March 27, 2014

A Letter from Fred P. Pestello, President-Elect of Saint Louis University

Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

I am writing to thank you for your warm embrace of me and my family during our visit last week. We were touched by your kindness and moved by your devotion to Saint Louis University. Fran, Vitina, Freddie and I are proud to be the newest members of the SLU family.

While it has been only a few days since I was introduced as your next president, I already have a pretty good idea of what it means to be a Billiken.

First, it means that you are passionate. During my brief visit in St. Louis, everyone I met expressed a genuine love of this institution. You told me why SLU matters to you - and why it will matter to me.

You dream big. To a person, you expressed your pride in SLU and hopes for its future. You have high expectations, and so do I. Working together, we will achieve our aspirations.

Serving others is a priority for you. When I think about the range and volume of your service, of your distinctive programs such as Casa de Salud and Campus Kitchen, and of your daily outreach, I am more than impressed; I am inspired.

SLU is mission driven. From the beginning of the search process through my last meeting on Sunday, our Catholic, Jesuit mission has been at the heart of our conversations. The Jesuit way of proceeding will guide our discussions and decisions.

Finally, you are as unique as SLU's beloved mascot. This is an exceptional place full of exceptional people with various backgrounds, experiences and aspirations. Such rich diversity translates into a vast pool of talent ready to be tapped as we chart our collective future. This bodes well as we plan SLU's next chapter.

As I said during my introduction Friday morning, I am only one person entering this large and vibrant community. I need your assistance and support as I assume my new role. I ask that you continue to do the many things that make SLU so special and so successful. And, finally, I ask for your prayers - for me, for my family and for this community - as we join together.

Last week, I stated that I felt honored and humbled to lead an institution of such prominence. After meeting you I am even more thrilled to be joining SLU.

Thank you for a wonderful Billiken welcome.

Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.
Saint Louis University

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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