Saint Louis University

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Saint Louis University
Saint louis university MO logo.png
Latin: Universitas Sancti Ludovici
MottoAd Majorem Dei Gloriam (Latin)
Motto in EnglishTo the greater glory of God
EstablishedNovember 16, 1818
TypePrivate Nonprofit
Research Coeducational
Religious affiliationJesuit (Roman Catholic)
EndowmentUS $956 million[1]
PresidentWilliam R. Kauffman, J.D. (interim)
LocationSt. Louis, Missouri,
United States
CampusUrban - 235 acres (95.1 ha) [2]
Former namesSaint Louis Academy (1818) Saint Louis College (1820-1932)
Fight song"SLU Fight Song"[3]
ColorsBlue      and      White
AthleticsNCAA Division I - A-10
Sports16 varsity sports teams[4]
(7 men's and 9 women's)
SLU wordmark.png
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Saint Louis University
Saint louis university MO logo.png
Latin: Universitas Sancti Ludovici
MottoAd Majorem Dei Gloriam (Latin)
Motto in EnglishTo the greater glory of God
EstablishedNovember 16, 1818
TypePrivate Nonprofit
Research Coeducational
Religious affiliationJesuit (Roman Catholic)
EndowmentUS $956 million[1]
PresidentWilliam R. Kauffman, J.D. (interim)
LocationSt. Louis, Missouri,
United States
CampusUrban - 235 acres (95.1 ha) [2]
Former namesSaint Louis Academy (1818) Saint Louis College (1820-1932)
Fight song"SLU Fight Song"[3]
ColorsBlue      and      White
AthleticsNCAA Division I - A-10
Sports16 varsity sports teams[4]
(7 men's and 9 women's)
SLU wordmark.png

Saint Louis University (SLU, /ˈsl/) is a private research university with campuses in St. Louis, Missouri and Madrid, Spain [5] and courses available globally online through the School for Professional Studies.[6] Founded in 1818 by the Most Reverend Louis Guillaume Valentin Dubourg,[7] SLU is the oldest university west of the Mississippi River and the second-oldest Jesuit university in the nation. It is one of 28 member institutions of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. The university is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.[8] SLU's athletic teams compete in NCAA's Division I and the Atlantic 10 Conference. It has a current enrollment of 13,505 students, including 8,687 undergraduate students and 4,818 graduate students, representing all 50 states and more than 70 foreign countries.[1] Its average class size is 23.8 and the student-faculty ratio is 12:1.[1]

For over 30 years the university has maintained a campus in Madrid, Spain.[9] The Madrid campus was the first freestanding campus operated by an American university in Europe and the first American institution to be recognized by Spain's higher education authority as an official foreign university. The campus has 675 students, a faculty of 110, an average class size of 15 and a student-faculty ratio of 7:1.[10]


Statue of Saint Ignatius at SLU.

Saint Louis University traces its origins to the Saint Louis Academy, founded on 16 November 1818 by the Most Reverend Louis Guillaume Valentin Dubourg, Bishop of Louisiana and the Floridas, and placed under the charge of the Reverend François Niel and others of the secular clergy attached to the Saint Louis Cathedral. Its first location was in a private residence located near the Mississippi River in an area now occupied by the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

Already having a two-story building for the 65 students using Bishop Dubourg's personal library of 8,000 volumes for its printed materials, the name Saint Louis Academy was changed in 1820 to Saint Louis College (while the secondary school division remained Saint Louis Academy, now known as St. Louis University High School). In 1827 Bishop Dubourg placed Saint Louis College in the care of the Society of Jesus, not long after which it received its charter as a university by act of the Missouri Legislature.[7] In 1829 it moved to Washington Avenue and Ninth at the site of today's America's Center by the Edward Jones Dome. In 1852 the university and its teaching priests were the subject of a viciously anti-Catholic novel, The Mysteries of St. Louis, written by newspaper editor Henry Boernstein whose popular paper, the Anzeiger des Westens was also a foe of the university.[11]

In 1867 after the American Civil War the University purchased "Lindell's Grove" to be the site of its current campus.[12] Lindell's Grove was the site of the Civil War "Camp Jackson Affair". On May 10, 1861 U.S. Regulars and Federally enrolled Missouri Volunteers arrested the Missouri Volunteer Militia after the militia received a secret shipment of siege artillery, infantry weapons and ammunition from the Confederate Government. While the Militia was arrested without violence, angry local citizens rushed to the site, and rioting broke out, in which 28 people were killed. The Camp Jackson Affair lead to open conflict within the state, culminating with a successful Federal offensive in mid-June 1861 which expelled the state's pro-secession governor Claiborne Fox Jackson from the state capitol (Jefferson City). Jackson later led a Missouri Confederate government-in-exile, dying of cancer in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1862.

