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Saint Louis University Bicentennial

Saint Louis University's bicentennial events celebrated our history, and fostered pride in and support for SLU locally, nationally and globally.

Watch a wrap-up of SLU's bicentennial programming. 

SLU's Bicentennial Events

Saint Louis University's bicentennial  activities and events from small talks and lectures to a Mass under the St. Louis Gateway Arch for more than 6,000 people. 

Bicentennial Mass 

Thousands attended the outdoor Mass and festivities to kick off SLU's bicentennial year Sept. 23, 2017, including students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni and the larger St. Louis community.

Believed to be the first Mass ever held beneath the Arch, the setting recalled SLU’s first location in a small home located on what is now the Arch grounds. Guests included St. Louis Archbishop Robert J. Carlson and principal chief of Osage Nation Geoffrey Standing Bear.

Watch the Mass 

Happy Birthday to SLU

SLU celebrated the finale of its bicentennial events at "Happy Birthday to SLU," a special event at Chaifetz Arena featuring the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

The St. Louis Jesuits, Bob Dufford, S.J., John Foley, S.J., Tim Manion, and Roc O’Connor, S.J., and the University Mastersingers joined the symphony in serenading the arena crowd. Selections included “When the Saints Go Marching In,” the theme from Steven Spielberg’s E.T., and the University’s “Varsity Song.”

The night’s festivities concluded with “Ite, inflammate Omnia,” an original work composed especially for the bicentennial celebration by Aaron Johnson, D.M.A., assistant professor in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts.

Exhibits and Displays 
  • Historical Exhibition: Always at the Frontier: Saint Louis University 1818-2018, Saint Louis University Art Museum
  • Display: A Retrospective of Learning Space at Saint Louis University, Pius XII Memorial Library
  • Student Research Project: Digitizing SLU Archival Data, Pius XII Memorial Library
  • Exhibition at Lambert Airport, May 24-Nov. 12, 2018
  • Exhibition, Timeline History of Career Services and Job Searching, Sept. 1–Oct. 15
  • Ongoing: Margaret Lazzari Art Exhibit, Community Gallery at SLUMA
2018: All Events 
  • Billiken Parent and Family Association Family Trivia Night (Feb. 17, 2018)
  • Mission and Identity Lecture Series: Discerning Our Role in Creating a Society of Justice and Love (Feb. 26, 2018) 
  • Conference: Intercultural Origins of Saint Louis and the Trans-Mississippi West, 1800-1840 (March 22-23, 2018)
  • Women at SLU: The Struggle for Knowledge, Power and Legacy (March 22-23, 2018)
  • Grace and William Potter Lecture (March 23, 2018)
  • Trudy and Christina Valentine Lecture Series: 90 Years of Nursing Excellence, 1928-2018, Then and Now (April 4, 2018)
  • Bicentennial 5K Fun Run/Walk (April 15, 2018)
  • Mission and Identity Lecture Series: Lessons from Pope Francis on American Politics and Civic Life (April 16, 2018)
  • The Church of the Gesu in Rome and its Global Legacy (April 16, 2018)
  • From Selma to St. Louis: Theology of Martin Luther King Jr., and the Pursuit of Justice 50 Years Later (April 17-18, 2018)
  • 2018 Walter J. Ong Memorial Lecture and Symposium (April 19, 2018)
  • Exhibition, performance, recording and digital presentation of "The Window," written by Alfred Tennyson and Arthur Sullivan (April 20-22, 2018)
  • Saint Louis Climate Summit (April 22, 23, 24)
  • Rocket Launch (June 18-23)
  • Billikens Night at the Ballpark (Aug. 30, 2018) 
  • Health and Social Justice Bicentennial Conference (Sept. 13-15, 2018)
  • John F. Kavanaugh, S.J., Lecture (Sept. 20, 2018)
  • Mission and Identity Lecture Series: Reimagining Health Care – Ignatian Insights for Achieving the Greater Good (Sept. 24, 2018)
  • Homecoming and Family Weekend (Sept. 27-30, 2018)
  • SLU Fleur de Lis Floral Art Walk (Sept. 28-29, 2018)
  • Saint Louis Literary Award Celebration of Stephen Sondheim (Oct. 4, 2018)
  • Pope Pius XII Symposium: The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany (Oct. 19, 2018) 
  • Mission and Identity Lecture Series: Jesuit Education – Do We Need a New Paradigm? (Nov. 5, 2018) 
  • Saint Louis University Bicentennial Fellows Symposium (Nov. 7, 2018) 
  • Dean's Distinguished Speaker Series: John O'Leary (Nov. 8, 2018)
  • Happy Birthday to SLU Bicentennial Finale and Concert (Nov. 15, 2018)
2017: All Events
  • Saint Louis Literary Award Celebration: Margaret Atwood (Sept. 15, 2017) 
  • A Distinctive Vision? Catholic Education 50 Years After Land O’Lakes (Sept. 20-22, 2017)
  • Parks College: Celebrating 90 Years, 1927-2017 (Sept. 22, 2017)
  • Bicentennial Launch Event: Bicentennial Mass (Sept. 23, 2017)
  • Capturing Time: Dedication of Bicentennial Plaza (Sept. 24, 2017)
  • Occupational Therapy Department’s 25th Anniversary Celebration (Sept. 24, 2017)
  • Legends and Lore Part I & 2 (Oct. 26 & Nov. 15, 2017)
  • Mission and Identity Bicentennial Lecture Series: Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion (Nov. 2, 2017)
  • William S. Sly Lecture: Experiences in Research at Merck and Their Impact on World Health (Nov. 13, 2017)
  • Unveiling of Bicentennial Clock (Nov. 14, 2017)
  • Living Late Antiquity: Website Launch (Dec. 6, 2017)

