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History of American Studies at SLU

Saint Louis University hosts the only American studies Ph.D. program at a United States Jesuit university, and the only such program at a private university anywhere in the 11-state region of the Mid-America American Studies Association.

Timeline of American Studies at SLU

1963
American Studies at Saint Louis University begins as a doctoral program housed in the history department.

1965
Saint Louis University grants its first American Studies Ph.D. to Albert J. P. McCarthy (1918–1978), an assistant professor of geography at SLU.

1969
Sister Elizabeth Kolmer, Ph.D., establishes American studies as a freestanding, independent doctoral program at Saint Louis University, becoming the first woman ever named to head a degree-granting academic department or program within SLU’s College of Arts and Sciences.

1971
Professor Kolmer launches the Master of Arts program in American studies, with more than 20 M.A. students earning degrees in the program's first five years.

1975
An American studies undergraduate major is established at SLU.

1997
100 American studies doctorates have been conferred by SLU.

Today, our faculty are building on that strong foundation of teaching and mentoring. Like all disciplines, American studies faces many challenges ahead, but at Saint Louis University, American Studies majors, minors, and graduate students take an active part in meeting these challenges in the classroom and beyond.

Directors/Chairs of American Studies at SLU

  • 1963–1969: Martin F. Hasting, S.J.
  • 1969–1981: Elizabeth Kolmer, A.S.C.
  • 1981–1983: Charles E. Marske
  • 1983–1988: Lawrence F. Barmann
  • 1988–1995: Elizabeth Kolmer, A.S.C.
  • 1995–1999: Shirley Loui
  • 1999–2000: Lawrence F. Barmann
  • 2000–2015: Matthew J. Mancini
  • 2015–present: Heidi Ardizzone