The Intersection of Faith and Policy
The St. Louis that Caleb Bobo knew growing up in Ballwin, Missouri, was not the St.
Louis he saw on television in August 2014. An undergraduate at the University of Kansas
in Lawrence at the time, Bobo was watching coverage of the riots in Ferguson after
the shooting death of Michael Brown. Even more concerning to Bobo were the investigations
“They revealed mismanagement of power, and antagonism between public servants and
the people they were supposed to serve,” Bobo said. “It seemed such a betrayal of
the public trust. I couldn’t shake my discomfort.”
His discomfort led to action. Bobo abandoned his longtime plans to attend law school
and searched for a career that would allow him to improve the relationship between
minority communities and their government.
A mentor Bobo met at a leadership institute in Washington, D.C., informed Bobo that
many talented African-American males pursue degrees in law, business or medicine,
but those who wanted to see how things work on the ground and who wanted to directly
affect change were those in public administration.
“The idea of direct involvement appealed to me,” Bobo said. “I want to build bridges
between those who have means and power with those who have great potential but limited
resources. I want to build a better St. Louis.”
Bobo chose to return to St. Louis and to pursue a master of public administration
at Saint Louis University. His passion for building stronger communities earned him
the 2016-2017 Diversity Fellowship, which is awarded through the Office of Graduate
Part of Bobo’s studies include his internship with the St. Louis Regional Chamber,
an organization that works with leaders throughout the bi-state area to develop public
policies that enhance the region’s business climate and livability.
“SLU’s MPA program has proven to be a great fit for me,” he said. “It’s giving me
the flexibility to develop skills in critical thinking, policy evaluation and administration
that are preparing me to do great things in the community.”
Bobo said he is particularly interested in the relationship between people of faith
and government entities, and exploring how they can work together.
“I’m a huge believer in the role of religious organizations working to better their
communities,” said Bobo, an active member of the same Baptist church for 14 years.
“I would love to see how we can foster the programs they have to shelter the homeless
or feed the hungry and coordinate those with government efforts to solve major public
policy problems across our city, our state and our country.”
Just the Beginning
After earning his degree in public administration in 2018, Bobo hopes to pursue a
master of divinity or a Ph.D. to enrich his understanding of the connection between
faith and policy. He is inspired by his father, a former McDonnell Douglas engineer
who earned his master of divinity and doctoral degree before becoming a professor
of Christian ministry, a faith-based consultant and an ordained minister.
“I’m lucky to have someone in my life who not only taught me how to be a man in this
world but a man of faith,” Bobo said.