The first (and most iconic) building on campus, DuBourg Hall, began construction in 1888, and the college moved to its new location in 1889.

NE quarter of the Frost Campus of Saint Louis University, including Parks College of Engineering, Aviation, and Technology.

During the early 1940s, many local priests, especially the Jesuits, began to challenge the segregationist policies at the city's Catholic colleges and parochial schools.[13] After the Pittsburgh Courier, an African-American newspaper, ran a 1944 expose on St. Louis Archbishop John J. Glennon's interference with the admittance of a black student at the local Webster College,[14] Father Claude Heithaus, professor of Classical Archaeology at Saint Louis University, delivered an angry sermon accusing his own institution of immoral behavior in its segregation policies. By summer of 1944, Saint Louis University had opened its doors to African Americans, after its president, Father Patrick Holloran, secured Glennon's reluctant approval.[15]

Samuel Cupples House.


John Cook School of Business.

Shift to majority lay board of trustees[edit]

In 1967, Saint Louis University became one of the first Catholic universities to increase layperson decision making power. At the time, then board chairman Fr. Paul Reinert, SJ, stepped aside to be replaced by layman Daniel Schlafly. The board also shifted to an 18 to 10 majority of laypeople.[16] This was largely instituted due to the landmark Maryland Court of Appeals case, Horace Mann vs. the Board of Public Works of Maryland, in which grants to "largely sectarian" colleges were declared unconstitutional. The Second Vatican Council has also been mentioned as a major influence on this decision for its increased focus on the laity, as well as the decreased recruitment of nuns and priests since the council.[17]

From 1985 to 1992 the Chairman of the Board of Trustees was William H.T. Bush (younger brother of former President George H. W. Bush). The younger Bush also taught classes at the school.[18]

Since the move to lay oversight, debate has erupted many times over how much influence the Roman Catholic Church should have on the affairs of the university. The decision by the University to sell its hospital to Tenet Healthcare Corp. in 1997 met much resistance by both local and national Church leaders, but went ahead as planned.[19]


Beginning in September 2012, Saint Louis University faculty senate voted No-Confidence in the leadership of then Vice-President Manoj Patankar with instructions for his dismissal to Fr. Lawrence Biondi, then president of the school. The Board of Trustees responded with a letter of support for the administration, and Biondi refused to dismiss Patankar. In October, the faculty senate voted No Confidence in the leadership of Biondi, with the campus Student Government Association following suit. [20] [21]

On the heels of these votes, a vow was issued from a group of Trustees meeting with faculty senate leaders to incease communication and to conduct a campus climate assessment with an outside firm. In December 2012, faculty and students learned of the university’s decision to hire an outside public relations firm, FleishmanHillard, through a letter leaked from Trustee chairman Tom Brouster. The letter noted that the firm advised trustees to halt communication with faculty, students and media regarding the issue. Patankar resigned from his position as vice president at the following board meeting.[22] [23] [24]

In March 2013, the campus climate assessment was released amid controversy, in part due to the lack of questions specifically regarding Biondi. When a faculty member suggested creating a second survey with altered questions, he was contacted by the university regarding their intent to pursue legal action over copyright issues, should the survey be altered and released. [25]

In April 2013, the campus chapter of the American Association of University Professors determined that 73% of respondents to their survey supported a change of administration. Following this release, Brouster announced his resignation from the Board of Trustees and both he and Biondi refused to speak at the faculty senate meeting following this announcement. [26]

In May 2013, Biondi announced his retirement at a gala for his 25th anniversary as president of SLU. [27]


SLU's campus consists of over 235 acres (95.1 ha) of land and 7.2 million GSF (7,200,000 square feet (670,000 m2)), with 131 buildings on campus.

Libraries and museums[edit]

Pius XII Library.

Saint Louis University has four libraries. Pius XII Memorial Library is the general academic library. It holds over 1 million books, 6,000 journal subscriptions, and 140 electronic databases. Pius XII Memorial Library is currently under renovations, which were voted upon by the students in November 2011. These renovations, which are due to be completed in June 2012, includes more seating, more study areas, and designated noise zones. The Knights of Columbus Vatican Film Library holds a unique collection of microfilm focusing on the manuscripts housed in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. The Omer Poos Law Library houses the law collection and is within the School of Law. The Medical Center Library serves the health and medical community at SLU.

