When the Washington University Facebook page posed this question, scores of alumni wrote in with their favorite teachers and classroom moments. Below is a selection from that list. Have more stories to share? Let us know via Facebook or Twitter.
Professor William (Bill) Lowry in political science. I will never forget the moment in his environmental policy class when a student asked him which material was most important and would be covered on the test. He looked the student straight in the eye and said firmly, "All of it! It's all important." I loved that moment and still do. And it is. It's all important.
Iver Bernstein. He jumped up on his desk and began singing Civil War hymns. Switched my major to history and was able to turn it into a very interesting career.
-Beth Goodman Maser
Dr. Ursula Goodenough. A true tour de force in the world of biology. She pushed me harder than I thought possible as a professor in Cell Biology and as a mentor. She is one of the reasons I am in medical school today. I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from her.
Sowande' Mustakeem. She taught me so much about myself, my heritage, and how to be an advocate for oppressed groups in a society built on structural racism.
Dr. Bill Wallace, who taught me not only an immense amount about Early and High Renaissance Art History, but also to be a clear, concise writer and a careful and creative observer.
Gerhild Scholz Williams - the course in the Renaissance she facilitated in the early 80s was one of the first multi-disciplinary courses offered at WU; it broke down artificial barriers and taught me to think without constraint.
Peter Benson!!! A brilliant professor and mentor, Dr. Benson challenged all of my previous conceptions about tobacco, health, economics, and even the field of existentialism. He was such an important person in my college time!
Dr. Rasmussen. His anthropology classes opened my eyes to the world of physical anthropology, a topic I have now been teaching for almost two decades.
Professor Brett Hyde brought enthusiasm to the study of Linguistics that was tough to beat. It made it hard not to love the subject when it was taught by someone so dedicated to his profession.
Patty Jo Watson...who taught us all SO much more than anthropology and archaeology!
Tim Bono! Amazing professor who truly changed my view on the world with Psychology of Happiness, relatable and will do anything to help his students.
Ray Arvidson. I was a member of the Pathfinder program, and that experience & group of people absolutely shaped my college career. Despite the fact that he's one of the top geologists on the planet, he's still so down to earth (no pun intended) and fun - hosting dinners at his home for students, taking us on field trips, insisting that we call him Ray... WashU would not have been WashU for us without this amazing professor.
Bill Whitaker (Drama). I learned a huge amount from him in class, but he was extraordinary as an advisor and mentor. I was contemplating graduating a year early, and he was the only person I knew who truly led me to the answer I needed instead of just giving his opinion. He was always supportive and gracious enough to allow me to work with him on professional projects outside of WashU. An immeasurable influence.
-Alexa Clare Shoemaker
Richard Smith (physical anthropology) and Glenn Stone (sociocultural anthropology). Both were great teachers and offered thought provoking classes, which effectively linked their subjects to global issues we are currently facing. Their classes persuaded me to major in anthropology and why I am working in international development today!
-Angela Wong Cooper
Carl Phillips, whose passion for and amazing knowledge of poetry inspired how I teach my own students.
-Jenni Simczak Anderson
-Sapna Ravi Kudchadkar
Lynne Tatlock - German. The most engaging teacher I've ever had in my life. She even made learning German grammar fun. Beyond her classroom presence, her humanity, decency and concern for her students remains without peer.
-Paula V. Mehmel
Photo credits: WUSTL Photo,
Originally published in June 2015 for the Ampersand: Alumni Edition. For more stories and updates from Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, visit our news and events page or subscribe to the Ampersand weekly newsletter.