This lecture honors the distinguished career of John Francis Bannon, S.J. Bannon taught at SLU from 1939 to 1973, serving as chair of the history department for 28 of those years.
A prolific and renowned scholar of the American Borderlands, he authored 20 books and dozens of articles, essays and reviews. Twenty scholars earned doctoral degrees under his direction.
Bannon was a public intellectual as well, dedicated to education in its broadest conception. His career exemplified the noblest ambitions of both academia and the Jesuit tradition.
In keeping with the goals of Phi Alpha Thea, the Alpha Mu chapter sponsors an annual conference to promote scholarship and intellectual exchange among SLU's historians.
The competition is open to any undergraduate history major or minor and is held during the spring semester. Students competes for prize money and for the honor of having their name inscribed on the Heithaus trophy, which is named for Claude H. Heithaus, S.J. Heithaus, a faculty member at SLU, was a pioneer in the struggle for racial justice at Saint Louis University and advocated desegregating the University in the 1940s.