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Billikens Wrap Up Fall Welcome, Head Back to Class


After welcoming its second largest class in history, Saint Louis University continued its celebrations with meet and greets, ice cream socials and spirit competitions as its students, faculty and staff prepared for the start of the 2017-2018 academic year.

A small group meets in front of Ignatius the Pilgrim. Photo by Luke YamnitzA small group meets in front of Ignatius the Pilgrim. Photo by Luke Yamnitz

As SLU began classes this week, the campus came together for Yoga on the Quad, its Student Mass at St. Francis Xavier College Church and its ministry and job fairs where students could begin their explorations of careers and on-campus faith communities.

More events are scheduled in the lead up to the traditional start of the Jesuit academic year, Mass of the Holy Spirit, on Aug. 31.

Some highlights from this year's Fall Welcome and the past summer at SLU include:

  • The opening of SLU's newest residence hall, Grand Hall. The $71 million hall is the second new dormitory to open in two years. University President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., joined members of the Board of Trustees, Student Government Association, and area dignitaries to cut Grand Hall's ribbon on Aug. 8. The hall welcomed its first residents on Aug. 23 and will house over 500 first- and second-year students.
  • Construction began on SLU's new 14,000 square-foot creator space, the Academic Technology Commons, in the Pius XII Memorial Library. The space aims to provide the SLU community with opportunities to learn and interact with the latest technologies including 3D printers, 360 cameras, hologram technology and more. The commons will open in early October.
  • The New Student Convocation welcomes the second largest class in University history. The Class of 2021 comes from 44 states and nearly 80 countries and has a mean high school grade point average of over a 3.9. About 28 percent of the class are on track to be the first members of their families to complete a university degree and more than 300 are transfer students.
  • International students started their SLU careers. Over 250 new students from around the globe started in undergraduate, graduate, professional, Academic English or Pathway programs. Over 200 of these students traveled into the path of totality for the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21. 

With classes beginning, new journeys began. One new student, Victoria Birchem, a freshman, and her family, shared the first chapter of their SLU story as she prepared to become a Billiken.

Saint Louis University is a world-class Catholic, Jesuit institution educating nearly 13,000 students on two dynamic, urban campuses - in St. Louis, Missouri, and Madrid, Spain. Founded in 1818, the University will soon celebrate its bicentennial.
With a legacy of innovative academics and research, compassionate health care and faithful service, Saint Louis University attracts a diverse community of scholars who push intellectual boundaries in pursuit of creative, meaningful ways to impact the world, striving to serve a higher purpose and seek a greater good.