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On this Day in SLU History

April 20, 1979

Playwright Arthur Miller visits campus to receive the Wilma and Roswell Messing Jr. Award from the University Library Associates. The award will later be known as the St. Louis Literary Award.

April 19, 2012

Newslink announces that history professor Thomas Madden, PhD, has been named a Guggenheim Fellow for his work studying Venice during the Crusades.

April 18, 1975

It is announced that Norman Mailer, acclaimed for his World War II novel, The Naked and the Dead, will be the final speaker of this year's Great Issues Series at Saint Louis University. Mailers iconoclastic political journalism and his insightful personal essays indicate that he will be a dynamic and valuable speaker.

April 17, 2004

Saint Louis University hosts its third annual Showers of Service. Nearly 600 SLU community members take part.

April 15, 1921

The University radio station begins to send out weather reports. It's the first station west of the Mississippi to do so.

April 14, 1969

Aviator Robert Hage speaks at the Parks Commencement ceremony. Hage is the author of a popular aviation textbook and worked on the design for the DC-10

April 13, 1954

Members of SLU's Judo Team demonstrate a throw during team practice.

April 12, 1840

Bishop Joseph Rosati lays the cornerstone for the new Saint Francis Xavier Church on the northeast corner of the University grounds, at Ninth Street and Christy Avenue. President John Elet, S.J., addresses a crowd from the east balcony of the main building of the University.

April 11, 1969

The University News announces the go-ahead of this fall's initiation of Saint Louis University in Spain, at its newly founded Madrid campus. An estimate of 35 participating students has increased to 45. "Of this number," comments Father Sullivan, "the great majority are from St. Louis area schools."

April 10, 2008

Chaifetz Arena is dedicated.

April 9, 1961

Students in Marguerite Hall host an open house where they show off their living quarters.

April 8, 2008

Alternative band Bon Iver plays at the Billiken Club in Busch Student Center, years before winning the 2011 Grammy for Best New Artist.

April 7, 2011

SLU's "Allies for Inclusion: The Ability Exhibit" makes its national debut at the American College Personnel Association College Student Educators International convention in Baltimore.

April 6, 2016

Newslink announces that theatre students participate in a production of Mukashi, Mukashi, featuring audience participation and puppets in its interpretation of classic Asian tales. The play is co-written and directed by SLU alumna Louise Hung.

April 5, 2011

The University unveils Hotel Ignacio, a new boutique hotel, as a sign of its commitment to the revitalization of the St. Louis's Midtown arts district.

April 4, 2012

Newslink announces that Olympic champion Jackie Joyner-Kersee will speak on campus at a sports business symposium.

April 3, 1964

Students protest University plans to raze Choteau House, now called the Cupples House. Sophomore Tom Grady is quoted as saying, "Choteau House is one of the soundest structures architecturally as well as aesthetically, on this campus."

April 2, 2014

Senior guard Jordair Jett is named Associated Press' All-America Honorable Mention. He's the first Billiken to receive the honor since Larry Hughes, who played in the 1997-1998 season, and the sixth Billiken overall.

April 1, 1960

Students participate in an egg throwing contest in front of Samual Cupples House.

March 31, 1921

SLU’s Centennial Endowment Fund meets much enthusiasm after being endorsed by the Vatican: “There is no cause more worthy of praise and support than that which concerns the instruction and the moral formation of youth."

March 30, 1958

Walter Ong, S.J., speaks at the training school for Catholic leaders. Ong was a professor of English for more than 35 years at SLU.

March 29, 1917

A group of alumni and St. Louis businessmen meet with a Saint Louis University committee of Jesuit and lay faculty members to plan for celebrating the centennial of “the old college.”

March 28, 1842

Professor Josephus Wells Hall gives the first medical lecture to SLU students and a large audience of the general public. Instruction in medicine at SLU begins in a small house adjoining the University buildings, on the north side of Washington Avenue, between Tenth and Eleventh streets. The building is the personal property of the first dean, Dr. James V. Prather. At the time, only eight universities and one college have functioning medical departments.

March 27, 1960

The Saint Louis University chapter of the Benjamin Franklin Kite-Flying Society sponsors a “Kite Kontest” in Forest Park. Prizes are awarded for the most unusual and highest-flying kites.

March 26, 1969

Grover Loening, a German-American aircraft manufacturer who received the world's first degree in aeronautical engineering, visits Parks College and receives the Parks Pioneer Award.

March 25, 1994

In honor of Women’s History Month, SLU’s Women’s Studies Program encases a poster of “Christa,” a four-feet-tall bronze by sculptor Edwina Sandys that depicts Christ as a woman, for display in the lobby of Ritter Hall.

March 24, 1836

Peter Verhaegen, S.J., is named superior of the Jesuit mission in Missouri. He makes Saint Louis University his home.

