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Billikens Celebrate at University's First Virtual Homecoming


Two years into its third century, Saint Louis University marked a new milestone, celebrating its first virtual Homecoming and Family Weekend with a full schedule of online fun that brought together current, past and future Billikens from all over the world.

A view of fireworks in the sky near the spire of St. Francis Xavier College Church

Fireworks light up the sky near the spire of St. Francis Xavier College Church at a past SLU celebration. SLU photo

Nearly 2,000 individuals, representing 43 states and five countries pre-registered to celebrate SLU.

Shifting online due to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the University innovated on tradition, creating a weekend packed with free, accessible events geared to all ages.

This year’s highlights included a guest appearance by actress and singer Mandy Moore, star of the hit show, “This Is Us,” at the traditional Saturday Night Celebration, which also featured homegrown magical star Justin Willman from the Netflix series “Magic for Humans,” Sam Harris from the X-Ambassadors and a game of foosball pitting some of St. Louis’ best-known mascots — the Billiken and Fredbird — against each other in the best spirit of Billikens soccer.

Other highlights from the weekend included virtual dining and beer tasting events, trivia nights and sneak-peeks at area attractions including the soon-to-open City Foundry and the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station.

The University also dedicated its new Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (ISE) Building, streaming the event so students, faculty, staff, alumni and Billiken families could join the celebration remotely.

Traditional events, including the Hustle for Your Health 5K and updates from SLU leaders, also went online this year.

This year’s theme, “Homecoming at Home,” emphasized the idea of “OneSLU,” as coined by University President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., in response to the SLU community’s interconnectedness and grounding in Jesuit values as women and men for and with others during the separation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The weekend’s events were recorded and will be shared soon.

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.

Story by Amelia Flood, University Marketing and Communications