Embedded in the sidewalks along the Delmar Boulevard Loop — where many Washington University students go for meals, concerts and nights out — are bright brass stars honoring 140 great St. Louisans. This who’s who of St. Louis, known as the St. Louis Walk of Fame, has among its honorees more than 30 people affiliated with Washington University: professors, alumni, former chancellors and co-founders among them.
This quiz tests your knowledge of Washington University’s history. All of the people here have stars on the Walk of Fame and are affiliated with WashU. (OK, a few of the wrong answer options weren’t affiliated with the university. These exceptions are noted in the answers.) Many of these people have had a lasting impact on the university, the city and sometimes even the world.
- Which Pulitzer Prize–winning cartoonist almost flunked out of WashU’s art school?
a. World War II cartoonist Bill Mauldin, who created the archetypal characters “Willie and Joe”
b. St. Louis–native and Broadway caricaturist Albert Hirschfeld
c. Mother Goose and Grim cartoonist Mike Peters
- Writer Ralph Waldo Emerson called Washington University co-founder William Greenleaf Eliot “the Saint of the West.”
- Which great literary master, who attended Washington University but never graduated, grew up in St. Louis, but didn’t have anything positive to say about it?
a. Nobel Prize–winning poet T.S. Eliot, grandson of founder William Greenleaf Eliot
b. Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Tennessee Williams, who left the university after losing a playwriting competition to A. E. Hotchner
c. Novelist, playwright and alum A. E. Hotchner, AB ’40, JD ’40, who went on to co-found Newman’s Own, Inc. food company with his friend Paul Newman
- Which alum was the joke editor for Playboy magazine before becoming a celebrity?
a. Novelist and playwright A. E. Hotchner, who wrote a student play, Down in Front, while he was in law school here
b. Harold Ramis, who went on to write, direct or star in comedic films such as Ghostbusters, Stripes, Caddyshack and Groundhog Day
c. Robert Guillaume, who attended the university from 1956 to 1957. He starred in the television show Benson and won two Emmy awards and a Grammy award.
- Which professor helped create the modern environmental movement?
a. Nobel Prize–winning scientist Arthur Holly Compton, who was the head of the physics department at Washington University
b. Evarts Graham, one of the nation’s most prominent surgeons and chair of the Department of Surgery at Washington University
c. Barry Commoner, a professor of plant physiology, who Time magazine called the “Paul Revere of Ecology”
- This engineer’s contributions to the world included devising armored riverboats used during the Civil War.
a. James B. Eads, who sat on the board of an early incarnation of Washington University, called Washington Institute, and for whom Eads Hall is named
b. Architecture alumnus Gyo Obata
c. German-American architect Theodore Link, who designed St. Louis’ Union Station
- Which English professor was part of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop at the same time as famous short story author Flannery O’Connor?
a. Culture critic Gerald Early, who was appointed to the National Council of the Humanities by President Barack Obama
b. The first female Poet Laureate of the United States, Mona Van Duyn
c. Pulitzer Prize–winning poet and also one-time Poet Laureate of the United States, Howard Nemerov
- He was St. Louis’ youngest circuit attorney when he was elected.
a. John Danforth, brother to Chancellor Emeritus William H. Danforth
b. Former U.S. Senator and law school professor, Thomas Eagleton
c. Former president of the board of Washington University for 33 years, Robert S. Brookings
- As president of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, this alum was one of the main promoters of the St. Louis World’s Fair. He helped out his alma mater by offering the university the chance to rent out its campus to the fair. The money helped pay for much-needed construction on the Danforth Campus, then called Hilltop Campus.
a. David Francis, who went on to become governor of Missouri and U.S. Secretary of the Interior
b. Robert S. Brookings, 33-year president of the board
c. University founder William Greenleaf Eliot
- A New York Times reviewer said of this writer and WashU English professor: “No serious funny writer in this country can match him.” Fun fact: He once wrote a radio play about his colleague’s in the English department.
a. Stanley Elkin, winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award
b. William Gass, author of the 2013 novel Middle C
c. Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright William Inge
- What Washington University student’s success in television led to him being chosen as the first host of Today, the nation’s first morning show?
a. Bob Costas, who joined KMOX radio when he was just 22
b. Dave Garroway, host of Garroway at Large, an early television variety show
c. Cedric the Entertainer, who performed stand-up comedy at St. Louis open mic nights
- This husband-and-wife research team developed an international reputation, and a young Bill Danforth, who would later become the university’s chancellor, worked in their lab.
a. Masters and Johnson, who studied the physical aspects of sexuality at Washington University School of Medicine (and later at the Masters & Johnson Institute) and who wrote the book Human Sexual Response, which became a bestseller
b. Carl and Gerty Cori, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their breakthrough in blood glucose regulation research
1. c (neither Bill Mauldin nor Albert Hirschfeld attended Washington University); 2. True; 3. b; 4. b; 5. c; 6. a (architect Theodore Link never worked for or attended Washington University); 7. b; 8. b; 9. a; 10. a; 11. b (neither Bob Costas nor Cedric the Entertainer attended Washington University); 12. b