As Washington University in St. Louis prepares for a significant transformation of the east end of its Danforth Campus beginning this spring, plans for the redesign are taking shape. In addition to three new academic buildings, two multiuse pavilions, an underground parking garage, and an expansion of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, the project also includes an entirely reimagined landscape that offers a welcoming entrance to campus and places for members of the university community and visitors to gather and celebrate.
A prominent feature of that landscape will bear the names of Washington University alumna and trustee Ann Rubenstein Tisch and her husband, Andrew. Longtime benefactors of the university, the couple is providing a lead gift in support of the east end transformation. The space – Ann and Andrew Tisch Park, to be known simply as Tisch Park – will represent a significant part of the continuous 18-acre landscape that will serve as a unifying space on the east end of the Danforth Campus.
“We are incredibly grateful to Ann and Andrew Tisch for their unwavering commitment and exceptional generosity to Washington University,” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said. “Of their many substantial gifts, their support for the east end project will be among the most visible and enduring highlights of their legacy on the Danforth Campus. Members of our community — in particular our students and alumni — will appreciate and enjoy Tisch Park for generations to come.”
Tisch Park, which will be situated between Skinker Boulevard and the current location of Hoyt Drive, will include the new Brookings Allée, which will retain the historical character of the original landscape and view, and be home to some 70 of the more than 300 trees that will be planted on the east end. The nearly continuous landscape of Tisch Park will offer pedestrian and bicycle access into and across the Danforth Campus and will connect to the relocated Florence Steinberg Weil Sculpture Garden at the Kemper Art Museum.
Located at the base of the iconic Brookings Hall steps, a court on the west side of Tisch Park will create a physical connection among elements of the new landscape and frame the view of Brookings Hall at the primary entrance to campus. The court will contain comfortable seating areas on the north and south ends and provide direct access to various other places to meet outdoors.
“Andrew and I believe the east campus development is among the most exciting projects at the university,” Ann Tisch said. “The Danforth Campus is one of the most beautiful places in higher education, and our hope is that Tisch Park will make it even better. The idea is to make all visitors feel welcome and inspired by Washington University, and to create a lively and lasting green space for the enjoyment of the entire university community.”
The Tisches, who are life members of the Danforth Circle Chancellor’s Level of the William Greenleaf Eliot Society, have provided generously for numerous Washington University facilities and programs. In addition to their support for the east end project, the couple has made significant contributions in support of scholarships in Arts & Sciences, the Danforth Scholars Program, cancer research and the Danforth University Center, which features the popular student gathering area Tisch Commons, named in their honor.
Ann Tisch graduated from Washington University’s College of Arts & Sciences in 1976, after which she held positions with WIBW-TV in Topeka, Kan., and WCCO-TV in Minneapolis. In 1984, she joined NBC Network News as a national correspondent. Her political, medical and human-interest stories aired on “NBC Nightly News” and NBC’s morning shows. She also became a substitute anchor for the “Today Show” and “NBC at Sunrise.” After 19 years in broadcast journalism, Tisch decided to pursue her long-held passion for education. Today, she is founder and president of the Young Women’s Leadership Network (YWLN). The organization creates and manages all-girls inner-city public schools. There are five such schools in New York City and 13 affiliates around the nation, including Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls, an all-girls STEM charter school in St. Louis sponsored by Washington University. Tisch also is the founder of the CollegeBound Initiative, a co-ed college access program that serves more than 18,000 students in 36 New York City public schools.
Tisch is a long-serving member of the university’s Board of Trustees and is chair of the New York Regional Cabinet. Her dedicated service also extends to Leading Together: The Campaign for Washington University, where she is chair of the Greater New York Regional Campaign Committee and national co-chair for regional campaigns.
Andrew Tisch is co-chairman of the board and chairman of the executive committee of Loews Corporation, where he has worked for more than 45 years. A graduate of Cornell University, he previously served as vice chair of its Board of Trustees. He currently serves on the Board of Overseers for Weill Cornell Medical College and is chairman of the Leadership Council of Cornell’s S.C. Johnson College of Business. Tisch earned a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University and sits on the Harvard Business School Dean’s Board of Advisors, as well as the Board of Trustees for the Brookings Institution. He is vice chair of the New-York Historical Society and sits on the boards of the Wildlife Conservation Society and the New York City Police Foundation.