washington University into national and international prominence.
The university’s myriad achievements during the Danforth years from 1971-1995 include:
Some 60,000 degrees granted
10 Nobel and two Pulitzer prizes awarded to individuals associated with Washington University, and two faculty members appointed U.S. poet laureates
21 faculty named to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 17 to the Institute of Medicine and 11 to the National Academy of Sciences
34 facilities constructed, expanded or acquired, including new academic buildings for psychology department and School of Law.
Named student scholarships and grants more than tripled, totaling 840
Students received $35.1 million in financial aid in 1994, compared with $3 million in 1971. To attract and retain a top-flight, diverse student body, the university used a combination of its own funds and support from federal assistance programs to provide aid.
Number of applications doubled in last decade of his chancellorship, numbering 9,300 in 1995. In 1994, 88 percent of first-year students ranked in the top 20 percent of their high school classes.
Eighty-six percent of entering first-year students graduated from Washington University. The number had increased 16 percent since 1971.
More than 80 chaired and endowed professorships established, compared with a total of 40 in the preceding 114 years
Endowment increased from $147.4 million to $1.72 billion, to become the nation’s seventh largest
Establishment of the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences, a visionary and much-imitated educational consortium of faculty affiliated with 29 basic science and clinical departments on the Danforth and Medical campuses
Spencer T. Olin Fellowship Program for Women in graduate and professional studies and the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences both established in 1974, placing the university among a handful of schools featuring such centers
Research awards, grants and contracts rose from $30.7 million in 1971 to $211.8 million in 1994, with $165 million coming from federal sources
Washington University Medical Center Redevelopment Corp. completed a nationally acclaimed renewal of decaying urban neighborhoods north of the medical center into what is now called the Central West End
$120 million raised in a capital campaign completed two years ahead of schedule
Commission on the Future of Washington University formed in 1979. Comprising 10 task forces chaired by trustees and each assigned to a school or major service area, the commission presented in 1981 nearly 200 recommendations for strengthening the university. The task forces continue today as National Councils — ongoing advisory groups to the university’s schools and units.
Conducted nation’s first fundraising campaign to exceed $500 million. Upon its 1987 completion, the Alliance for Washington University raised $630.5 million.
U.S. News & World Report rankings placed Washington University in the country’s top 25 universities
Athletics program revitalized. Division III athletics began in 1971; men’s basketball program resurrected in 1981; athletic facilities renovated and expanded with the Athletic Complex opening in 1985; and the University Athletic Association, with a focus on scholar-athletes, formed in 1986.
While the cost of operating Washington University increased ten-fold, reaching $779.9 million in 1994, the university maintained balanced budgets and engaged in a program to improve services to students while containing and reducing administrative costs
Uncompensated medical services for indigent and underinsured patients in the Washington University Medical Center totaled $120 million in 1993, as compared with $4.8 million in 1971
The Monsanto Agreement, one of the largest research partnerships between an American university and an American corporation, established in 1982. The agreement brought more than $100 million in biomedical research projects to the university and produced more than 40 patents.
Hosted the first nationally televised three-candidate presidential debate on Oct. 11, 1992. The Commission on Presidential Debates went on to select the university five more times to host debates.
Thousands of scholarly and scientific papers written by faculty led to national and international recognition for the quality of their teaching and research
Many undergraduates successfully competed for prestigious awards, including Rhodes and Marshall scholarships, as well as Fulbright, Beinecke, Truman, Goldwater, Mellon, Putnam, National Science Foundation, and National Graduate grants and fellowships