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Saint Louis University Announces Historic $500 Million Fundraising Campaign

ST. LOUIS (Nov. 17, 2018) — On the very first day of Saint Louis University’s third century, SLU has announced that it is embarking on the largest and most ambitious fundraising campaign in its 200-year history.

Third Century Gala

SLU President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., addresses supporters at the Third Century Gala, a special event Nov. 17 in Chaifetz Arena that kicked off the University's $500 million fundraising campaign. Photo by Steve Dolan

“Accelerating Excellence: The Campaign for Saint Louis University” seeks to propel SLU to national prominence as a world-class research university by raising $500 million in philanthropic support for the University’s strategic priorities.

Major areas of focus include:

SLU is asking donors to make investments in every school and college across the institution, directed by each dean’s top priorities. New initiatives identified include a Catholic Studies Center, a Center for Humanities, a Center for Data Analytics, a Food Innovation Center and a Parks College Innovation Factory, among others.

“Through their immense generosity, our alumni and donors ensure that SLU can provide to future generations the benefits of a transformative Jesuit education,” said Saint Louis University President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.

During the leadership phase of the campaign, SLU raised $303 million toward its $500 million goal.

“With this campaign, we’re asking our supporters to share our aspirations, and they are stepping up in significant ways,” Pestello continued. “With their enduring commitment to SLU and our noble mission, we are confident that we will be successful in achieving our ambitious goal.”

Dr. Richard Chaifetz and Rex Sinquefield are the campaign’s co-chairs. In addition to being SLU alumni and longtime members of the University’s Board of Trustees, they are also among Saint Louis University’s most generous donors. Between them, they have given more than $80 million to SLU.

For both campaign chairs, using their successes to help their shared alma mater is one way that they can pay things forward.

Chaifetz said: “Attending Saint Louis University was one of the best decisions of my life. I believe a large part of my success, both personally and in business, is due to my broad-based SLU education. I am an enthusiastic supporter of SLU, and my personal goal is to help the school be recognized as one of the best universities in the world.”

Sinquefield added: “For a long time in my life, I was envisioning and hoping for the possibility that I could do something special for Saint Louis University. It’s an extremely important institution for the city and the entire St. Louis region. I want to see us continue to strive for — and accomplish — excellence, so that everybody in the world takes notice.”

Richard Chaifetz and Rex Sinquefield

Campaign co-chairs Dr. Richard Chaifetz and Rex Sinquefield pose for a photo at the Third Century Gala. Photo by Steve Dolan

Accelerating Excellence is a comprehensive campaign, meaning that every gift — large or small — contributes to the overall goal. Gifts for student scholarships will continue to be matched through the Go Further initiative throughout the length of the campaign.

The public phase of SLU’s campaign officially kicked off Nov. 17 during the Third Century Gala in Chaifetz Arena. The formal event was hosted by Mike Isaacson, a two-time alumnus of the University who is the artistic director and executive producer of the Muny.

The campaign announcement comes on the heels of SLU’s most successful fundraising year ever. During fiscal year 2018, which ended on June 30, Saint Louis University received $98.7 million in gifts and pledges. There was also a record number of donors in FY18 and a record number of donations of $1 million or more.

Campaign Website


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.