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Atlas Week

Saint Louis University's Atlas Program brings together members of the University community to focus on the global challenges that confront us in the 21st century. 

Atlas Week

That Atlas Program launched in Spring of 2001 as a way to recognize the international dimension of Saint Louis University's academic programs and to celebrate SLU's role in international education and service in light of our Jesuit tradition. The primary goal of the Atlas Program is to increase awareness of the global issues that confront us today in an effort not only to promote discussion, but to inspire and inform action. It focuses on what we as global citizens can do to contribute to a better life for all people now and in the future.

The initiative was named Atlas Week for the same reasons that travelers, leaders and historians throughout the centuries have commonly used an atlas. This instrument allows its users to discern where they have been, discover where they are and decide where they are headed. The Atlas logo features a compass point to emphasize the global vision of Saint Louis University.

During Atlas Week, students, faculty and staff from across the University organize events which highlight the international dimensions of their programs.The Parade of Nations kicks off the event, which also features live cultural music and dance, academic and informational booths, carnival games and international cuisine. The Signature Symposium, presented by internationally renowned speakers who have dedicated their lives to issues of political and social justice, is traditionally held on the Thursday of the week. The weeklong celebration culminates on Friday with the Billiken World Festival. 

The events held during week are designed to achieve five main goals:

  • To educate our students and increase their awareness of issues of global injustice.
  • To inspire and inform student activism regarding issues of global injustice.
  • To build a community of scholars at SLU whose teaching and research focuses on global challenges by forging interdisciplinary ties and collaboration across the University.
  • To foster faculty and student cooperation in the area of international service.
  • To promote cross-cultural understanding.

See Previous Keynote Speakers

Sam and Marilyn Fox

The Atlas Week Program is named in honor of Sam and Marilyn Fox, two of the most prominent civic leaders in the St. Louis region.

As leaders in the St. Louis community, Sam and Marilyn Fox have not only demonstrated an ardent commitment to improving the quality of life in our community, but they have also generously shared their time, talents and treasures to raise global awareness throughout our region. The son of an American immigrant, Sam Fox has always recognized the importance of celebrating the unique international dimension of America's heritage. Together, Sam and Marilyn have used their innate talents in the business and investment world to encourage thoughtful and informed action on the philanthropic needs of the world.

"Sam and Marilyn Fox are extremely generous people who use their remarkable talents and influence to bring attention to important global issues," said former University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J. "I am deeply gratefully that they so fully understand Saint Louis University's Jesuit mission to educate students to be remarkable global citizens."

The philanthropic spirit of Sam and Marilyn has inspired them to support a myriad of causes around the world, and their commitment of service to the many historical, educational and fine arts institutions of St. Louis has been critical in bringing an international perspective to our region. In recognition of their efforts and expertise on the global issues that confront all American citizens, Sam and Marilyn were appointed to be the United States Ambassadors to Belgium. They held this esteemed post in 2007 and 2008, and have now generously committed their support to fostering Saint Louis University's role in international education and service in light of the University's Jesuit tradition.

"The entire Saint Louis University community is grateful to Sam and Marilyn Fox for their generosity and vision," said Atlas Week Coordinator Michelle Lorenzini, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science. "Their support will help us take this important University event to even greater heights in the future."