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For over 70 years, the Sever Institute has fostered a rich tradition of service to St. Louis and the world by providing educational experiences that prepare students who are just beginning on their career paths, as well as those who are seasoned veterans. Our graduates are renowned for responding to society's needs and pushing disciplinary frontiers translating technological innovations into real-world impact.
Washington University in St. Louis is a top-ranked university and world leader in research and education. WashU's programs in social work, public health, medicine, law, engineering, business, art, architecture, and arts and sciences are consistently ranked and highly regarded at the graduate level, including more than 30 programs ranked in the top 25 by U.S. News & World Report.
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Meet our Sever community
Students and faculty come from a number of career paths and industries. Our small classroom size allows faculty and students to engage with one another and learn based on real-world expertise. You will develop a network of colleagues and mentors who push boundaries and challenge assumptions.
From humble beginnings to pioneer
Henry Edwin Sever was born in 1866 in Hurdland, Missouri, and started life as a penniless farm boy. He rose to become owner and president of Riverside Publishing Co. of St. Louis and later, Chicago.
Sever amassed a fortune publishing highly popular volumes of the history of the world and the United States, book sets that were nearly indispensable to the home life of the average American family in the early 1900s.
Sever died in Chicago in 1941. His philanthropic wishes were outlined in his will and consisted mainly of three special bequests: the construction of a building to house the public library that he had organized many years earlier in Kahok in Knox County, Missouri, where he was born; the development of a forest preserve and game refuge, which is now the state-owned Henry Edwin Sever Memorial Wildlife Area near Newark, Missouri; and the remainder of Sever’s estate went to Washington University, making possible the construction of the 20,526-square-foot Sever Hall, which was dedicated in 1948.In addition, the engineering graduate program became known as the Sever Institute of Technology. In 2000, this name was changed, by a vote of the University’s Board of Trustees, to the Henry Edwin Sever Graduate School of Engineering & Applied Science.