Saint Louis University

For the university in the Philippines, see Saint Louis University (Philippines).
Saint Louis University
Latin: Universitas Sancti Ludovici
Former names
Saint Louis Academy (1818)
Saint Louis College
Motto Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (Latin)
Motto in English
For the greater glory of God
Type Private Nonprofit
Research Coeducational
Established November 16, 1818 (1818-11-16)
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic (Jesuit)
Endowment $1.02 billion[1]
President Fred Pestello
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 13,505[1]
Undergraduates 8,687[1]
Postgraduates 4,818[1]
Location St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
38°38′11″N 90°14′02″W / 38.636497°N 90.233903°W / 38.636497; -90.233903Coordinates: 38°38′11″N 90°14′02″W / 38.636497°N 90.233903°W / 38.636497; -90.233903
Campus Urban – 271 acres (109.7 ha)[3]
Colors Blue and White[4]
Athletics NCAA Division IA-10
Nickname Billikens
Affiliations Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities

Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities[5]

North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools

Saint Louis University (SLU, /ˈsl/) is a private Roman Catholic four-year research university with campuses in St. Louis, Missouri, United States and Madrid, Spain.[6] Founded in 1818 by the Most Reverend Louis Guillaume Valentin Dubourg,[7] It is the oldest university west of the Mississippi River and the second-oldest Jesuit university in the United States. It is one of 28 member institutions of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.[8] The university is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.[9] SLU's athletic teams compete in NCAA's Division I and are a member of 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 nearly 50 years the university has maintained a campus in Madrid, Spain.[10] 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.[11]

Fred Pestello is the current President, serving as the 33rd President of SLU since July 1, 2014. He is the first layman to be president in the school's history (although he was preceded by lay Interim President William R. Kauffman, J.D.)[8]


Statue of Saint Ignatius at SLU.

Saint Louis University traces its origins to the Saint Louis Academy, founded on November 16, 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 within the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

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.[12]

In 1867 after the American Civil War the University purchased "Lindell's Grove" to be the site of its current campus.[13] 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. St. Francis Xavier College Church moved to its current location with the completion of the lower church in 1884. It was completed in 1898.[14]

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.[15] 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,[16] 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.[17]

Samuel Cupples House.


John Cook School of Business.

Shift to majority lay board of trustees

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.[19] 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.[20]

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.[21]

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.[22] In 2016 St. Louis University hospital found its present owner, the Catholic SSM Health system, planning a $500 million rebuilding of the hospital.[23]


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

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.[24]

Clock tower

Saint Louis University's Clock Tower is located in the middle of campus, making it the ideal center stage for student's everyday life. Many social gatherings have been held here, ranging from protests, to philanthropy events sponsored by the school's Greek life.

The clock tower, located at the heart of SLU's campus, was constructed in 1993 and served to close off the campus from the remainder of West Pine Avenue, which at one point ran through it. In 2011 the clock tower was dedicated to a prominent alumnus of Saint Louis University, Joseph G. Lipic, and was renamed the Joseph G. Lipic Clock Tower Plaza.[25] The Clock Tower of Saint Louis University runs on a turret clock electrical system. In a turret clock electrical system, according to the Anderson Institute,[26] the clock is run electronically using a pendulum system to make the clock turn. Within clock towers, a quartz crystal device makes the clock run precisely on a consistent basis and is only a second off every 10 years. The SLU clock tower also features fountains around the perimeter at the base. These fountains are run by a wind sensor that can detect the wind speeds in order to determine the height of which the fountains reach.


Saint Louis has both dormitory and apartment space on-campus. Up-to-date information on housing options is carried on the University's website.[27]

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

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,[28] 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

Flats at 374 Junior and Senior Apartments

Several housing choices exist for sophomores, juniors and seniors. 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

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 three decades 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.[29]

Edward A. Doisy Research Center

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.[30] 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

New Law School

Saint Louis University School of Law was founded in 1843 and is the oldest law school west of the Mississippi River.[31] The students currently attend classes in Scott Hall, which is located in downtown St. Louis.[32] The Hall was previously renovated and for the first time, the Saint Louis University Law Library and Legal Clinics are housed under the same roof as the School.[32] The current dean for the School of Law is Michael Wolff.[33]

Chaifetz Arena

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/US 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 Chaifetz, founder and CEO of ComPsych Corp., who made a $12 million naming rights gift to the Arena.[34] The University's official dedication ceremony for the Arena was held on April 10, 2008.[35]


University rankings
U.S. News & World Report[36] 96
Washington Monthly[37] 138[38]