Every year the Saint Louis University Library Associates present the St. Louis Literary Award to a distinguished figure in literature. Sir Salman Rushdie received the 2009 Literary Award. E.L. Doctorow received the 2008 Saint Louis Literary Award.

The University also has two museums, the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA) and the Saint Louis University Museum of Art (SLUMA). The Samuel Cupples House at the heart of campus features SLU's collection of art deco and art nouveau glass. In addition, Boileau Hall provides current students and faculty with space to display their work.[28]


Saint Louis has both dormitory and apartment space on-campus. As part of the First Year Experience (FYE) program, resident freshman students are required to live on campus (unless a commuter from the Saint Louis area) for the first two years of their careers at SLU, before being released to move into Upperclassmen or off-campus housing. The sophomore residency requirement caused controversy when initiated in the 2009–10 school year, as the University lacked adequate housing to house all sophomores and upperclassmen who requested on-campus housing. Around 1000 juniors and seniors were pushed off campus when sophomores were granted access to traditionally Junior and Senior housing options. In the 2010–11 school year, the school announced the transfer of the Student Housing Scholarship (of $1,000 to $2,000) to Tuition Scholarship, which made off-campus housing more affordable and pursued by upperclassmen.

Freshman Year Experience options[edit]

Student Village On Campus Apartments

The Griesedieck Complex (also known as "Gries", pronounced "greez") contains 16 stories of living space in its main building, which was completed in 1963,[29] with additional living space in its two wings: Walsh, all female, and Clemens, all male. Gries is located in the heart of the campus, in front of the quad, and has an average freshman living space, 10' 7.5" by 18' 2", with community showers and bathrooms. Reinert Hall, named after Jesuit Father Paul C. Reinert, is located two blocks south of the main campus in a converted Marriott hotel. Where the building lacks in location it makes up for in living space, containing some of the largest dormitories across the country, 12' 1" by 27', complete with private full baths in each room, though each room houses three to four roommates. Reinert also has access to 24-hour in-building study/meeting rooms and its own dining hall. Other on-campus housing is the site of several different FYE Learning Communities, which allow freshmen to live and study with like-minded or like-majored peers. Fusz Hall houses the Honors Learning Community, while Marguerite Hall houses both the Micah Program and the Business Learning Community.

Upperclass options[edit]

Flats at 374 Junior and Senior Apartments

Several housing choices exist for sophomores, juniors and seniors. SLU has one Greek house; the Sigma Chi chapter owns a house located less than a block from campus, and DeMattias Hall acts as a Greek dormitory and de facto community House. Next to DeMattias Hall is Marguerite Hall, which offers 8 floors of suite-style two-occupancy dorm rooms. Continuing up West Pine Mall, is Pruellage (formerly Notre Dame Hall). While many honors students once chose to live here, in 2008 it was changed to "The Language Villa," where foreign students and language students can live together. The choice of moving the foreign and language students from the Language Houses on Laclede Street to Notre Dame Hall created some controversy in both the language and honors communities. The former Language Houses, once French, German, and Spanish, are now occupied by upperclassmen notably from the Micah Program. Another dorm option is Fusz Hall, catercorner to the University's Clocktower.

Grand Forest, the Village, and the Marchetti Towers are the on-campus apartment options available. Because of its proximity to the Chaifetz Arena, many student-athletes live in Grand Forest. Similarly, the Village, just across from DeMattias, houses many Greeks. The Marchetti Towers are just west of Grand Forest and consists of two, 12-story towers. During the summer of 2008, Marchetti Towers underwent a $3.8 million renovation.

