Top 10 of Wash. U. in 2012

| Managing Editor

2012 was a year to remember. From the beginning to the not-so-end of the world, the calendar year saw the re-election of Barack Obama and the advent of “Gangnam Style;” the Summer Olympics gave us the Fabulous Five, 104 United States medals and an opening ceremony featuring the Queen and James Bond. In the Wash. U. bubble, 2012 was a year of change. The University lost strong members of the community in students Emily Benatar and Gabby Reuveni. Wash. U. added one of its strongest classes ever in the class of 2016, and it closed the year with a bang. Following are 10 of the best things to happen at Washington University in 2012:

10) Tyler Jackson wins national championship

Tyler Jackson ran his way into the Wash. U. record books with an outstanding showing at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Track & Field National Championships. Jackson set a school record in the preliminaries for the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.07 seconds and followed it up the next day with an even better performance. He got a great start in the finals and literally ran away with the race and a national championship. He crossed the finish line in 7.93 seconds, lowering his own school record and finishing 0.08 seconds ahead of the closest competitor. Jackson by himself gave Wash. U. an 18th-place finish overall.

Charles Chen | Student Life Newspaper

Chess world champion Garry Kasparov speaks to students in Graham Chapel.

9) Garry Kasparov dominates grad student in chess match

On April 2, world champion chess player Garry Kasparov filled Graham Chapel to speak about chess and politics. While he entertained with jokes about life in the Soviet Union and gave thought-provoking opinions about Russian politics, the highlight of his visit came after his speech. Kasparov played a game of chess with a member of the audience and, as the game came to a close, handed his side of the board over to two small children, giving them pointers along the way. It was a learning experience for all in attendance.

8) Kal Penn discusses his life

Before his rise to prominence, Kal Penn lived with the members of The Lonely Island, the rap group that gained fame on “Saturday Night Live.” Already the star of the “Harold and Kumar” comedy trilogy, Penn decided to forgo a part on the television series “House, M.D.” for a career in politics. And after all he accomplished, Penn still found time to speak to Washington University students about his life and the observations he has made throughout it. He provided an entertaining night for an audience at the 560 Music Building and even hung out with the Ashoka Executive Board afterward.

7) Mike Peters bursts out
of suit for a commencement speech to remember

Although originally derided as an underwhelming choice for a commencement speaker, Mike Peters gave what The Washington Post called an “endearing and surprising” speech that the class of 2012 will never forget. He joked, laughed and even undressed a little: Peters revealed a Superman suit beneath his cap and gown that underlined a strong message of inner strength. Despite a big name like Gloria Steinem on stage to receive an honorary doctorate, Peters stole the show and easily won over the crowd.

Kastyn Matheny | Student Life Newspaper

The bunny dresses up for The Stereotypes concert in Graham Chapel in December.

6) The bunny got a fashion sense

When it grew cold, the famous Wash. U. bunny donned a sweater. With The Stereotypes concert around the corner, it ditched the sweater for a sash, bowtie and knit socks. It was a welcome and endearing change for the much-maligned campus figure.

Madelaine Azar | Student Life Newspaper

The new underpass opens right on time for the Class of 2016.

5) New underpass opens

The walkway to the South 40 received a major facelift over the summer as the Underpass, notorious for dripping water on unsuspecting freshmen since its construction in the 1960s, got its first large-scale renovation. The class of 2016 arrived to a wider and cleaner path, and McLeod’s Way was completed and dedicated to the late Dean James McLeod in mid-September. It was a welcome addition to the Danforth Campus.

4) Eliot Hall destroyed

While the Underpass was renovated, Eliot Hall was deemed beyond hope. The concrete eyesore between the Knight Center and McMillan Hall was demolished over the summer, and construction began on a new complex for the Olin Business School. The campus tour guides collectively heaved a sigh of relief when the building went away; no longer would they have to explain Eliot Hall’s distinctive style and origins.

3) Bill Clinton announces plans visit campus in spring

A strong slate of campus speakers was bolstered on Sept. 25 when Bill Clinton announced that Washington University was chosen to host the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative University Annual Meeting on April 5-7, 2013. Up to 200 Wash. U. students will have the opportunity to attend and interact with the former president of the United States along with other celebrities and political figures. The campus is abuzz with anticipation for his second-ever visit to the Danforth Campus.

2) Gym Class Heroes rocks WUStock

An otherwise lazy afternoon in April turned into a day to remember as hundreds of students flocked to the Swamp on the South 40 for WUStock. An event featuring food trucks, a dunk tank and spin-art sunglasses was highlighted by the performance given by Gym Class Heroes. With a medley of new songs and classic hits, the hip-hop group put on a great show to take students’ minds off the impending doom of midterms, finals and job searches.

Matt Mitgang | Student Life Newspaper

United States senator Claire McCaskill (D) gives her acceptance speech on election night after defeating Republican Todd Akin.

1) Campus celebrates McCaskill victory

Not since the Cardinals’ 2011 World Series run was the campus so united for a singular cause, and it was all thanks to some disparaging comments from U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin (R). Akin’s comments on rape and pregnancy shocked the nation, and many students on campus vehemently opposed the Republican’s continued campaign. The Danforth University Center erupted in cheers when incumbent Claire McCaskill (D) was declared the winner over Akin on election night.