March 23, 1973

Saint Louis University’s first recycling center is established by the Environmental Corps at the Busch Memorial Center, where a container for used newspapers is placed on the loading dock.

March 22, 2004

Former Saint Louis University President Thomas R. Fitzgerald, S.J., dies at the Wolfington Jesuit Residence at Georgetown University. He was 82.

March 21, 1944

The world-famous von Trapp family sings outstanding examples of early Catholic liturgical music and Gregorian chants, among other offerings, at the University Auditorium.

March 20, 1941

Archduke Otto von Hapsburg, heir to the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, speaks at Saint Louis University, drawing upon the long and tragic history of the Hapsburg dynasty to discuss current European problems and to advance his plans for the restoration of his empire.

March 18, 1949

The Faculty Women’s Club of the University issues 9,000 invitations to clergy, alumni, faculty and friends in honor of the inauguration of incoming University President Paul C. Reinert, S.J., to be held in the West Pine Gymnasium.

March 17, 1949

A free St. Patrick’s Day party for all SLU freshman women is held in the Chouteau House at 8 p.m. The dress code is informal, but attendees are encouraged to wear green.

March 16, 1944

Sigma Xi is installed at Saint Louis University. It's the only chapter of the fraternity in the United States at the time.

March 15, 1921

Frances McMenamy, S.J., father provincial of the Jesuits of Missouri, returns to SLU after a tour of Central America where he visited St. John's College in Belize, a school run by SLU faculty members. He declares that students in Belize are eager to come to St. Louis to further their educations.

March 14, 1839

SLU's trustees recommend that an honorary medical degree be given to Benjamin Brown, who would later be the first person to receive a medical doctorate west of the Mississippi.

March 13, 1840

Catholic residents meet to discuss the possibility of erecting a new church, which will become Saint Francis Xavier Church at Ninth Street and Christy (Lucas) Avenue and will be known more widely as “the College Church.”

March 12, 1971

The University News reports on the Ice Bills completing their first hockey season on a joyful note as they meet the Bowling Green State University Falcons. The Bills fight to an overtime 4-4 tie in their last game of the 1970-71 season.

March 11, 1966

Bob Dylan performs at the Kiel Opera House in downtown St. Louis. Tickets are available for students to purchase for between $2.50 and $4.50 through a mail order form that required a self-addressed stamped envelope.

March 10, 1820

Jeremiah Connor, a former sheriff of St. Louis and designer of the city's Washington Avenue, donates the land for Saint Louis University to Bishop DuBourg.

March 9, 1962

A space vehicle exhibition, sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is held in the University auditorium. A SLU alum has been involved in every NASA launch.

March 8, 1935

The University News reports that a nationwide strike of students will take place on April 12, 1935, to oppose fascism and war.

March 7, 2017

Dr. Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury who officiated at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, visits SLU to deliver the theology department’s Henry de Lubac Lecture, “Christ, Creator and Creature: Reflections on Christology and the Nature of Created Being,” at the Center for Global Citizenship.

March 6, 2016

Bruce Springsteen performs to the largest sold-out crowd in Chaifetz Arena history. More than 10,240 tickets were sold.

March 5, 1962

Brewery heir Joseph Griesedieck turns over the first spadeful of dirt in the groundbreaking ceremony for Griesedieck Hall, marking the start of construction on Saint Louis University’s 17-story “residence for men.”

March 4, 1896

Archbishop Peter Kenrick dies. At his funeral, University Cadets will form the guard of honor around his coffin.

March 3, 1901

Saint Louis University hosts its first annual indoor track meet at the St. Louis Coliseum. Fifteen universities and track clubs participate.

March 2, 1962

Saint Louis University’s first Mardi Gras weekend begins with a parade on West Pine Boulevard at noon. That night, a dance is hosted at the Chase Hotel at which dancing the Twist has been banned.

March 1, 2001

Napster representatives arrive at SLU. A discussion is held with keynote speakers Chuck D, from Public Enemy, and Ted Meyers, an executive from Rhino Records.

February 28, 1957

The Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) is founded. Each year, a number of graduating Billikens commit to a year of service with the JVC and similar ventures.

February 27, 1830

The first of many Louisiana students begins studying at Saint Louis College. At the time, the territory beyond the Mississippi River includes only two states: Louisiana and Missouri.

February 26, 1929

The Saint Louis University Billiken basketball team beats their archrival, Washington University, winning the City Championship for the first time.

February 25, 1844

Anti-Catholic rioters attack the medical school; they are driven back, but return later and destroy the building and its contents.

February 24, 1933

Jazz great Dewey Jackson and his orchestra perform at a dance at Saint Louis University at an interracial dance held at SLU in the gym, sponsored by the Catholic magazine "Interracial Review."

