‘Momentum’ exhibit opens at Olin Library

Exhibit's theme is 'Bridging Past, Present, and Future'

A photo of the WashU Flood Response Team is part of the exhibit “Momentum: Bridging Past, Present, and Future,” opening Sept. 28 at John M. Olin Library.

In mapping his vision for the future of Washington University in St. Louis, Chancellor Andrew D. Martin has looked to the past — the university co-founder who called for the end of slavery; researchers who won Nobel Prizes; the professor who brought quality science education to neighborhood schools; the students who led the charge for greater diversity and equity on campus; and the many other students, staff and faculty who have demonstrated a commitment to academic excellence, inclusion, educational access and to the strength of the St. Louis region. 

Their accomplishments are celebrated in the new exhibit “Momentum: Bridging Past, Present, and Future,” which will be on view from Saturday, Sept.  28, until Dec. 15 and is located in John M. Olin Library, at the Kagan Grand Staircase lobby on Level 1. “Momentum” also is the theme of Martin’s inauguration, which takes place Thursday, Oct. 3. 

“We drew upon our vast collection of campus publications, photographs, books, architectural plans and artifacts to tell the story of Washington University and how we are always moving forward, building on the solid foundation that was laid early in our history,” said Sonya Rooney, university archivist. 

Highlights include: the diary of Chancellor William Greenleaf Eliot, who called for emancipation; the Nobel diploma awarded to Washington University professors Carl and Gerty Cori for their groundbreaking discovery of how the body converts glycogen to glucose; photos of the WashU Flood Response Team helping sandbag during the Great Flood of 1993; and a reproduction of the “Student Life” front page chronicling protests led by the Association of Black Collegians, which resulted in the beginning of the Black Studies Department and changes to university admissions, employment and financial aid practices. 

Rooney hopes the exhibit inspires the community to explore the University Archives′ 300 unique collections.  

“We have such a rich history, and this exhibit is just the tip of the iceberg,” Rooney said. 

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