For Life Trustee Andrew C. Taylor, the best thing about serving as chair of the public phase of Leading Together: The Campaign for Washington University was the people he met along the way. At the gala event in St. Louis that formally launched the campaign’s public phase in October 2012, and at a number of regional campaign events he attended around the country, Taylor says he met “some of the biggest supporters of the university, and they all had really interesting stories.”
By the conclusion of Leading Together on June 30, 2018, he says, “I came away amazed at the loyalty, the passion, the interest, the participation and the really positive environment. It was pretty consistent how people felt about the school, and it was very positive.
“And if you look at the campaign results, they speak for themselves.”
A family legacy of philanthropy
Beyond Andrew Taylor’s campaign leadership, gifts from him and his wife, Barbara, and from the Crawford Taylor Foundation — the charity of the Jack C. Taylor family — played a key role in ensuring the success of Leading Together. Andrew Taylor says his late father, Jack, who founded the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Company in 1957, led the way in the family’s tradition of giving and making a difference in the community.
In 2001, the Taylor family and Enterprise Holdings established the largest scholarship fund at Washington University with a gift of $25 million. Ten years later, Jack, an emeritus trustee of the university, gave an additional $25 million for scholarships on behalf of the company.
“My father came from a middle-class family and had the opportunity to start a company with $25,000 of borrowed money and turn it into something that’s quite substantial,” Andrew says. “It is very appealing to us to give a life opportunity to men and women who would not otherwise be able to attend the university. That makes us feel really good, and we have connections with those students.”
In 2015, Andrew and Barbara Taylor gave an additional $10 million for undergraduate scholarships, and in 2017, another $10 million gift supported the Taylor Family Scholarship Challenge. These gifts helped bring the total scholarship support for the Leading Together campaign to more than $500 million.
“The Taylors’ leadership and extraordinary generosity are an inspiration to everyone who desires to help exceptional young people from all walks of life turn their aspirations into achievements,” says Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton.
In addition to scholarships, Andrew and Barbara Taylor and the Crawford Taylor Foundation committed $20 million to the Department of Psychiatry in 2012 to fund the Taylor Family Institute for Innovative Psychiatric Research, designed to advance the science underlying the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric illnesses. “We thought it would have an impact,” Andrew says. “Our family has experienced mental illness; trying to make a difference in this area is important to us.”
On June 30, the final day of Leading Together, the Taylors committed an additional $10 million to the Taylor Family Institute. Andrew says institute researchers “have had some interesting success with a new classification of drugs, neurosteroids, which fight profound depression. Part of this gift, to use the layman’s term, is to get these drugs across the finish line.”
Chancellor Wrighton calls Andrew and Barbara Taylor “great university citizens who are among our most dedicated benefactors.” Wrighton says, “We are deeply grateful to both of them for their extraordinary generosity, which will have a lasting impact on our students, our university and our society.”
Serving the community
Andrew Taylor, who is executive chairman of St. Louis–based Enterprise Holdings — which operates Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car — as well as Barbara and other members of the Taylor family have long supported and been active in St. Louis’ civic and cultural organizations. Barbara Taylor is an honorary trustee and former president of the board of commissioners for the Saint Louis Art Museum, as well as a trustee and a member of the executive committee of Forest Park Forever. She previously served as a trustee of Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School and of Webster University.
“One of the best things about Washington University,” Andrew says, “is that it’s a very caring school. If they admit you, they work really hard to keep you and help you do well.
“My family loves St. Louis,” he continues, “and Washington University is a big economic engine and brings a lot of prestige to our area. It’s very, very good for St. Louis — one of the best things we have in this town, and we have a lot of really good things.”
Andrew calls his campaign experience “a lot of fun.” Along the way, he says, “I learned a lot from the people and groups and volunteers that I met.
“Then the campaign accomplishments came, whether it was creating great psychiatric medicines or building new buildings or having new programs that are relevant to what companies want for jobs. So I feel a really good sense of accomplishment.”