The Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) was founded in 1853 by Wayman Crow, a St. Louis merchant, and William Greenleaf Eliot, a religious minister (and the grandfather of poet TS Eliot), in response to the lack of higher learning institutions in the growing Midwest.
Named after George Washington, the university is now a private research institution for around 14,500 students drawn from all 50 US states and 80 different countries.
WashU is organised around seven schools: art and architecture, arts and sciences, business, engineering, law, medicine, and social work and public health. It comprises over 150 buildings spread across five, centrally-located campuses.
The main Danforth Campus is at the heart of the university and where most of its students are to be found. A key feature of Darnforth is its Gothic architecture, while the Washington University Medical Center, home to the School of Medicine, is located in the city’s vibrant Central West End district, close to restaurants, shopping and nightlife.
Other WashU campuses include the site of a former St. Louis department store and another that comprises a 2,000-acre outdoor laboratory for learning and research.
The university claims several areas of research focus including biotechnology, plant science and business development.
With several strategic partnerships in place at global universities, WashU students have various opportunities to travel and study abroad. Among them are elective rotations for medical students in overseas clinics throughout Africa, Asia and South America, while law students can undertake internships in the Netherlands. The university also has a reciprocal student exchange programme with Fudan University in Shanghai, China.
The university estimates that around 40% of its students engage in study abroad programmes, while 75% participate in intamural sports.
A total of 25 Nobel Laureates have been affiliated with WashU over the years, and its alumni includes three Pulitzer Prize winners, two Poet Laureates of the United States and 16 recipients of the National Medal of Science.
The university’s motto, Per Veritatem Vis, translates as ‘Strength through Truth.’