Greetings from Washington University’s Danforth Campus! Throughout the past year and a half, there were often times when I thought we’d never get here — to the start of an academic term that begins to look more like the ones we had prior to the pandemic. With the new academic year starting in just a few short weeks, our Danforth and Medical campuses are both buzzing once again with activity. With fewer restrictions than we had in place last year, there seems to be a rejuvenated energy in the air.
I will be thrilled to welcome our Class of 2025 along with our international, transfer and exchange students, and our newest cohort of graduate, professional and medical students. We continue to enroll an increasingly diverse and highly talented student body, and I look forward to seeing how each of them will engage in our many university traditions and with the St. Louis region.
I’m also pleased that, through our strengthened resolve to increase educational access, we have been able to attract even more talented first-generation, low-income and underrepresented students of color. Our College Prep Program, which you can read more here, is just one of the many programs helping us increase access to higher education and attract exceptional students.
This continues to be one of our highest priorities and a significant part of our strategic planning, which is now well underway. While our students will soon settle into a new term, our faculty and staff continue the important work of advancing our mission and place of distinction in education, research and patient care. In this issue, you’ll learn about some of that extraordinary work — from a new master’s program in genetic counseling to climate change research taking place at the Tyson Research Center and funded by the Living Earth Collaborative, research about the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on communities of color, and more. You’ll also learn about some of the innovative ways our faculty members are engaging students to prepare them to become values-based leaders in a rapidly changing world. A joint class through Olin Business School and Arts & Sciences called “Morality and Markets,” taught by Peter Boumgarden, professor of practice of strategy and organization, and Abram Van Engen, associate professor in English, is one such example.
Meanwhile, our WashU alumni are doing their part to make the world a better place. This issue highlights a number of inspiring stories, including an alumna engaging in scientific research at NASA and an alumnus spearheading data integrity for the Negro Leagues. Further, the cover story highlights six accomplished alumni artists as they share their favorite university memories. I’m continually impressed by the work of our alumni and the many ways they embody our spirit, mission and values.
With what feels like a fresh start — on what I can only hope is the tail end of this historic pandemic — I remain confident that here at Washington University we are moving in the right direction. And as always, I remain grateful for our entire community and the many ways you contribute to and support the essential work we do to improve lives in service of the greater good.
Thank you especially for your dedication during such an unprecedented time, and warm wishes as you, too, embark on this new season.