February 23, 2017

Newslink reports that renderings of the new SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital have been unveiled. University President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., SSM officials and St. Louis leaders— including Mayor Lyda Krewson — turn over the first shovels of the dirt on the project later that year

February 22, 1963

Today at SLU in 1963: Walter Ong, S.J., receives the Ordre des Palmes académiques, the national order in France that honors distinguished academics and scholars, for his work on French logician and educational reformer Peter Ramus.

February 21, 1973

Today at SLU in 1973: A SLU fraternity raffles off 100 gallons of free gas. Eight months later, the 1973 oil crisis begins.

February 20, 2005

Renowned civil rights activist Dr. Angela Davis shares her experiences with the Saint Louis University community as part of Black History Month. The event attracts 1,600 students from across the nation.

February 19, 1967

W. H. Auden, perhaps the greatest living poet of the day, speaks at Saint Louis University in the West Pine Gymnasium as part of the Great Issues series. In 1970, Auden will receive the Messing Award at SLU for his literary achievement.

February 18, 2017

Playwright Tennessee Williams captivates an audience of nearly 600 at Pius XII Memorial Library as he receives the Wilma and Roswell Messing Jr. Award. The award will later be known as the St. Louis Literary Award and given to John Updike, Joan Didion and Margaret Atwood, among many other acclaimed authors.

February 17, 1994

Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center speaks before a packed Busch Memorial Center audience. His presentation, “Why Can’t We All Get Along?” is part of the Student Government Association’s Great Issues series.

February 15, 1946

SLU faculty Dr. Donald Greiff and Dr. Henry Pinkerton have discovered a cure for typhus fever, according to The University News. The research team includes Dr. Vicente Moragues.

February 14, 1964

Today at SLU in 1964: U.S. President Lyndon Johnson visits SLU in one of his 1st public appearances after the assassination of President Kennedy. He speaks at the future site of the Busch Memorial Center and plants a tree to symbolize the growth of St. Louis.

February 13, 1924

Today at SLU in 1924: William F. Robinson SJ, president of Saint Louis University, and Reverend Mother Concordia of the Sisters of Mary sign a document giving the University charge of St. Mary's Infirmary.

February 12, 2014

Today at SLU in 2014: SLU announces the digitization of 19th-century diaries that include some of the earliest first-hand accounts of the daily lives of students and Jesuits.

February 10, 1908

Today at SLU in 1908: John P. Frieden, SJ, is appointed the 19th president of Saint Louis University.

February 9, 1964

The Saint Louis University men's soccer team joins members of the United States Olympic soccer team for an exhibition game against the St. Ambrose Fighting Bees. Half of the Olympic team that year is made up of players from St. Louis.

February 8, 1946

Today at SLU in 1946: Enrollment at Saint Louis University sets a record: 6,118 total. Many are veterans home from World War II. #SLU200

February 7, 1923

Today at SLU in 1923: Magician Harry Houdini makes a stop at SLU to lecture against "mediums." @sciam's Committee on Psychic Research reveals that so far, these so-called mediums have been found to be 100 percent fraudulent. #SLU200

February 6, 2013

Today at SLU in 2013: The new Magis Faculty Society meets for the first time at Il Monastero. The society was created to foster connections among SLU's retired and emeritus faculty members. #SLU200

February 5, 1953

Today at SLU in 1953: Billikenews reports that the Knights of Columbus Foundation at SLU received the first shipments of microfilm of the Vatican Library's priceless manuscript collection. #SLU200

February 4, 1912

Today at SLU in 1912: The St. Louis Times describes the newly appointed president of SLU, Alexander Burrowes, SJ: "On his full face and even features is an expression inviting confidence and bespeaking kindness." #SLU200

February 3, 1933

Today at SLU in 1933: Saint Louis University and the Sisters of St. Mary open Firmin Desloge Hospital, which would later become @SLUHospital. #SLU200

February 2, 1958

Today at SLU in 1958: The cornerstone of @piuslibrary is put in place. Before that, the University's library collection was housed in the Pere Marquette Gallery, located on the 2nd floor of DuBourg Hall. #SLU200

February 1, 2013

Today at SLU in 2013: SLU announces the 2005 @SLUWsoccer will be inducted to the Billiken Hall of Fame. The team was the 1st SLU women's team to earn an NCAA Tournament berth. #SLU200

January 31, 2002

Today at SLU in 2002: @TheUNews reports that @KSLUradio goes global with its first internet broadcast. The stream is limited to 4 hours because it drains resources from University's servers. #SLU200

January 30, 1836

Today at SLU in 1836: Mississippi Sen. Robert Walker, chairman of the Committee on Public Lands, reports a bill which calls for a grant of land to the "French University of Saint Louis." #SLU200

January 29, 2009

Today at SLU in 2009: Sources, a poetry collection by SLU professor Devin Johnston, is selected as a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle 2008 award for poetry, according to @TheUNews. #SLU200

