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Mission Priority Examen

February 20, 2024

Dear SLU faculty, staff and students:

This spring, Saint Louis University once again commences the institutional process of discernment referred to as the Mission Priority Examen. 

The Mission Priority Examen (MPE) is a self-study and peer review process intended to reaffirm a Jesuit university’s commitment to its Catholic, Jesuit mission. You can learn more about the MPE here. The MPE process is elaborated upon in greater depth in the Characteristics of Jesuit Higher Education, published by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU). 

SLU last conducted the MPE in 2018-19, and this year we will once again engage in collective reflection on how we live out SLU’s Catholic, Jesuit mission and the ways we might continue to live out the mission in the future. 

I have charged Fr. David Suwalsky, S.J., vice president of mission and identity, with leading the MPE process. He has assembled a steering committee, co-chaired by Virginia Herbers and composed of faculty, staff and students from across the institution.

The steering committee will guide these elements of the MPE process:

This pattern of a self-study, report, and peer review visit may be familiar to many of you who lead or participate in accreditation processes. It is important to note, however, that the Mission Priority Examen is not an accreditation. It is an “examen” – a process of discernment, Ignatian in purpose and spirit, that we will undertake in community. 

The process offers an opportunity for authentic, open reflection on the ways that we can more fully live our University’s values and work toward our aspiration to transform society in the spirit of the Gospels. 

Fr. Suwalsky anticipates that, by the end of spring semester, the MPE steering committee will have engaged nearly 1,000 members of the University community in direct discussion. If you would like to join an MPE focus group, please email steering committee co-chair Virginia Herbers at

I am grateful to the SLU community for your willingness to participate in these essential conversations, and I look forward to learning from your reflections. Thank you for your continued commitment to SLU’s mission.


Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.