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Catholic, Jesuit Identity

In 1818, Catholic Bishop Louis William DuBourg founded Saint Louis University, the first institution of higher learning west of the Mississippi River. Less than a decade later, the Society of Jesus assumed control of the University. Ever since, the Catholic and Jesuit traditions have guided the University to serve a higher purpose and to seek the greater good.

SLU students at Mass

Making the World a Better Place

Saint Louis University follows the Jesuit traditions of educating the whole person — mind, body and spirit — and preparing students to make the world a better place.

At SLU, we encourage asking hard questions and looking beyond easy answers. What does ethical leadership look like in the 21st century? How can we help improve the lives of the incarcerated or underprivileged children in St. Louis? How do we work to end systemic racial inequity?

Explore SLU's Mission 

How Does Jesuit Education Work?

SLU doesn’t just talk the talk — we walk the walk. Our undergraduates are encouraged to take a broad range of classes, and every major is founded upon a core curriculum that includes theology and philosophy. But whatever the topic, students learn to defend ideas and to improve upon them, developing the skills to think clearly, argue persuasively and express themselves coherently.

Inspired by the Jesuit call to be men and women for others, at SLU ideas become actions, and serving others is a way of life. More than 80 of SLU’s courses directly integrate service into academic content. Outside of the classroom, students, faculty and staff members devote more than 1.6 millions hours to community service annually.

In and out of class, on campus and around the globe, SLU students come to see the future as a wondrous opportunity for growth and good works.

Learn More About Our Jesuit Tradition