January 28, 1944

Today at SLU in 1944: Claude Heithaus, SJ, eulogizes Otto J. Kuhnmuench, SJ, as, "a living edition of the Ratio Studiorum." Kuhnmuench taught Latin at SLU for 30 years, earning the nickname "The Old Roman." #SLU200

January 27, 2017

Today at SLU in 2017: The College for Public Health and Social Justice announces its REACH initiative, which aims to address problems that undermine the health of children and mothers. #SLU200

January 26, 1999

Today at SLU in 1999: Classes are cancelled so that SLU students and faculty can attend papal events during Pope John Paul II's visit to St. Louis. #SLU200

January 25, 2012

Saint Louis University announces that @SLULAW will move downtown to a new building donated by Joe and Loretta Scott. #SLU200

January 24, 2013

Today at SLU in 2013: SLU researchers and their collaborators at @Mizzou and @PittTweet report a breakthrough in the pursuit of new hepatitis B drugs that could help cure the virus. #SLU200

January 23, 1976

Today at SLU in 1976: @SLU_SGA's Popular Film Series offers students the chance to view a screening of American Graffiti for only 50 cents with a SLU ID. #SLU200

January 22, 1911

Today at SLU in 1911: SLU is named a Collegium Maximum, an official Jesuit term for the "premier college" of a province, by the Father General in Rome. #SLU200

January 21, 1855

George Hood, a Saint Louis University senior, records in his diary that due to heavy snow, the school authorities declare a winter sports day.

January 20, 2005

Today at SLU in 2005: Saint Louis University starts its official Facebook page. @theunews offers full coverage of "SLU's new fad." #SLU200

January 19, 2016

Hoverboards and electronic skateboards — which have grown in popularity by the middle of the decade — are temporarily banned at SLU's campuses due to safety concerns.

January 18, 1982

Today at SLU in 1982: Longtime SLU professor John Kavanaugh, SJ, lectures at the College Church on "Following Christ in a Consumer Society." His best-selling book by the same title was published the year before. #SLU200

January 17, 1898

St. Louis Republic lauds the previous day's dedication of the College Church, calling it a "day of unhoped-for splendor." Archbishop John Joseph Kain, along with four bishops, 60 Jesuit scholastics, 65 priests and 40 acolytes, blessed the new church.

January 16, 1898

St. Francis Xavier College Church is formally dedicated at Saint Louis University.

January 15, 1865

Francis Stuntebeck, S.J., the director of SLU's weather station, reports: "This morning at six o'clock, four rings were seen around the moon: the nearest white, the second blue, the third yellow, and the fourth light green. These lasted for some six to eight minutes and then gradually disappeared."

January 14, 1929

In their best game of the 1929 season, the Billiken men's basketball team beat the Washington Bears 29-18. After three minutes of scoreless play, "Moose" Meyers drops in a long shot, and the Billikens control the game from that point on.

January 13, 1833

Pope Gregory XVI grants a dispensation allowing the Society of Jesus to charge tuition to meet the costs of education and board. The Jesuits at SLU actively sought this dispensation. It is one of the most significant changes in the Jesuit way of operating schools since the founding of the order.

January 12, 1898

U.S. President Grover Cleveland orders the creation of the Corps of Cadets, a student military organization, at Saint Louis University.

January 11, 1984

The winter 1984 issue of Universitas publishes a story about Patrick Gaffney, SMM, and his innovative computer course titled "Who is Jesus?"

January 10, 1898

DuBourg Hall is dedicated.

January 9, 2006

Tom Kavanaugh (AS '01) wins his final round of the popular game show Jeopardy, making him an eight-time champion with winnings of more than $144,000.

January 8, 1818

In the same year as SLU's founding, Henry Clay, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, presents the first petition to Congress from Missouri requesting statehood.

January 7, 1824

Bishop Louis William DuBourg offers the Jesuits his college, which will become Saint Louis University.

January 6, 1949

Father Reinert begins his 25-year tenure as president of Saint Louis University.

January 5, 1818

Bishop Louis William DuBourg arrives in St. Louis. Later this year, he will establish Saint Louis Academy, which will become Saint Louis University.

January 4, 2013

The men's basketball team defeats Savannah State 67-59, earning their eighth consecutive win at home. The Billikens would go on to compete in the NCAA men's basketball championship.

January 3, 1952

SLU President Paul Reinert, S.J., participates in the Western Province Educational Meeting of the Vincentian Fathers to discuss ways to improve seminary education.

January 2, 1953

Pope Pius XII gives Saint Louis University permission to name its new library in his honor, writing to SLU President Paul Reinert, S.J.: "Willingly then do we accede to your filial request that this new library be designated the Pius XII Memorial Library."

January 1, 1860

The first weather bureau in St. Louis is set up at Saint Louis University.