When Anthony J. Azama, the John M. Schael Director of Athletics and associate vice chancellor of student affairs, walks past the new mural of scholar-champions in the Athletic Complex, three words come to mind: inspire, inform, empower.

“Inspire, because our scholar-champions really are an inspiration — athletically and academically. Inform, because we always have guests who come here for the first time and aren’t aware of all of our sports or the accomplishments of our teams,” Azama explains. “The empower part is also really important to me. I want people to see themselves in the strength of our community.”

The new mural features 17 alumni and current student athletes in action under the Gateway Arch. Think the Avengers, WashU style. There’s soccer player Armando Sanchez-Conde , a senior studying environmental biology, readying a shot on goal. And 2010 UAA Player of the Year and sports executive Sean Wallis , BSBA ’09, MS ’10, moving toward the net in a basketball game. And 2021 NCAA Woman of the Year Award finalist and future physician Eka Jose , AB ’21, leaping through the Arch as she competes in the long jump.

Hover over the image to learn what these Bears are doing today.

“They are all in their own element, joining forces,” Azama says. “It’s almost like they are chasing something. And in my mind, what they are chasing are championships and success in the classroom.”

Azama is proud of the strong performance of WashU teams and prouder still that WashU athletes hold an average GPA of 3.66. In 2021, 14 scholar-athletes earned prestigious Academic All-America honors from the College Sports Information Directors of America.

“It’s all about getting them ready for the next chapter of their lives,” Azama says.

(Mural: Waterboy Graphics; lead designer: Betsy LeClair)