Meet President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.

President of Saint Louis University


President Dr. Fred Pestello

Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., is the 33rd president of Saint Louis University. The first permanent lay president in the University's nearly 200-year history, Dr. Pestello officially began his tenure at SLU on July 1, 2014.

As Saint Louis University's president and chief executive officer, Dr. Pestello leads one of the nation's oldest, largest and most prestigious Catholic universities with more than 13,500 students, 6,700 employees and a $1 billion endowment.

A Roman Catholic, Dr. Pestello is Jesuit educated and has spent the entirety of his 30-year career in Catholic higher education. A dynamic leader known for moving the institutions he serves forward, he brings extensive leadership experience to his role at Saint Louis University.

Academic Career

Dr. Pestello most recently was the president of Le Moyne College, a comprehensive Jesuit liberal arts institution in Syracuse, New York. At the time of his appointment in 2008, he became Le Moyne's first permanent lay president. During his six-year tenure, the college experienced significant growth and progress.

Under Dr. Pestello's leadership, Le Moyne had the four largest freshman classes in its history, nearly tripled the size of its endowment and pursued a number of campus improvement projects. A capital campaign, which started shortly before his arrival, closed at nearly twice its original goal. On the academic side, the college established a new business school and revised its core curriculum. Le Moyne's national rankings also rose.

A collaborative, inclusive and transparent leader, Dr. Pestello's first major undertaking at Le Moyne was a campus-wide initiative called "OneLeMoyne" that led to a new vision statement and strategic plan for the college.

Prior to becoming Le Moyne's president, Dr. Pestello spent nearly 25 years as a faculty member and provost at the University of Dayton, a Catholic, Marianist research institution in Ohio that is similar in size and scope to Saint Louis University.

At Dayton, Dr. Pestello served as a professor of sociology, chairman of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work, and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. As a faculty member, he was thrice elected vice president of Dayton's academic senate, the highest position a member of the faculty could hold at that time.

In 2001, Dr. Pestello was appointed Dayton's provost and senior vice president for educational affairs. In that role, he was noted for his emphasis on faculty development and for making academic excellence the centerpiece of the school's educational processes. He also led a collective effort to draft a vision statement that spawned a new strategic plan for the institution.

In addition to his roles at the university level, Dr. Pestello has served on the board of the American Council on Education's Commission on Effective Leadership, and he is a member of the Council of Independent Colleges' board of directors.

Personal Information

Born and raised in Cleveland, Dr. Pestello has three degrees in sociology. He earned his bachelor's degree from the Jesuit institution John Carroll University in 1974, his master's degree from the University of Akron in 1981, and his doctoral degree through a joint program of the University of Akron and Kent State University in 1985.

Dr. Pestello's wife, Frances Pestello, Ph.D., also is a sociologist and scholar, most recently serving as a tenured faculty member in the Department of Anthropology, Criminology and Sociology at Le Moyne College. In 1993, the couple co-authored the award-winning academic tome Sentiments and Acts with Irwin Deutscher.

The Pestellos have two adult children: a daughter, Vitina, and a son, Freddie.

Outside of his academic and leadership duties, Dr. Pestello enjoys jazz, theater, bicycling and travel, among many other pursuits.

Download Dr. Pestello's Full CV (PDF) »

About Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution that values academic excellence, life-changing research, compassionate health care, and a strong commitment to faith and service.

Founded in 1818, SLU is the second oldest Jesuit university in the United States, and boasts many firsts in higher education. Its mission is the pursuit of truth for the greater glory of God and for the service of humanity.

With a beautiful urban campus located in the heart of one of America's great Midwestern cities, Saint Louis University offers a complete range of undergraduate, graduate and professional programs. A truly global university, SLU's campus in Madrid is considered a leading center for international education in Spain.


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Photos & Videos

President Fred Pestello, Ph.D.

President Fred Pestello, Ph.D.

President Fred Pestello, Ph.D., and Frances Pestello, Ph.D.

President Fred Pestello, Ph.D., and Frances Pestello, Ph.D.

The Pestello Family: Freddie, Frances, Fred and Vitina

The Pestello family: (from left) Freddie, Frances, Fred and Vitina

3/21/14 President-Elect Fred Pestello, Ph.D. Opening Remarks to the University Community

3/21/14 Board of Trustees Chairman J. Joseph Adorjan Introduces President-Elect Fred Pestello, Ph.D.

3/21/14 President-Elect Fred Pestello, Ph.D. Press Conference

Contact Information

Saint Louis University Office of the President

1 North Grand Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63103
PHONE: 314-977-7777

Media and photo requests should be directed to:

Saint Louis University Marketing and Communications

1 North Grand Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63103
PHONE: 314-977-2537