The Danforth Plaza was created as part of the Danforth Campus Dedication in September 2006. It extends both to the north and south of Brookings Hall, and is marked with a plaque at each end highlighting the contributions of William H. Danforth, the Danforth family, and the Danforth Foundation. It also contains benches, a fountain, a planter, and a 16-foot-diameter granite medallion embedded in the ground welcoming visitors to the Danforth Campus.
The Danforth family has been instrumental in the development of the university. Dr. William H. Danforth was the 13th chancellor of the university. During his chancellorship the number of faculty chairs more than doubled, there were dozens of new buildings constructed, and nearly 60,000 students graduated. Donald Danforth, Jr worked for the Ralston Purina Company and lead many civic organizations. John C. Danforth was a U.S. senator who served on numerous committees. Elizabeth Danforth was the wife of William H. Danforth; she was known around the university for her concern for the students has a number of scholarships dedicated in her name.