Eliot Society members come together to honor university’s achievements

Taylor honored with Search Award; former Secretary of State Rice speaks

Eliot Society dinner
At the annual Eliot Society dinner April 18, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton (left) and Chancellor-elect Andrew D. Martin (right) honor Search award recipient Andrew C. Taylor. (Photo: Joe Angeles/Washington University)

The William Greenleaf Eliot Society held its 52nd annual dinner April 18 at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in honor of Washington University in St. Louis’ group of committed supporters.

Eliot Society members generously give to the university and lead in supporting the annual fund. Members help the university address a broad range of critical needs including scholarships, student assistance programs, educational resources and faculty development. At last count there were more than 10,000 members.

Eliot Society President Merry Mosbacher, who earned a master’s degree in business administration from Olin Business School in 1982, welcomed guests and recognized members’ essential role in university fundraising.

“Your leadership in annual giving is integral in shaping the education and lives of Washington University’s outstanding students,” Mosbacher said. “Our gifts provide vital resources that help them discover and hone their talents.”

Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton followed with remarks and applauded society members’ outstanding support during his tenure as chancellor.

“Soon my chancellorship will end, and I cannot help but reflect on the remarkable contributions of Eliot Society members over the years. Without your investment, our ability to provide a high-caliber education to our students and conduct life-changing research would simply not be possible.”

During the event, Wrighton presented the Search Award to Andrew C. Taylor, who saw record-setting success as chair of the public phase of Leading Together: The Campaign for Washington University.

The Search Award, the Eliot Society’s highest honor, is bestowed upon members of the university community who have made exceptional contributions to furthering its mission.

Awardees receive a silver replica of “The Search,” a sculpture designed by the late Heikki Seppä that symbolizes the endless quest for truth and knowledge. Seppä was a professor emeritus in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.

Taylor is a Washington University life trustee. He is executive chairman of Enterprise Holdings Inc., where he began working at age 16. His father, the late Jack Taylor, founded the business in 1957.

After earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver in 1970, Taylor worked for Ford Motor Co. affiliate RLM Leasing before returning to Enterprise.

He became general manager of Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s St. Louis regional operations. He operated as president and chief operating officer, chief executive officer and chairman for decades. Taylor became executive chairman in 2013.

The Enterprise Holdings Scholars Program has provided 60-80 students with the opportunity to attend the university each year since 2001. Along with his wife, Barbara, he partnered with the Crawford Taylor Foundation to create the Taylor Family Institute for Innovative Psychiatric Research at Washington University School of Medicine in 2012.

Condoleezza Rice speaks at the annual Eliot Society dinner. (Photo: Joe Angeles/Washington University)

After Taylor was presented with the Search Award, Mosbacher introduced Chancellor-elect Andrew D. Martin and this year’s keynote speaker, Condoleezza Rice.

Martin facilitated the discussion with Rice. From 2005-09, she served as the 66th secretary of state of the United States, the second woman and first African American woman to hold the post. She previously served as President George W. Bush’s assistant to the president for national security affairs (national security adviser) from 2001-05, the first woman to hold that post.

Today, Rice is the Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business; the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution; and a professor of political science at Stanford University.

Rice has published several books, including “Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom” and “No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington.” She is also a founding partner of international strategic consulting firm RiceHadleyGates LLC.

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