Opened in 1928 and renamed the "Ann Whitney Olin Women's Building" in 1979, the Women's Building was the result of a grass-roots effort by female students to erect a meeting place for the University's sororities. Students played an important role in the building campaign, and pledges came from the student body, alumnae, women's groups, and friends of the University.
Ann Whitney Olin was heavily involved in educational philanthropy. Her husband, Spencer T. Olin, was a member of the Board of Trustees and their daughter, Mary Dell Pritzlaff, is an emerita trustee. Also named for the Olins are the Mr. & Mrs. Spencer T. Olin Fellowship Program for Women in Graduate Study, the Olin Conference on women in higher education and the professions, numerous endowed professorships, and Olin Residence Hall at the Washington University School of Medicine.