Major building and renovation projects[edit]

During the past 20 years, the University has seen the modernization and construction of campus buildings as well as the revitalization of surrounding Midtown St. Louis. Some of the highlights of Biondi's tenure at SLU include the investment of more than $840 million in enhancements and expansions including the major expansion of the John Cook School of Business; construction of McDonnell Douglas Hall, home to Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology; the Center for Advanced Dental Education; the Doisy College of Health Sciences Building and the expansion and renovation of the Busch Student Center. Part of this expansion was the closing of two blocks of West Pine Boulevard (the section between N. Vandeventer Ave. and N. Grand Blvd.) and two blocks of N. Spring Ave. (between Lindell Blvd. and Laclede Ave.), both public streets which the campus had previously expanded across, converting them into a pedestrian mall. Furthermore, the University completed construction of the $82 million Edward A. Doisy Research Center in 2007 and the on-campus Chaifetz Arena in 2008.[30]

Edward A. Doisy Research Center[edit]

Doisy research center

SLU recently completed building a $67 million, 10-story tall research center connected to its Medical Campus Building. It is designed to be a green building and is named for Edward Adelbert Doisy, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine laureate of 1943 and a long-time faculty member at SLU's medical school.[31] With improvements to other research building facilities, the total cost of the project is forecast to be around $80 million. The building had its official dedication ceremony on December 7, 2007, with faculty and staff having begun to move in during the previous weeks.

In July 2010, the Edward A. Doisy Research Center became home to the Center for World Health and Medicine, a non-profit drug discovery group dedicated to developing therapies for orphan and neglected diseases.

Saint Louis University School of Law[edit]

New Law School

A new era officially kicked off for the first law school west of the Mississippi River when classes began at Scott Hall, the new home of Saint Louis University School of Law, on Aug. 19, 2013. The former office building on 100 N. Tucker Blvd. in downtown St. Louis is now a stunning piece of design and architecture built to educate and challenge future members of the legal profession.

For the first time, all aspects of the school's vibrant community, including the Saint Louis University Law Library and Legal Clinics, are housed under one roof. Previously spread across multiple buildings and maze-like hallways, the new building, along with thoughtful design elements, allows for improved collaboration between students, faculty and staff and provides a true communal environment—an attribute that has long been a source of pride for the School of Law.

From the lobby entryway to the newly created 12th-floor rooftop pavilion and courtyard, the building—named in honor of Joe and Loretta Scott, St. Louisans who donated the building to SLU in 2012—is contemporary, spacious and suitable for a multitude of learning and networking opportunities. The interior spaces are adaptable to small group study and meeting sessions, diverse classroom arrangements, large events and professional skills competitions.[32]

Chaifetz Arena[edit]

The multi-purpose arena, construction of which was completed in early April 2008 at a cost of $80.5 million, contains 10,600 seats for basketball, a training facility, state-of-the-art locker rooms, and a practice facility that can house an additional 1,000 spectators. It is located on the easternmost end of campus, just north of I-64/U.S. Highway 40. The arena replaced Scottrade Center as the University's primary location for large events, notably Commencement celebrations and varsity sports. On February 28, 2007, the arena was named in honor of University alumnus (1975) Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz, founder and CEO of ComPsych Corp., who made a $12 million naming rights gift to the Arena.[33] The University's official dedication ceremony for the Arena was held on April 10, 2008.[34]


Saint Louis Billikens

The Saint Louis Billikens are the collegiate athletic teams from Saint Louis University. This NCAA Division I program has teams in soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, swimming and diving, cross country, tennis, track and field, and field hockey. They compete in the Atlantic Ten Conference (where they are the westernmost member, and both the first member located west of the Mississippi and in the Central Time Zone). The school has nationally recognized soccer programs for men and women. The school has heavily invested in its on-campus athletic facilities in the past twenty years with the creation of Hermann Stadium and Chaifetz Arena. Chris May is the current director of athletics.

The Saint Louis Billikens have a student-run fan club called the SLUnatics. This club supports all sporting Billiken athletic events focusing mostly on soccer and basketball. At Billiken basketball games, the SLUnatics have a large cheering section where they lead chants and cheers to engage the crowd. In order to encourage students to attend athletic events and be a part of SLUnatics, a program called Billiken Rewards was created. It is a free program where students collect credits at designated events to earn prizes. Through five different prize levels, students can earn a variety of Billiken merchandise.

Student life[edit]

Student organizations[edit]

Saint Louis University has over 240 student organizations that cover a variety of interests: student government, club sports, organizations focused on media and publications, performing arts, religion and volunteerism and service.[35]

Walking through the SLU portals at Grand Boulevard.

Non Social Greek student groups[edit]

St. Francis Xavier College Church
DuBourg Hall serves as the administration building for Saint Louis University.

