Author: Melody Walker


About Melody Walker

My nickname around the office is "Scoops" because I always have the latest news from the halls of Simon, Starbucks, or the STL startup scene. Thanks to staff and student bloggers, I'm not alone in reporting on the Olin community here on the Blog. Don't be shy, post a comment or send us your story. New bloggers always welcome!

Larry Thomas, BSBA’77, came to WashU to study science. But discovered he was really attracted to the business school. He switched his major and a summer internship opened doors to a life-long career with Edward Jones. Thomas reflects on his student days and the growth of the business school in this Centennial series video. Larry Thomas is a member of the Olin National Council and a generous supporter of scholarships at Olin.

Learn more about Olin’s history and share your memories on the Olin100 website.

centennial logo redFlag


Sandy Jurgenson, BSBA’81, remembers seeing Simon Hall at Olin Business School for the first time. She, like so many alumni, had attended classes in the crowded, awkward floor plan of Prince Hall that had been originally designed as men’s dorm in 1904. Simon Hall was a state-of-the-art, high tech building when it opened in 1986 and awed returning alumni with its spacious hallways and classrooms. Watch Sandy’s Olin100 video above.

Sandy’s father, Joe Evans, was an administrator at Washington University and her world has revolved around the university for most of her life.


At left, a souvenir from 2011:

Dean Gupta chats with Joe Evans (middle), Olin alumnus and former vice chancellor for university business; Evans’ daughter, Sandy Jurgenson (right), senior associate director of development for Olin; and Jurgenson’s son Drew during the 17th annual Olin Thanksgiving Feast Nov. 24 in the Knight Center.  – from The Record, December 2011

Share your business school memories on the Centennial website, Olin100, or use #Olin100 on social media.

CATEGORY: Student Life

The next Century Club event will be held in Emerson Auditorium, Knight Hall, March 22, starting at 7:30 a.m. with complimentary breakfast. Carl Casale (EMBA’92), CEO of CHS Inc. will be the speaker. Link to RSVP.

This article was originally published in Olin Business Magazine in 2013, written by David Sheets.

Carl Casale

Carl Casale (photo courtesy of CHS)

Carl Casale talked while driving to a meeting outside St. Paul, Minn. It was the only chance he had to sit still.

Life moves fast when you’re president and chief executive officer of CHS Inc., a multi-billion dollar Minnesota-based Fortune 100 cooperative with interests in food processing and wholesale, farm supply and financial services, among many others.

Besides that, Casale and his wife run a commercial blueberry farm in his home state of Oregon, and the busy season is just winding down. When he’s not in St. Paul, he trades his suit and tie for a pair of comfortable jeans and heads to the berry fields to get his hands dirty.

“I go out every two weeks when they’re harvesting,” he said by hands-free phone. “My wife’s there watching things, of course, but it’s my chance to get back out in the fields, because that’s my life’s work.”

Executive decision
Casale grew up on an Oregon vegetable farm, studied agricultural economics at Oregon State, then signed on with Monsanto in Washington state to sell herbicides. From there, he worked his way up to chief financial officer, though finance was not his chief interest or skill. Monsanto offered to help him out.

Through its Executive MBA program, “Olin had a partnership with Monsanto. The leadership at the time thought I should take advantage of that, and I jumped at the chance,” Casale said. “Whenever you have an opportunity to expand your skill base, what you probably don’t appreciate at the time is the ability to also expand your perspective.”

The Executive MBA commitment took up many of Casale’s Fridays and Saturdays, several hours of study-group work each week, plus two hours of book study a night, on top of long days at Monsanto. The program, which he finished in 1992, presented one of the biggest challenges he ever faced, he said.

Olin’s impact
Yet Casale gained more from his Olin studies than he expected.

“The knowledge I gained at Olin … not only allowed me to be an effective CFO, it gave me an appreciation and understanding of how to do it better,” Casale said.

That in turn boosted his management profile and made him the optimum choice to head CHS, known as Cenex Harvest States until changing its legal name in 2003.

“(Casale) has a really impressive and broad scope of business experience,” then-Chairman Michael Toelle told the Star-Tribune in Minneapolis upon Casale’s hiring in 2010. Plus, he has “rural values and a commitment to agriculture.”

But Casale credits Olin for making him a better manager.

“The broader growth through my study group was every bit as valuable to my degree as the hard skills I learned in the classroom, and probably had a greater influence on me over time,” said Casale, who has the distinction of being the first chief executive CHS hired from outside the cooperative.

“You know, you can learn skills by reading a book but you can’t gain perspective by doing that, right? You have to interact with others in order to gain that,” he continued. “In my view, what really differentiated Olin when I went through is that a bunch of members of my study group I still consider to be my best friends.”

CATEGORY: Career, News

The black and white photograph in the 1920 Hatchet yearbook shows 10 seniors standing on the steps of Brookings Hall.

Group-GraduationThe nine men and one woman formed the first graduating class of Washington University’s new business school. There had been one graduate the year before, Henry Duncker, but this was the first class, the first cohort, and the first woman to graduate with a degree from the School of Commerce & Finance, as it was known then.

Margaret Haase told an interviewer many years later that “a degree in business was a necessity for her. The untimely death of both of her parents and the responsibilities of inheriting one third of the family food importing business—the A.C.L. Hasse Co.—made a business education essential.”  Her brother Walter graduated from the Business School in 1921 and took over the family business, but Margaret became a director and worked with the company’s investment portfolio.

Margaret married a lawyer, John Calhoun, soon after graduation. She had three daughters and was active in community service. She served in various capacities with the Girl Scouts of Greater St. Louis including over three years as the president and later as the finance committee chairperson.

Margaret Haase Calhoun passed away Dec. 20, 1999, at the age of 102, at her St. Louis home.

Group-Women's CouncilPages from the 1920 Hatchet highlight the many activities that Margaret Haase participated in at WashU.

Margaret was extremely athletic and played field hockey, basketball, baseball, and was a tennis singles and doubles champion. She also was a winning swimmer and shotput record-holder.  She served on the Women’s Council; vice president of the W.A.A; vice president of the Commerce Club; and several other student clubs.

Group-Kappa Alpha Theta


Link to Olin100 website for more stories about the business school’s first century.

CATEGORY: Student Life