Saint Louis University

As part of Saint Louis University's inaugural Celebrate Generosity Week, faculty and staff donors were surprised Monday morning with a balloon and thank-you message for giving back to the University.

Students, staff and the Billiken went across campus, from building to building and office to office, to make sure that each donor received a personal thank-you for their contributions.

Two examples of the nearly 1,000 SLU faculty and staff donors are: Michael Ross, Ph.D., psychology professor, and Aimee Foster, program coordinator for campus visits.

Aimee Foster

Foster with Billiken
Foster with the Billiken Monday. Submitted photo

"It feels awesome to be recognized," said Aimee Foster, program coordinator for campus visits with the Office of Admission. "Plus, who wouldn't love the Billiken surprising them at work on a Monday morning?"

Foster has worked for the University for nearly five years.

"After my amazing experience at SLU, I was looking for a career that could make a difference. In admissions, I help prospective students find their home for the next four years," said Foster, who received her bachelor's degree in 2008 and her master's degree in 2012.

"I love seeing a prospective student fall in love with SLU when they visit our campus, along with serving as a mentor to our 35 student ambassadors and interns in admissions."

While every donor has their own reasons for giving, Foster understands personally the importance of giving back.

"Without the financial help of donors, I probably would not have been able to attend SLU," she said. "This is my way of giving back in a small way to help prospective students have just as an amazing experience as I did."

Even the smallest gift can help a student achieve their dreams, Foster said.

"It's a great reason to give back to the University," she said.

Michael Ross, Ph.D.

Michael Ross, Ph.D.

For the last 25 years, Michael Ross, Ph.D., estimates that he has probably taught nearly 8,000 students through the Psychology Department at Saint Louis University. He has also taken the time to give back to the University throughout his tenure.

"What we know about the psychology of altruism is that it makes us feel better to help others," said, Ross, psychology professor and director of the clinical psychology doctoral program.

"It's not just about giving. It's about building a community of scholars and learners. We can't teach if we don't have any students and we have to find ways to support our students and the many different arms of the University."

Saint Louis University's tradition of educating for service to others makes this University such a unique place to teach, learn and work, Ross said.

"After teaching for 25 years, I am astounded at the accomplishments of my former students who have gone out into the world and made a difference in their own way. So many of the students I taught and trained now have distinguished careers and made their own contributions to society through the science and practice of psychology," he said.

"I like to believe that I have contributed to the lives of my students and their careers in at least some small way."

Ross continues to tell his students and SLU alums about the importance of giving back.

"By giving back, the University is able to keep growing," he said. "We cannot simply rest on our current knowledge; rather, we demonstrate our commitment to excellence through the discovery and dissemination of new knowledge."

Ross and Foster are two of the many donors who are being recognized throughout Celebrate Generosity week, a series of events sponsored by the office of Giving Programs in the Advancement Division.

Later this week, all donors — faculty, staff and students — are invited to a complimentary coffee bar from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Thursday along the main walkway near the quad in front of DuBourg and just south of the Hickory parking garages near the Health Sciences Education Union.

For more information about Celebrate Generosity week, go to