Between the hours in the lecture hall and the lab, there was dancing in the Quad, cheering at Francis Field and tug-of-war in the Swamp. Here graduating students reminisce about some of their most memorable moments at Washington University in St. Louis.


“It was crazy. I was not prepared for the spirit there or the noise. My eardrums felt like they were going to burst because of the cheering.”

— Reggie Gacad, a First Year Center executive, on his own freshman convocation.

First 40

First-year students constructed a foam Gateway Arch at the Saint Louis Science Center in 2010 as part of the First 40 activities for new students.


Student photographer Max Campbell captured the crowd dancing to indie act Matt & Kim during the 2011 WUstock.

James E. McLeod, vice chancellor for students and dean of the College of Arts & Sciences,
joined students in 2011 at Relay For Life, which raises money for cancer research and programs.

Beloved by generations of students, McLeod died of lung cancer the following September.

Diwali - WUSTL

Hundreds of students attended the 2011 Diwali performances, sponsored by Ashoka, Washington University’s South Asian cultural group.

Senior Meghna Kataky (left – with red hair piece) calls Diwali her favorite event of the year:

“It is incredibly rewarding to have people see a show put together and run by students who dedicate months of hard work to present the event.”

Chinese Lunar New Year celebration

The annual Lunar New Year Festival features fireworks, performances and activities.

In 2012, Vietnamese Student Association co-presidents Phuong Le (left) and Bryan Nguyen, now seniors,
passed out Vietnamese spring rolls.

2012 NCAA Division III Championship

“The third-place finish in 2012 was an incredible feeling. It is so inspiring seeing your teammates laying it all out on the track and knowing that we are working together to get that team trophy. People don’t always think of track as a team sport, but when everyone is celebrating and you are handed the trophy, you are reminded that you are part of something bigger than yourself.”

— Senior Anna Etherington, pole vault

Res-College Olympics - tug-o-war

Residential College Olympics

Then sophomores Melanie Reeves (center, in red) and Greg Opara (right) played tug-of-war during the 2012 Residential College Olympics.

Other events included soccer, limbo, dodgeball, donut-eating and water balloon-filling competitions.

Park/Mudd Residential College took first place overall.
“The Holi festivities over my four years here have transformed from a giant water balloon fight to a more authentic festival of colors, but the biggest constant has been the energy and enthusiasm that Wash U students bring to the Swamp each year,” said senior and former Student Life Editor-in-Chief Sahil Patel, who filmed the 2012 Holi festivities. “I’ve had a great time covering the event and hope that it continues. There is clearly a strong group of students who care about Indian heritage, and it is uplifting to see so many members of the Wash U community join in and enjoy themselves.”

CGIU closing plenary with Bill Clinton and Stephen Colbert

President Bill Clinton and comedian Stephen Colbert close the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative University
or, as Colbert joked, “Clinton Galactic Initiative.”

More than 1,000 students from Washington University and around the world gathered on campus
to address issues of education, the environment, human rights, poverty and public health.

President Bill Clinton leads WUSTL volunteers at Gateway STEM High School

President Bill Clinton leads WUSTL volunteers at Gateway STEM High School.

“Whenever a big event is happening on campus, you can feel the passion in the air. Having CGIU, the Clintons and so many big-name celebrities on campus was unlike any other event! Walking around campus that weekend you could tell that amazing things were going to happen in the world because of the people present. Electrifying, energizing and exciting are just three words I would use to describe the atmosphere.”

— 2013-2014 Student Union President Matthew Re

Thurtene Carnival at WUSTL“There is nothing like the sight of seeing thousands of people from all over the country at the carnival and knowing that your hard work is part of what made it possible. That’s what the carnival is ultimately about, communities coming together”

— Senior and 2013 ThurtenE President Chisom Uche

Veronica Henson skydivingJumping for joy

Veronica Henson, who will receive her doctorate in audiology, celebrated the completion of her research project by skydiving with faculty mentor Kevin K. Ohlemiller, PhD, Program in Audiology and Communication Sciences.

WUSTL Dance Marathon“There’s country and ‘Power Hour’ and ‘Middle School Hour.’ And, of course, ‘Old Disney.’ It’s kind of surprising, but that is a really big crowd-pleaser because everyone knows those lyrics.”

— Senior and 2013 Dance Marathon Morale Chair Pamela Rivera

winning Founder's Cup“To beat Chicago for the third-straight year and finish our regular season on a seven-game winning streak was an experience I’ll never forget. In years past, the Founder’s Cup game had always signified the last game of the seniors’ careers, but fortunately enough for our class, our careers were extended as we were selected for the NCAA playoffs for only the second time in school history. It was truly an honor to represent the program for four years, and I’m looking forward to seeing the underclassmen build on the foundation and legacy the Class of 2014 will be leaving behind.”

— Andrew Skalman, defensive back, on the 2013 season.

Nick OffermanNick Offerman, star of the television show Parks and Recreation, performed to a packed crowd
at Edison Theatre in 2013. The free show was produced by Social Programming Board.

Fashion Show during Africa Week at WUSTLSenior Ola Abiose was one of 16 student models who strutted the runway at the Made in Africa Fashion Show
in February in Tisch Commons at the Danforth University Center (DUC).

Senior Class ToastSeniors gathered in the Quad in March for the annual Senior Toast.

Mr. WashU competition

Senior Jordan Gamble (left) won the title of Mr. Wash U. in April

The annual event raises money for City Faces, which provides art lessons
to young people living in public housing in St. Louis.

“The night of Mr. Wash U was a culmination of all the hard work myself, the rest of the candidates and our fantastic exec board had been putting into creating the show and raising as much money as possible for City Faces,” said Gamble. “The energy on stage was so incredible and it was great to see all the candidates supporting each other and interacting with the kids from City Faces.”

Childish Gambino - WILD

Senior Andy Koh photographed performer Childish Gambino at WILD April 25, 2014.

“Social Programming Board did a fantastic job this year with WILD. It was the best production I have seen in my past four years, and it was a real treat to see one of my favorite artists, Childish Gambino, before graduation,” Koh said.

Grabbing a selfie with Wrighton at the Chancellor's Dinner for Graduating SeniorsSeniors grab a selfie with Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton at the Chancellor’s Dinner
May 12 at America’s Center in downtown St. Louis.

Class Acts: Celebrating the past, ready for the future.

A five-part series in recognition of students who are changing the world through research, service and innovation.