Marie Prange Oetting receives Eliot Society’s “Search” award

One of Washington University’s most dedicated alumni volunteers, Marie Prange Oetting, was awarded the William Greenleaf Eliot Society “Search” Award at the Society’s 36th annual dinner, held on April 30 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Clayton.

The Eliot Society’s highest honor, the “Search” award is presented each year to an outstanding citizen of the Washington University community. At the dinner, Eliot Society President Mary Ann Van Lokeren presented Oetting with a silver replica of “The Search,” a sculpture designed by Heikki Seppa, professor emeritus in the school of art. The original sculpture is now part of the University’s permanent art collection.

“Marie Prange Oetting is a tireless supporter and enthusiastic advocate of Washington University and richly deserves this wonderful honor bestowed upon her by the Eliot Society,” explained Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton.

The native St. Louisan’s ties to Washington University run deep throughout her family. She received a bachelor’s degree in Arts & Sciences in 1949; her late husband, William, graduated from the Olin School of Business in 1947 and the School of Law in 1949; and their younger son was one of the first graduates in computer science from the School of Engineering and Applied Science in 1976.

Her devotion runs deep as well, and her advocacy, support and volunteerism for her alma mater is second to none. She is fully committed to the University’s scholarship program, which she and her late husband began supporting many years ago. She recently endowed a scholarship in their names, and she has convinced many others to join her as scholarship sponsors.

As chair of the Arts & Sciences Eliot Society Committee and the Alumni Board of Governors, as alumni representative to the Board of Trustees, and as a member of the Endowed Scholarship Committee, Oetting has contributed greatly to the role of alumni in building an even stronger University. As a member of the Student Life Task Force and the Arts & Sciences Dean’s Advisory Board, she has provided valuable input as a representative of the alumni body.

In recognition of her years of volunteer leadership and outstanding service to Washington University, Oetting received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1994. She was also honored by Arts & Sciences with its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2001.

Among all her other roles, her work in guiding the undergraduate reunions is what makes her one of the University’s most visible alumni volunteers. Together with John R. Barsanti, Oetting has co-chaired their class’s five-year reunions from the fifth to the fiftieth, the latter in 1999. For nearly two decades she has served as overall chair of undergraduate class reunions, a challenging and critical job that allows her to share her expertise with members of other classes.

The William Greenleaf Eliot Society, named after Washington University’s co-founder, was founded in 1959. Its 3,800 members are alumni, parents and friends who provide unrestricted support to the University.

Editor’s note: Marie Prange Oetting lives in St. Louis, MO, 63124. Photo available upon request.