People to know on the Hilltop

Kristin McGrath
Margaret Bauer


Claim to fame: Delise’s smile may be the reason you decided to come here.ÿFor 5 years she’s been welcoming prospective students, her “babies,” to Wash. U., and brightening the lobby of Undergraduate Admissions with the sheer force of her exuberance.

How she got here: Delise, a St. Louis native, made her debut on campus 10 years ago working as a receptionist for the University’s house-keeping company.ÿAfter checking the University’s Web site daily for job openings that would allow her to work with students, she landed a career in Admissions.

Favorite thing about Wash. U.: “I love the students. It is a wonderful job to watch someone grow over four years and then see me crying on graduation. I get a chance to see a fresh person come in and an adult leave.”Advice to incoming freshmen: “Just relax, breathe in, and enjoy. Get good grades, of course, but have a wonderful time. These four years are some of the best of your life, and you can’t get them back.”


Claim to fame: Learn her name, because she’ll learn yours. Mary works at the Mallinkrodt Food Court and is guaranteed to make your day when she swipes your card, flashes her infectious smile and wishes you good luck on your exam.

How she got here: Mary moved from Detroit, Mich. to St. Louis in the mid 1960s. After taking courses in psychology and business, she opted to pursue a job at Wash. U., and on Sept. 30, 1967, she began her 35-year career with University Dining Services.

Favorite pastime: “I love to read. I think I got educated that way. I like to read everything that helps your life to go better, like self-help books and books to tell you about dealing with people.”

Advice to incoming freshmen: “Stay focused. Be aware of your surroundings.ÿI’ve always liked this quotation Robert Kennedy said: ‘Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not.'”

Father Gary

Claim to fame: When he’s not fielding questions on “Missionary Positions,” WUTV’s illustrious sex advice show, Father Gary Braun is available 24/7 at the Catholic Student Center (6352 Forsyth) or wherever else he is needed, for students seeking “advice, coaching, or good company.”

How he got here: A St. Louis native, Father Gary served 4 parishes in the archdiocese of St. Louis before being invited to serve as the director of the Catholic Student Center.

Summer plans: “Raising money and going scuba-diving in the Cayman Islands are the two biggest things I’ll be doing this summer. It’s my annual trip with my priest friends. It’s a whole other way to see the world-from upside down!”

Advice to incoming freshmen: “Develop the capacity for deep friendship. To me, that’s the most important school you’ll ever go to-the school of learning to be capable of deep friendship. The friendships you form during these four years will serve you for the rest of your life.”


Claim to fame: It’s hard to tell whether those students waiting in the long line at Holmes Lounge during the noon rush are there for the sandwiches or for Arthur.ÿHe is the man at the carvery who serves up humor and great conversation along with every Kaiser roll.

How he got here: In 1997, Arthur left his native Chicago and most of his family to break out on his own. While visiting his aunt in St. Louis, he began working at Wash. U. in the food court at the business school.

Favorite things about St. Louis: “I think the campus here is one of the best things.ÿ I like Union Station, and I think that downtown St. Louis in general is a great place. There’s lots to do.”

Advice to incoming freshmen: “The most important thing is to stay focused and strive to be what you want to be. Everyone needs to have fun, but you need to think ahead a bit, too. If you get too distracted, that causes stress, and stress is a mess.”ÿ

Dean Biggs

Claim to fame:ÿ Known by many as the “Rapping Dean,” Biggs writes and performs under the stage name “Headmess.” But, with a sporadic tour schedule “like Barbara Streisand’s,” Biggs can most often be found in South Brookings working as an assistant dean in the College of Arts & Sciences.

How he got here: Life has taken Biggs to Harvard, where he majored in Latin; to Germany, where he worked in a castle; to UCLA, where he earned his Ph.D.; and to Houghton College, where he taught French; before bringing him back to his native St. Louis and to Wash. U.

Favorite thing about Wash. U.: “My favorite part is working with students. We have a couple seniors graduating this year, that we are just devastated to see leave, because we just think the world of these people.

Advice to incoming freshmen: “Start exploring. Get into extracurriculars. What sometimes happens is [that] people are timid about getting involved. You owe it to yourself. The friends and experiences I have from all my activities are what stick with me 25 years later.”

Professor Smith

Claim to fame: Chair of the anthropology department, Dr. Richard J. Smith is best known for his famous Introduction to Human Evolution Class and the standing ovations he often receives after his lectures. His deep concern with the environment has also led him to become one of the University’s most vocal advocates of ecological issues.

How he got here: An orthodontist, Smith came to Wash. U. in 1984 as the chair of the department of orthodontics and medicine. In 1993, the closure of Wash. U.’s dental school brought him to the Hilltop Campus to focus on his other area of expertise, physical anthropology.

Summer plans: “The summer is a good time for me to get caught up on writing.ÿI do a lot of research writing over the summer. My wife and I take our one long trip overseas each summer. This year it’s Scotland.”

Advice to incoming freshmen: “Don’t rush! Slow down! Don’t take 18 credits this semester. Try courses you know nothing about. There’s lots of room in Anthro 150. Come, take it! It’s not as hard as what you’ll hear.”

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