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WashU History FAQ

Frequently asked questions about the history of Washington University in St. Louis (Missouri, USA). Pages maintained by University Archives.

Founders' Day Keynote Speakers at Washington University

Speakers listed by year.
Speech title, if known, is listed in quotations.

1953   Charles Malik, Minister of Lebanon. 02/22/1953
1954   Ethan A.H. Shepley, Acting Chancellor. 02/22/1954
1955   Earl Warren, US Supreme Court Justice, "Blessings of Liberty." 02/19/1955
1956   Ethan A. H. Shepley, Chancellor; and W. Victor Weir, WU Federation President. 02/23/1956
1957   Ethan A. H. Shepley, Chancellor; and James M. McDouglas, Chair of WU Board of Directors. 02/20/1957
1958   Charles W. Bryan Jr., President Standard-Pullman and member of WU Board of Directors, "Alumni-University Relationships." 02/21/1958
1959   Huston Smith, Professor of Philosophy at MIT, "A Time to Praise the Soul of Man." 02/22/1959

1960   Abraham L. Sachar, President of Brandeis University, "Debasing Our Academic Coinage." 02/21/1960
1961   Fannie Hurst, author, "What a Novelist Thinks About." 02/26/1961
1962   James E. Webb, administrator of NASA. 02/24/1962
1963   C.P. Snow, "Science and the American Dream." 02/23/1963
1964   Hodding Carter, "Tale of Two Continents." 02/22/1964
1965   Ernest Havemann, "Why Johnny Can't Write," (Founders Week 1965). 02/17/1965
1965   James F. Oater Jr., "Importance of a Liberal Education," (Founders Day 1965). 02/19/1965
1966   Frederick Deming, "Updating Our International Monetary System." 02/16/1966
1966   Roger Blough, "Defending Freedom with Freedom." 02/19/1966
1967   John W. Gardner. 02/25/67
1968   Arthur Kornberg, "Recent Revolution in Biology." 03/01/1968
1969   Reverend Paul C. Reinert, President of St. Louis University. 02/22/1969

1970   Jerome H. Holland, President of Hampton Institute and US Ambassador Designate to Sweden, "The Dilemma in Urban America." 02/28/1970
1971   George Mylonas, Archaeologist and Professor Emeritus. 02/20/1971
1972   William H. Danforth, Chancellor of Washington University - St. Louis. 02/26/1972
1973   Howard J. Morgens, Chairman and CEO of Procter and Gamble Co., "Business and the Universities - a call for mutual understanding." 02/10/1973
1974   R. Buckminster Fuller. 03/02/1974
1975   Art Buchwald, "Monologue." 03/01/1975
1976   David Brinkley. 03/06/76
1977   Tom Brokaw, "Good News; Bad News." 10/08/1977
1978   William Webster. 10/14/78
1979   Morley Safer, "Television News." 10/13/1979

1980   Pearl Bailey. 10/11/1980
1981   Abba Eban, "Prospects for Peace in the Middle East, Reality or Fantasy." 10/10/1981
1982   Kurt Waldheim, former Secretary-General UN. 10/9/1982
1983   Karl Carstens, President of Federal Republic of Germany. 10/7/1983
1984   Mark Russell, political satirist. 10/13/1984
1985   William McLinn, actor, "Evening with Mark Twain." 10/12/1985
1986   Marshall Loeb, economic and financial journalist. 10/25/1986
1987   Ted Koppel, ABC television news anchor. 11/14/1987
1988   Art Buchwald, Pulitzer Prize-winner and syndicated columnist. 10/15/1988
1989   Beverly Sills, soprano and President of New York City Opera. 10/21/1989

1990   William Safire, Pulitzer Prize-winner and columnist. 10/13/1990
1991   William H. Webster, former director CIA and FBI. 11/16/1991
1992   Thomas F.Eagleton, L.L.B., former US Senator and University Professor of Public Affairs. 10/1/1992
1993   John C. Danforth, US Senator. 10/30/1993
1994   Paula Zahn, CBS television news anchor. 10/29/1994
1995   Jeane Kirkpatrick, former US representative to the UN. 10/28/1995
1996   Dave Barry, humorist and author. 11/9/1996
1997   Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. 10/24/1997
1998   General Colin Powell, former chair of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. 11/07/1998
1999   George H. W. Bush, former President of the United States. 10/30/1999

2000   Norman Schwarzkopf, General, US Army. 11/03/2000
2001   Bill Bradley, former US Senator. 10/27/2001
2002   Tom Brokaw, NBC television news anchor. 11/09/2002
2003   Bob Dole, former US Senator. 09/20/2003
2004   Chris Mathews, MSNBC television news. 10/02/2004
2005   Rudolph Guiliani, former mayor of New York city. 11/05/2005
2006   John Major, former Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. 11/04/2006
2007   James Carville; and Mary Matalin. 11/03/2007
2008   Jon Meacham, editor of NewsWeek. 11/08/2008
2009   David McCullough, historian.11/07/2009

2010   David McCullough, historian.11/06/2010
2011   Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian. 11/5/2011
2012   Robert Gates, former U.S. Secretary of Defense and former director of the CIA. 11/3/2012
2013   Jon Huntsman Jr., former U.S. ambassador to China and former Utah governor. 11/2/2013
2014   Thomas Friedman, New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning author, 11/8/2014
2015   Walter Isaacson, president and chief executive officer The Aspen Institute, 11/7/2015 2015
2016   Nina Totenberg, National Public Radio legal affairs correspondent, 11/5/2016


For further information, see the listing of alumni awardees and Robert S. Brookings Award recipients recognized at Founders' Day events.