SLU's Bicentennial Steering Committee 

The bicentennial committee's guiding principles were clarity, simplicity, dignity and inclusiveness. It emphasized outreach to the community, the Society of Jesus, the Catholic Church, and SLU's faculty, staff, students and alumni. 
Ellen Harshman, Ph.D., dean emeritus of the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business and former vice president for academic affairs, led a bicentennial steering committee of representatives from throughout SLU, as well as the Jesuit community. 

Steering Committee Members 
  • Joe Adorjan, SLU Board of Trustees (emeritus)
  • Bradley Bailey, Ph.D., associate professor, Visual and Performing Arts, and Faculty Senate representative
  • Daniel Carter, president, Student Government Association
  • Chris Collins, S.J., special assistant to the president for Mission and Identity
  • Meg Connolly, executive development director
  • Peter Garvin, Staff Advisory Council representative
  • Laura Geiser, assistant vice president, Marketing and Creative Services
  • Ellen Harshman, Ph.D., director of Bicentennial Planning 
  • Ann Knezetic, counselor, Office of Admission, former SGA president
  • Anthony Minor, assistant vice president, Stewardship, Alumni Relations
  • Teri Murray, Ph.D., dean, School of Nursing, Academic Affairs representative
  • Donna Bess Myers, assistant dean of students, Student Life representative
  • Robert O'Toole, S.J., Jesuit Provincial representative
  • John Padberg, S.J., Jesuit historian and scholar
  • Pat Sly, vice chairman, SLU Board of Trustees
  • John Waide, archivist (emeritus), Pius XII Memorial Library
Bicentennial Advisory Council
  • Kathleen Becker, president, SSM Saint Louis University Hospital
  • Marie-Hélène Bernard, president and CEO, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
  • William H.T. Bush, chairman, Bush O’Donnell Investment Advisors
  • Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis
  • Hon. William Lacy Clay Jr., congressman, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Barbara Fraser, education liaison, St. Louis County, representing County Executive Steve Stenger
  • Karin Hagaman, president and CEO, Grand Center Inc.
  • Sister Sheila Hammond, RSCJ, provincial, USA and Canada Society of the Sacred Heart
  • Thomas J. Irwin, executive director, Civic Progress
  • Peter Wyse Jackson, president, Missouri Botanical Garden
  • Lyda Krewson, mayor, City of St. Louis
  • David Laughlin, president, Saint Louis University High School
  • Dennis Lower, president and CEO, Cortex
  • Michael P. McMillan, president and CEO, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis Inc.
  • Kathleen T. Osborn, executive director, The Regional Business Council
  • Kathleen Ratcliffe, president, Explore St. Louis
  • Joseph F. Reagan, president and CEO, St. Louis Regional Chamber
  • Ellen Sherberg, special adviser, American City Business Journals
  • Pat Sly, vice chairman, SLU Board of Trustees
  • Blanche M. Touhill, chancellor emeritus, University of Missouri St. Louis