Greek life[edit]

Saint Louis has ten fraternities and six sororities on-campus.[40] These fraternities and sororities serve as a social outlet to the undergraduate students of Saint Louis University. They provide students with various opportunities to interact with each other and meet make new friends. All fraternities and sororities individually host events and participate in philanthropy activities, while periodically throughout the year these fraternities and sororities come together to participate in all Greek events. The goal of Saint Louis University's Greek Life is to spread the bond of brotherhood and sisterhood within campus. Students are encouraged to get involved with Greek Life.

Student's involved in Greek Life can participate in a week long event called Greek Week. The sororities and fraternities are paired together to create six teams and compete to win Greek Week title. Teams earn points for attendance and participation. Each day a different event is hosted and throughout the week there is a profit share with restaurants near campus such as Pickleman's and Diablitos. The final event is called Greek-A-Palooza. All six teams make up a skit based on the year's theme and perform it in front of a panel of judges. After tallying up points the winner of Greek Week is announced at Greek-A-Palooza. Money is raised throughout the week for a charitable philanthropy. Each year the philanthropy is different. Greek Week brings together students in the Greek community to work together and as a whole.


Notable alumni[edit]


The Arts[edit]



Enrique Bolaños, former President of the Republic of Nicaragua.



U.S. captain Brian McBride playing for Fulham F.C.


Notable faculty[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r [1]
  2. ^ 2009 SLU facts, p. 2
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Saint Louis University Sports". 
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ [3]
  7. ^ a b "University of Saint Louis". Catholic Encyclopedia Online. 
  8. ^ [4]
  9. ^ "Facts and Figures". 
  10. ^ About SLU Madrid – Madrid Campus Profile
  11. ^ Catholicism and American Freedom,, John McGreevy Norton and Co., New York 2003, p. 22-23.
  12. ^ The University's main campus is named "Frost Campus" in honor of General Daniel M. Frost, commander of the Missouri Militia during the Camp Jackson Incident. After being exchanged for a captured Federal officer, General Frost "went south" and was commissioned as a General in the Confederate Army. The University named the campus after General Frost at the request of his daughter Mrs. Harriet Frost Fordyce, who contributed $1,000,000 to the University, allowing a major expansion in 1962. Frost Campus Ironically, part of the Frost Campus covers the former "Camp Jackson" militia encampment site.
  13. ^ Donald J. Kemper, "Catholic Integration in St. Louis, 1935–1947", Missouri Historical Review, October 1978, pp. 1–13.
  14. ^ Ted LeBerthon, "Why Jim Crow Won at Webster College," Pittsburgh Courier, 5 Feb. 1944, p. 13.
  15. ^ "Pressure Grows to Have Catholic College Doors Open to Negroes," Pittsburgh Courier, 19 Feb. 1944, p. 1; "St. Louis U. Lifts Color Bar: Accepts Five Negroes for Summer Session," Pittsburgh Courier, 6 May 1944, p. 1.
  16. ^ "A Louder Voice for the Laymen". Time Magazine. 1967-02-03. Retrieved 2008-01-24. 
  17. ^ Pamela Schaeffer (1997-10-31). "St. Louis U. showdown could draw in Vatican – high church officials vs. university officials in the selling of Catholic teaching hospital for $3 mil to for-profit Tenet Healthcare Corp". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 
  18. ^ William H.T. (Bucky) Bush – – Retrieved January 28, 2008
  19. ^ Tim Townsend, Deirdre Shesgreen, Tom Timmermann (2008-01-23). "Burke would deny Majerus holy Communion". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2008-01-23. 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Biography of Lawrence Biondi, S.J.". Saint Louis University. 
  31. ^ SLU Press Release: SLU Research Building Named in Honor of Nobel Laureate Following $30 Million Gift
  32. ^ SLU Press Release
  33. ^ "SLU Arena Named for Alumnus Richard A. Chaifetz". Retrieved 2007-10-23. 
  34. ^ "SLU Arena Named for Alumnus Richard A. Chaifetz". Retrieved 2007-10-23. 
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^ "Fraternities and Sororities". Retrieved 2007-10-23. [dead link]
  41. ^ "Zeta Tau Alpha has arrived at Saint Louis University!". Retrieved 2007-10-23. 
  42. ^ Staff. "Dr. Thomas S. Elias Retires as Arboretum Director". National Bonsai Foundation Bulletin, Winter 2009-2020. National Bonsai Foundation. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  43. ^ "Cactus and Succulent Plant Specialist Group chair: Héctor M. Hernández". Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  44. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°38′11″N 90°14′02″W / 38.636497°N 90.233903°W / 38.636497; -90.233903