Picturing Our Past

William Greenleaf Eliot
WUSTL Archives

William Greenleaf Eliot, the grandfather of poet T.S. Eliot, came to St. Louis as a missionary in 1834 and was the first Unitarian minister west of the Mississippi River. In 1853, Wayman Crow secured a charter for a proposed college named Eliot Seminary. In 1854 — the year that the name of the school changed to Washington Institute of St. Louis, — Eliot became chairman of the Board of Trustees, and in 1870 he became chancellor. He held both positions until his death in 1887. There’s another familial connection: Thomas H. Eliot was chancellor from 1962-1971, and his grandfather was a cousin of W.G. Eliot. At 2 p.m. May 11, W.G. Eliot will receive a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame in the heart of the University City Loop, in a ceremony at Westgate Avenue and Delmar Blvd. Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton will accept the award.

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