SLU offers about 100 undergraduate programs and 80 post-baccalaureate programs, along with programs adapted to working adults at both the undergraduate and graduate levels including 25 completely online programs.[39]

The University operates under one overall president but has the following schools with their own deans or directors: College of Arts and Sciences, College of Philosophy and Letters, Doisy College of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, Center for Advanced Dental Education, Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics, College for Public Health & Social Justice, School of Social Work, John Cook School of Business, School of Education, School of Law, Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology, Campus in Madrid (Spain), School for Professional Studies, Center for Outcomes Research, Center for Sustainability.[40]


Main article: 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 10 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. In 2016 the women's basketball team made their second trip to the Women's National Invitation Tournament.[41] 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. Travis Ford, who took Oklahoma State to five NCAA tournaments in eight years, was hired as men's basketball coach in March 2016.[42]

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

Campus Ministry

Campus Ministry presents a wide variety of activities and events noted at its website.[43] It also fosters community service. Students at SLU ranked 4th among the universities in the country in hours of community service in 2015, in the Washington Monthly report.[44] In line with the Jesuit objective of training men and women for others,[45] Campus Ministry offers a variety of service opportunities to students in collaboration with the Center for Service and Community Engagement. The student organizations Interfaith Alliance and SLUCORE also promote interfaith activities, social justice awareness, and service in the community.[46] Other programs on social justice formation include a variety of immersion experiences[47] and an Ignatian Family Teach-in in Washington, D.C. – a weekend of learning and advocacy.[48]

Student organizations

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.[49]

Walking through the SLU portals at Grand Boulevard.
St. Francis Xavier College Church

Greek life

Saint Louis has seven fraternities and seven sororities on-campus.[51]

Notable alumni


The Arts



Enrique Bolaños, former President of the Republic of Nicaragua.



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


Notable faculty



School presidents


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  2. 1 2 "Faculty & Staff". St. Louis University. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
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  5. ACCU Member Institutions
  6. "About SLU : Saint Louis University : SLU". Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  7. 1 2 "University of Saint Louis". Catholic Encyclopedia Online.
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  13. 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.
  14. "St. Francis Xavier College Church Early History". Saint Louis University. Retrieved 2014-10-10.
  15. Donald J. Kemper, "Catholic Integration in St. Louis, 1935–1947", Missouri Historical Review, October 1978, pp. 1–13.
  16. Ted LeBerthon, "Why Jim Crow Won at Webster College", Pittsburgh Courier, 5 Feb. 1944, p. 13.
  17. "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.
  18. Lift Every Voice and Sing. Columbia: U.of Missouri. 1999. p. 12. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  19. "A Louder Voice for the Laymen". Time Magazine. 1967-02-03. Retrieved 2008-01-24.
  20. 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.
  21. William H.T. (Bucky) Bush – – Retrieved January 28, 2008
  22. Tim Townsend; Deirdre Shesgreen; Tom Timmermann (2008-01-23). "Burke would deny Majerus holy Communion". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2008-01-23.
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  24. "Museums & Arts : Saint Louis University : SLU". Retrieved 2015-12-13.
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  27. Housing. Accessed 4 June 2016.
  28. "Architecture-Apartment Building-St. Louis, MO :: St. Louis Globe Democrat Images". 2003-07-23. Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  29. "Biography of Lawrence Biondi, S.J.". Saint Louis University.
  30. SLU Press Release: SLU Research Building Named in Honor of Nobel Laureate Following $30 Million Gift
  31. School of Law History
  32. 1 2 Scott Hall
  33. Michael Wolff, Dean of the School of Law
  34. "SLU Arena Named for Alumnus Richard Chaifetz". Retrieved 2007-10-23.
  35. "SLU Arena Named for Alumnus Richard Chaifetz". Retrieved 2007-10-23.
  36. "Best Colleges 2017: National Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. September 12, 2016.
  37. "2016 Rankings - National Universities". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  38. "2014 National Universities Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
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  40. Schools. Accessed 9 May 2016.
  41. RealLifeStL. Accessed 4 June 2016.
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  45. For others. Accessed 9 May 2016.
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  48. Teach-in. Accessed 4 June 2016.
  49. "SLU Groups – Organizations". 1932-11-12. Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  50. "Delta Sigma Pi – Home". Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  51. "Fraternities and Sororities". Archived from the original on March 22, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
  52. "Zeta Tau Alpha has arrived at Saint Louis University!". Retrieved 2007-10-23.
  53. "Contact our Chapter- Phi Mu at Saint Louis University". Retrieved 2016-04-27.
  55. "Diocese of Knoxville". Retrieved 2015-12-13.
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