Elliott Society members gather for their last annual dinner – Source

The William Greenleaf Elliott Society held its 53rd—and last—annual dinner in honor of Washington University in St. Louis’s group of committed supporters on April 28 at the Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis.

Members of the Elliott Society donate generously to the university and lead in support of the annual fund. Members assist the university in meeting a wide range of critical needs including scholarships, student assistance programs, educational resources, and faculty development. At last count there were over 10,200 members.

Christopher Chivita, president of the Elliott Society, who earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1984 from what is now the McLevi College of Engineering and an MBA in 1986 from the Olin School of Business, welcomed guests and praised the members’ essential role in university fundraising.

“As leaders in annual giving, you play a pivotal role in creating an exceptional student experience,” said Shivita. “Our gifts provide important resources to help attract talented students to Washoe each year—and that includes scholarships.”

Chancellor Andrew D. Martin also acknowledged the invaluable support of community members during an unprecedented period in the world.

“In the coming years, annual money gifts will help us make adjustments to meet students wherever they are after two years of interrupted learning during the pandemic,” he said. “Most importantly, they will help us deliver on our promise to all students that they, too, can grow, learn, thrive, and nurture in Washoe regardless of their previous opportunities.”

Martin explained that in the coming years, dinners will be replaced by more frequent informal events that “deepen the presence of the community outside of St. Louis and virtually.”

Research Award

During the event, Martin also presented the Research Award to longtime university supporters James S. and Elizabeth H. McDonnell.

The Research Award, the Elliott Society’s highest honor, is given to members of the university community who have made exceptional contributions to further its mission.

Winners receive a silver replica of “The Search,” a statue designed by the late Heikki Seppä that symbolizes the endless search for truth and knowledge. Seba was Professor Emeritus at the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts.

James S. McDonnell III, a Princeton and MIT graduate, began his career as an aerodynamics engineer at McDonnell Aircraft in 1963. His father founded the company, which later became McDonnell Douglas Corp. , in 1939. He retired in 1991 as vice president of the company and served as manager until its merger with Boeing in 1997.

He was a member of the Medical School COVID-19 Task Force and served on the National School Board for 35 years.

Elizabeth H. McDonnell attended Hollins University, where she served on its board of trustees. She is a life member of the Women’s Association at the University of Washington.

Together, St. Louis residents are the university’s most generous benefactors. The pair helped achieve breakthroughs that redefined the way doctors and scientists practice medicine and conduct biomedical research.

The McDonnell family awarded the Elizabeth H and James McDonnell III Institute of Genomes in 2014, one of the few large sequencing centers in the United States to play a leading role in the genome revolution.

They were awarded the Elizabeth Finney McDonnell Chair in Pediatric Hematology Oncology in 2017. The couple awarded Elizabeth H and James McDonnell III a Distinguished Professor of Medicine in 2009 and helped fund the McDonnell Pediatric Research Building in 2000, joining Ann and John F. . McDonnell and JSM Charitable Trust.

Leslie Odom Jr. (left) speaks with Chancellor Andrew D. Martin at this year’s Elliott Society dinner. (Photo: Joe Angelis/University of Washington)

The university awarded the couple the Robert S. Brookings Prize in 2015.

After the McDonnells family received the research award, Martin gave an interview to this year’s guest speaker, Leslie Odom Jr. After the conversation, Odom gave the audience a musical performance.

Odom is an award-winning singer, songwriter, author, and actor. He is best known for his outstanding performance as Aaron Burr in the musical ‘Hamilton’, for which he received a Tony Award. He also received Golden Globe and Academy Awards recognition for his performance as Sam Cooke in Regina King’s One Night in Miami.

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