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A Message From Dean Ritter


Dear SOE Alumni,

Dean RitterWelcome to the first issue of our new alumni newsletter! My name is Gary Ritter, and I am thrilled to be finishing my first year as the dean of the School of Education.

I was drawn to Saint Louis University because of our rich history and our strong Jesuit tradition. I am a graduate of the Jesuit St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio and John Carroll University.

After I earned my undergraduate degree, I spent a year in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps working in Camden, New Jersey in Sacred Heart Catholic School, which served nearly 200 low-income students a year. This wonderful formative experience encouraged me to pursue education as a career. After earning a Ph.D. in Education Policy from the University of Pennsylvania, I served as a faculty member in the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas until 2018.

While I loved my time teaching and researching at the University of Arkansas, I became very interested in Saint Louis University when my first child Colyn matriculated here in 2015. That interest grew over the years with my involvement in the Billiken Parents and Family Association. So, when an opportunity arose to interview for the position of dean at the SLU School of Education, I was intrigued. Today, after one year of service, I am grateful that SLU’s leaders have entrusted me with this important role.

This year, as we celebrated the 200th birthday of Saint Louis University, we had a great year in the School of Education. I have worked alongside talented and passionate faculty and staff and have begun to mentor wonderful SLU students. I have been able to celebrate great news, such as our faculty earning national recognition and our researchers winning large grants — the new PRiME Center described in this issue is one such example. Even more importantly, we have been able to create two new scholarships to support our excellent undergraduate teacher candidates. The two programs – the Excellence & Equity in Education Scholarship (3E) and the Teachers of Tomorrow (TOT) Scholarship – have helped us draw a very strong 2019 entering class that includes students from low-income communities in our own region.

Finally, this year I have met wonderful people, such as Don Cook, the recipient of our 2019 Alumni Merit Award. I hope to have an opportunity to meet more of you at our School of Education end-of-year Happy Hour on June 7. If I don’t see you in June, I hope to see you at Homecoming and Family Weekend in September!

Best wishes,sigGary W. Ritter, Ph.D.
Dean, School of Education