When Washington University’s board of directors made the decision in 1894 to move the university from aging and crowded quarters in downtown St. Louis to a hilltop site on the untamed western edge of Forest Park, a significant challenge arose: How would the university raise the money needed to fulfill its vision for a monumental campus that would inspire learning and discovery?
As it had done many times since the university’s founding in 1853, the board turned to loyal and dedicated alumni and friends for support. By mid-1899, the board, led by Robert S. Brookings, had secured gifts to sponsor the first six structures on the new campus. Brookings himself committed $200,000 for an administration building that was later named in his honor. Other donors included Adolphus Busch, Samuel Cupples, Elizabeth Liggett, and Stephen Ridgley, whose names also are memorialized on the Danforth Campus.
Over the years, generous donors have made it possible for Washington University to provide facilities that attract top faculty members and students and allow them to work at the highest level of achievement. Their gifts, like the ones featured on these pages, have strengthened the university’s ability to offer an exceptional teaching, research, and living environment that ensures bright minds reach their full potential.
Chatman Family Lobby Will Welcome Visitors to Danforth Campus
“I still remember when I first walked up the steps and passed through the archway of Brookings Hall,” he says. “That was very impressive. I was the product of a small rural public high school in the Missouri Ozarks, and I had been given the opportunity for a world-class education. That’s something that changes the trajectory of a person’s life.”
To help ensure that future generations of students envision the life-changing possibilities of a Washington University education during their first visit, Dr. Chatman and his wife, Deborah, have made a $200,000 gift to help establish a new main entrance to the Danforth Campus in support of the east end transformation project. In recognition, the university will name the lower-level lobby in the Gary M. Sumers Welcome Center the Chatman Family Lobby.
“Deborah and I want to be involved with students’ first steps as they make their way into the university,”
– Ira Chatman, AB ’75
Currently under construction, the Sumers Welcome Center will serve as a starting point for campus visitors as well as a destination for current students. The center, with a transparent design that will provide sweeping views of Brookings Hall, will house the undergraduate admissions and student financial services offices and will offer meeting rooms and multiple indoor and outdoor gathering spaces. Visiting students and their families will enter the Chatman Family Lobby directly from a new underground parking garage.
“Deborah and I want to be involved with students’ first steps as they make their way into the university,” Dr. Chatman says. “The current building project shows that the university has a real respect for tradition but also is determined to march forward into the future.”
Dr. Chatman believes his education at Washington University laid the foundation for his professional success. After earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the university, he completed his medical degree at the University of Missouri–Columbia and a residency in anesthesiology at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. He went on to found Interventional Pain Management, a medical group and outpatient department of Baxter Regional Medical Center in Mountain Home, Arkansas, where he has practiced for more than 25 years. An active member of numerous medical organizations, he is board-certified in anesthesiology, pain management, and addiction medicine.
Dr. Chatman began supporting Washington University soon after completing his undergraduate education. In the years since, he and Mrs. Chatman have provided gifts for Arts & Sciences, the School of Engineering & Applied Science, the University Libraries, scholarships, and other purposes. “Each of us who benefits from the kind of opportunity that Washington University offers should give back,” he says.
The Chatmans’ gift for the Sumers Welcome Center also reflects their appreciation for the role the university has played in their children’s lives. One of their daughters, Ariel Chatman Kleczewski, BS ’06, and their son, Clelland, BS ’09, earned undergraduate degrees in the School of Engineering & Applied Science. They also have a daughter, Micaela, who attended Harvard University.
Of watching his daughter and son receive their diplomas at his alma mater, Dr. Chatman says, “It’s hard to describe the pride and pleasure of seeing your children walk across Brookings Quadrangle to graduate, realizing that they rose to the challenge of a rigorous Washington University education.”
– By James Williams
Homans Name Engineering Faculty Suite in Honor of Beloved Grandparents
In 1961, Elsie and Fred Recker—maternal grandparents of Christine Homan, BSBA ’71—traveled from St. Louis to their homeland of Germany to sell a piece of property. Unbeknownst to their family, they planned to give the proceeds to their son-in-law Henry Jubel, BS ’40, to help finance his new business, Spartan Aluminum Products in Sparta, Illinois.
That company, now based in St. Louis and called Spartan Light Metal Products, became a major supplier of die-cast products and assemblies for the automotive industry. It has roughly $200 million in annual sales and 700 employees internationally. Mrs. Homan’s husband, Scott, BS ’66, had a distinguished 36-year career with the company, and her brother Donald Jubel, BS ’73, is executive chairman.
“When my grandparents gave my father the money, there was no documentation or expectation of repayment,” Mrs. Homan says. “My grandmother just handed my mother a check and said, ‘Henry needs this to start his business.’”
“We hope this space will enable faculty members to easily share their research and ideas with each other.”
– Scott Homan, BS ’66
To commemorate the Reckers’ gift, Mr. and Mrs. Homan have made a $150,000 commitment to name the Recker Faculty Suite in Henry A. and Elvira H. Jubel Hall, which currently is under construction in the School of Engineering & Applied Science as part of Washington University’s east end transformation project. Named in honor of Mrs. Homan’s parents through a significant gift from the Henry A. Jubel Foundation, the building will house the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science. Mr. Homan, Henry Jubel, and Donald Jubel each earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Washington University.
Mrs. Homan says naming the suite after her grandparents is a way to further their legacy of selfless generosity. “Because of their gift, my father didn’t have to take out a second mortgage on our house when he started his company. My grandparents were not wealthy, but they made sacrifices and considered it their responsibility to help others. Scott and I try to follow their example by giving back wherever we can.”
With gathering spaces and 10 offices, the Recker Faculty Suite is designed to promote conversation and collaboration among the university’s mechanical engineers and materials scientists. “We hope this space will enable faculty members to easily share their research and ideas with each other,” Mr. Homan says. “We wanted to provide an area for engineers to have spontaneous brainstorming sessions and solve problems together because that’s what engineering is about: solving problems.”
Mrs. Homan adds, “We support top-notch facilities like Jubel Hall because they are critical to ensuring that Washington University remains a world-class institution. We also hope naming this space will inspire others to contribute to the university.”
Beyond their most recent gift, the Homans have made substantial contributions to their alma mater over the years. The couple has provided scholarship gifts, sponsored an Annual Fund giving challenge, and named two spaces in the Brown School: the Homan Garden and the Homan Research Suite. A member of the Brown School National Council, Mrs. Homan recently received the school’s Dean’s Medal for her service.
“I don’t think anyone regrets giving back,” Mrs. Homan says. “My grandparents were hard workers from humble beginnings. They also were extraordinarily generous, and I know they were proud to help my father. Recognizing them with the Recker Faculty Suite is a wonderful way to honor their role in helping my father start what became a very successful business.”