Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., became the 33rd president and chief executive officer of Saint Louis University in 2014. He is the first permanent lay president of Saint Louis University since its founding in 1818.
As president, Pestello oversees one of the nation’s leading Jesuit research universities with nearly 13,000 students, more than 7,000 employees, an annual operating budget of more than $775 million and an endowment of $1.1 billion.
SLU accomplishments during Pestello’s tenure include a $115 million investment in student housing and a historic partnership with SSM Health that includes the building of a $550 million hospital and outpatient facility at the SLU Medical Center. During his tenure, SLU has enrolled its most talented first-year class. Pestello actively sustains a campus-wide focus on inclusivity, having peacefully resolved a major campus protest in fall 2014.
Pestello currently serves on the board of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities and is a former member of the Executive Committee of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. In St. Louis, he serves on the boards of Civic Progress and the Cortex Innovation Community. He is a founding member of the board of the Foundation for the Pontifical Institute of Theology at Posillipo in Italy.
Pestello is the only person to be elected as the first lay president of two U.S. Jesuit institutions. He joined SLU after serving six years as president of Le Moyne College, achieving record-breaking levels of enrollment, endowment and campus construction. Prior to that appointment, Pestello was faculty member, department chair, associate dean and provost and senior vice president for educational affairs during his 25-year career at the University of Dayton.
Pestello earned his bachelor’s degree at John Carroll University and completed his graduate work in sociology at the University of Akron.
Dr. Pestello has a cabinet comprised of senior administrators who report directly to him and who advise him on important University matters. Members of the cabinet also work closely with trustees, deans and other vice presidents to advance SLU’s strategic priorities. Members are:
The University Leadership Council (ULC) is responsible for reviewing and approving all University policies and providing input on other important University matters. The group is comprised of senior administrators, academic deans, and the leaders of the Faculty Senate, Staff Advisory Committee and Student Government Association.
The President’s Advisory Council (PAC) is a 100-member body that is charged with representing the interests of faculty, staff and students in major University decisions. The group is comprised of all vice presidents and deans, the executive leadership of the Faculty Senate and Student Government Association, the chairs of the college and school faculty councils, and a number of staff and administrative leaders.
At SLU, the Office of Mission and Identity and the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement report directly to the president.
As the Assistant to the President for Mission and Identity Christopher Collins, S.J., provides executive-level leadership for fostering and promoting SLU’s Catholic, Jesuit identity. He also works to ensure that SLU’s mission and core values — as well as the principles and traditions of Catholic, Jesuit higher education — are fully integrated into everything the University does.
As chief diversity officer, Jonathan Smith, Ph.D., vice president for diversity and community engagement, leads efforts to make Saint Louis University more inclusive and welcoming to diverse populations. He works to increase SLU’s outreach to the St. Louis community and access to a SLU education to young people from the region’s most disadvantaged areas.