Washington University in St. Louis (also referred to as WashU, or WUSTL) is a private research university located in St. Louis, Missouri, United States. Founded in 1853, and named after George Washington, the university has students and faculty from all 50 U.S. states and more than 120 countries. Twenty-five Nobel laureates have been affiliated with Washington University, nine having done the major part of their pioneering research at the university. Washington University's undergraduate program is ranked 19th by U.S. News & World Report and 11th by the Wall Street Journal in 2016. The university is ranked 23rd in the world in 2016 by the Academic Ranking of World Universities.
Washington University is made up of seven graduate and undergraduate schools that encompass a broad range of academic fields. Washington University was conceived by 17 St. Louis business, political, and religious leaders concerned by the lack of institutions of higher learning in the Midwest. Missouri State Senator Wayman Crow and Unitarian minister William Greenleaf Eliot, grandfather of the poet T.S. Eliot, led the effort.
Washington University spent its first half century in downtown St. Louis bounded by Washington Ave., Lucas Place, and Locust Street. By the 1890s, owing to the dramatic expansion of the Manual School and a new benefactor in Robert Brookings, the University began to move west. The University Board of Directors began a process to find suitable ground and hired the landscape architecture firm Olmsted, Olmsted & Eliot of Boston. A committee of Robert S. Brookings, Henry Ware Eliot, and William Huse found a site of 103 acres (41.7 ha) just beyond Forest Park, located west of the city limits in St. Louis County. The elevation of the land was thought to resemble the Acropolis and inspired the nickname of "Hilltop" campus, renamed the Danforth campus in 2006 to honor former chancellor William H. Danforth.
Washington University's undergraduate program is ranked 19th in the nation in the 2017 U.S. News & World Report National Universities ranking. Additionally, 19 undergraduate disciplines are ranked among the top 10 programs in the country. In 2013, the ranking's peer assessment score was 4.1. In 2013, Washington University received a record 30,117 applications for a freshman class of 1,500 with an acceptance rate of 13.7%.