James S. McDonnell Hall was dedicated in 1993 and named for James S. McDonnell. McDonnell Hall provides space for research, laboratories, and offices for the Department of Biology, as well as a 150-seat auditorium and a 75-seat classroom and 85-seat classroom.
James McDonnell graduated from Princeton with a physics degree, and earned a Master's in Aeronautical Engineering from M.I.T. He served as a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve, and was one of six men to make the first packed-parachute jumps. He oversaw the development of the Martin B-10 and B-12 bombers, and started his own company in St. Louis in 1939, McDonnell Aircraft, with $35,000 of his own and $135,000 in loans. His company got its start when it produced 7 million pounds of airframe during World War II. McDonnell merged with Douglas Aircraft Corporation, and remained a world leader in the production of commercial and military aircraft until its merger with Boeing. McDonnell established a professorship at Washington University in 1964, and the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences in 1975.