Who Knew WashU? 2.12.20

Question: The nation will celebrate the birthday of George Washington, the university’s namesake, on Monday, Feb. 17. But after whom was the university originally named?

William Greenleaf Eliot (Courtesy of Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum)

B) William Greenleaf Eliot, the first chair of the Board of Trustees and the third chancellor.

Eliot didn’t want the university named for him, so the board worked to find a suitable alternative. The board settled on Washington because trustees saw the first president’s service to the nation as an important symbol and, coincidentally, the university’s charter passed on Washington’s birthday, Feb. 22, 1853.

Congrats to this week’s winner, Beth Miller, who works at the McKelvey School of Engineering and will receive an “I Knew WashU” luggage tag!

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