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This Juneteenth, Reflecting on Memory and Hope

June 17, 2022

Dear members of the Saint Louis University community,

Last year, we announced that SLU would recognize Juneteenth as an official University holiday. Because June 19 falls on a Sunday this year, the University will close on Monday, June 20, 2022.

SLUCare clinics will be open on Monday, June 20. Staff scheduled to work that day can bank the holiday hours for later use. SSM Health is honoring up to eight hours of banked holiday time for staff who cannot use the hours before their employment transition on July 1.

As we stated when we announced the University’s formal recognition of Juneteenth last year: “Juneteenth not only celebrates the end of slavery in the United States, it also symbolizes a hope that the formerly enslaved and their descendants would enjoy the full fruit of freedom.”

We reflect further on memory and hope this Juneteenth, as we celebrate the legacy of our dear friend and colleague Dr. Jonathan C. Smith, the University's first vice president of diversity and community engagement. Jonathan passed away one year ago, on June 19, 2021.

Jonathan led the University’s efforts to remember and to reckon with SLU’s history of enslavement. He also exemplified what it means to transform hope into resolve, and to take action to advance equity and justice on campus and in our community.

This Newslink article shares more about Dr. Jonathan Smith's legacy, and offers a list of local Juneteenth events that we encourage the SLU community to attend.

Our Jesuit, Catholic mission calls us to work toward greater inclusion and equity. In the spirit of hope, we renew our commitment to the work ahead.

Higher purpose. Greater good.

Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.
President