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Provost Search Announcement

Dear members of the Saint Louis University community,

I am writing to announce the start of a national search for our next permanent provost.

This open and inclusive process will be led by a diverse search committee, which will identify candidates who are committed to upholding our mission and values. Each finalist will have the training, experience, values and character necessary to navigate the unprecedented challenges we face, while continuing our progress as a global Jesuit university — one that is mission focused, student and patient-centered, and research-driven, working with the people of St. Louis to reimagine, transform, and unify our region. Near the end of the search, finalists will be invited to campus for further review by the SLU community. Following on-campus interviews, campus feedback, and a report from the search committee, I will make the final hiring decision.

The search committee is chaired by Dr. Jonathan Sawday, professor of English, and is composed of representatives from various stakeholder groups.

Faculty Senate President, Dr. Ruth Evans, deliberated with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and recommended the names of faculty to serve. In addition to faculty, the committee has a staff representative, a student representative, representatives of the administration, and a member of the Society of Jesus who also serves as a university trustee.

To facilitate the search and build the pool of candidates, the search committee will be assisted by Dennis Barden, a senior partner from the nationally-recognized search firm WittKieffer. Dennis not only has deep experience in hiring for this type of position, but is familiar with SLU, as he previously assisted us in other searches, including the next dean of the Chaifetz School of Business.

Thanks to our mission, our people, our many strengths and successes, and our potential, this is an attractive position. This process should generate a strong, diverse, high-quality pool of candidates. I intend to conclude the search and have a permanent provost in place no later than July 1, 2021.

Look for future updates from the search committee in Newslink. I encourage you to share your thoughts about the search — including potential candidates — directly with the committee by emailing

Finally, I wish to express my gratitude for the members of the search committee, which is a sizable responsibility during “normal times” let alone a global pandemic. I have full confidence in their ability to devise creative solutions to potential barriers ahead as they develop a process for which our community will be proud.

Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D. President