$50 Million Gift from Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield Is the Largest Donation in Saint
Louis University’s 200-Year History
ST. LOUIS (Aug. 28, 2018) — Today, Saint Louis University announces that St. Louis
philanthropists Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield are donating $50 million to the University
to accelerate SLU’s rise as a world-class research university.
It is the largest gift in the University’s 200-year history and comes after SLU recently
marked its most successful fundraising year ever, raising a record-setting $98.6 million
in fiscal year 2017-18, which ended June 30.
“On behalf of the entire Saint Louis University community, I want to thank Dr. Jeanne
and Rex Sinquefield for their transformational gift and for their unparalleled support
of our University,” said SLU President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.
Video Message from Dr. Pestello to the SLU Community
“Through their immense generosity, the Sinquefields will provide the gift of knowledge
to the world, bring further attention to the region as a research hub, and draw more
outstanding scholars and students to St. Louis,” Pestello continued. “For all this
and more, we are deeply grateful.”
The historic gift will fund a new Saint Louis University Research Institute that will serve as the focal point for SLU’s strategic goal of growing the scale
and eminence of its research and scholarship. It will also establish a new Sinquefield
Center for Applied Economic Research and provide annual support to SLU’s chess team.
“Saint Louis University was instrumental to my success in life,” said Rex Sinquefield,
who is a SLU alumnus and trustee. “I want generations of Saint Louis University students
to enjoy the same opportunity that I had. Jeanne and I are fortunate and happy to
give this gift to my alma mater. We know it will help propel Saint Louis University
and its students to higher levels of excellence in scholarship and research.”
Saint Louis University Research Institute
The Saint Louis University Research Institute will help set SLU on a path to become
a national and international model in promoting teaching, learning and research efforts
that exemplify discovery, transformative outcomes and engaged citizenship in a global
society – as called for in the University’s strategic plan. The new research institute
will have several areas of focus, including:
Creating a Critical Mass of Highly Productive Researchers
The University will recruit and retain faculty research leaders who have a strong
track record and potential for future funding and provide accompanying investments
to support them. Among other efforts, SLU will create research institute fellowships
for early, mid-career and highly accomplished senior faculty.
Investing in Priority Research Areas
Faculty will be encouraged to propose multi-disciplinary research programs that build
upon SLU’s existing strengths and have the potential to achieve significant impact.
The institute will award $50,000-$100,000 planning grants to promising proposals.
Projects that engage undergraduate students as collaborators will be encouraged.
Launching a Research Growth Fund
The institute will fund the acquisition of additional resources, such as instrumentation,
equipment and technology, that are critical to conducting and advancing leading-edge
research. A portion of the growth fund will be designated to promoting research experiences
for undergraduate students, including opportunities for ambitious capstone projects.
Sinquefield Center for Applied Economic Research
The Sinquefields’ gift will also launch the Sinquefield Center for Applied Economic
Research and will fund a new director position – the Sinquefield Professor of Economics
– to lead the center. To be housed within the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business,
this new center will conduct research grounded in applied economics or the study of
economic theories in practice. The gift will also support the establishment of a guest
lecture series in economics and related fields.
Support for SLU’s Chess Program
In addition to funding the new Saint Louis University Research Institute and the Sinquefield
Center for Applied Economics, a portion of the Sinquefields’ gift will support SLU’s
chess team, which has quickly become one of the winningest collegiate chess programs
in the country. The gift will help fund student scholarships and player travel to
tournaments, among other priorities to advance the University’s chess program.
About Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield
Rex Sinquefield was born in St. Louis. Following the early and unexpected death of
his father, he and his younger brother were raised by the Sisters of Christian Charity
at the Saint Vincent Home for Children in St. Louis. After graduating from Bishop
DuBourg High School, Rex Sinquefield entered the seminary. After three years, he made
the difficult decision not to pursue the priesthood and enrolled at Saint Louis University.
After earning bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and business at SLU, he pursued his
MBA at the University of Chicago, where he met and married Jeanne Cairns Sinquefield, who also
earned her MBA at the University of Chicago, as well as a doctorate in demography.
One of the inventors of a type of passive investing and a pioneer of the first index
funds, Rex Sinquefield co-founded the investment firm Dimensional Fund Advisors, which
today has more than $525 billion in global assets. Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield played a
significant role in DFA’s achievements, overseeing the Trading Department and serving
as executive vice president until the Sinquefields’ retirements in 2005.
Since then, the Sinquefields have dedicated their retirements to helping future generations,
spending their time and resources on civic and philanthropic causes. Their Sinquefield
Charitable Foundation supports programs related to music, art, education and children.
As a leader within the St. Louis region and across the state of Missouri, Rex Sinquefield
actively participates in civic and cultural institutions beyond his and Jeanne’s generous
financial contributions, including serving on the Saint Louis University Board of
Trustees, among many others.
Through the years, Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield has had a long history of supporting organizations
that enhance music, art and education. She believes strongly that exposure to the
arts and quality learning opportunities have lifelong benefits for children.
About Saint Louis University: Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the
nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values
and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River,
SLU offers nearly 13,000 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole
person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused
mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just
place. For more information, visit slu.edu.