|Lawrence Biondi, S.J., speaks during a 25th anninversary gala in his honor Saturday. Photo by Steve Dolan|
On Saturday, May 4, Saint Louis University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J., told the University’s Board of Trustees of his intention to retire from his position and to work with the Board on the search process for a new president, which will begin in the fall.
At a gala Saturday night celebrating his 25 years of leadership, Father Biondi announced his intentions to a crowd of more than 800 alumni, supporters and community leaders. The event in Chaifetz Arena received approximately $1.4 million in gifts and sponsorships for student scholarships and academic initiatives.
“Just as I helped lead SLU’s transformation when I arrived here more than 25 years ago, I know it is now time for the next transformation to begin,” Father Biondi said. “And, so, with the blessing of our Board of Trustees, I have decided it is time for a transition in leadership for Saint Louis University — time for me to move on to the next phase of my life. This fall, the Board will launch a search for my successor. I will be here as long as they need me, and will do everything I can to make the transition to our next president as smooth as possible.”
Father Biondi's full speech can be viewed online.
Father Biondi continued: “As I approach my 75th birthday, I know I am ready for new challenges — challenges that might include heeding the call of our General Superior in Rome, Father Nicolas, who has asked Jesuits around the world to focus on care for the poor, the marginalized, the uneducated and immigrants. Right now, I remain open to how God is calling me to serve others in ways, yet to be discerned.”
At its meeting Saturday morning, the Saint Louis University Board of Trustees elected J. Joe Adorjan to serve as chairman of the SLU Board. Adorjan succeeds Thomas H. Brouster, Sr., who in April announced his plans to step down as chairman. The Board also elected trustee Patrick J. Sly as vice chairman. Adorjan has been a trustee at Saint Louis University for 25 years. He has served two previous terms as Board chairman (1991-1997 and 1999- 2005) and most recently served on the Board’s Executive Committee and chaired the Clinical Affairs Committee.
Adorjan is a two-time graduate of SLU, having received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from the University. He is the chairman of Adven Capital Partners in Clayton, Mo. Sly joined the SLU Board of Trustees in 2003, and is currently a member of the Board’s Executive Committee and chair of the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board.
Also a SLU graduate, Sly received his MBA from the University. He is the executive vice president of Emerson and business leader of Emerson Commercial and Residential Solutions. He also oversees the Emerson Charitable Trust, as well as the company’s community giving activities.
Adorjan said Saturday that he was honored to have been elected to the position of Board chairman by his fellow trustees. “I am committed to working with Father Biondi and all University stakeholders to continue to advance this great institution,” Adorjan said. “With Pat Sly as vice chairman, I am very confident that we have a strong leadership team in place to advise Father Biondi and the Board of Trustees as we move forward.”
Details about transition plans and search processes will be communicated to the University community in the weeks ahead. Neither the University nor the Board of Trustees will have additional comment at this time.
About Father Biondi
Saint Louis University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J., has led SLU through a remarkable era of progress and achievement since his inauguration in 1987. He is one of the longest serving presidents at an American Jesuit college or university. In addition to modernizing the campus and helping revitalize the surrounding Midtown neighborhood, Father Biondi has committed vast University resources to academics, student scholarships and financial aid, faculty research, and state-of-the-art technology.
During his tenure, he has focused on recruiting the finest faculty and students, increasing the University’s academic standards and achievements, and developing the University as a major research center. Widely considered one of the most influential people in the region, Father Biondi has earned numerous honors, including the St. Louis Award (2001), the Leon R. Strauss Urban Pioneer Award (2001), the St. Louis Citizen of the Year Award (2005) and the John D. Levy Human Relations Award (2011). In 1999, readers of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch named him as one of St. Louis’ “Citizens of the Century.”
Highlights of Father Biondi’s tenure include:
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, the University fosters the intellectual and character development of nearly 14,000 students on two campuses in St. Louis and Madrid, Spain. Building on a legacy of nearly 200 years, Saint Louis University continues to move forward with an unwavering commitment to a higher purpose, a greater good.
Approximately 800 alumni, supporters and community leaders attended the gala in Chaifetz Arena Saturday. The event received approximately $1.4 million in gifts and sponsorships for student scholarships and academic initiatives. Photo by Steve Dolan