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Longtime Faculty Member Makes $2 Million Gift to SLU

Saint Louis University’s Development Division is pleased to announce that the University has been designated as the recipient of a bequest worth an estimated $2 million from Theodore R. Vitali, C.P., Ph.D., a longtime faculty member in the Department of Philosophy. 

The generous gift, which designates SLU as the beneficiary of Vitali’s retirement account, was made with the blessing of his order, the Passionist Congregation.

The gift will benefit the philosophy department, partially endowing a chair and establishing an endowed scholarship for a full-time undergraduate or graduate philosophy student from the Passionist Congregation. The endowed chair will be named inVitali’s honor.

“I believe in the Jesuit Catholic vision of human dignity and thus the fostering of authentic Christian humanism,” Vitali said. “I believe the advancement of such a vision lies at the essence of SLU’s mission and the intrinsic role philosophy plays in the advancement of SLU’s mission. An endowed chair dedicated to the philosophical advancement of that mission enhances and propels that mission.

A SLU alumnus, Vitali (Grad A&S ’74 and ’76) returned to SLU as the chair of the philosophy department in 1989, a role he held until he stepped down in 2017. Following a sabbatical during the 2017-18 academic year, he is back in the classroom as an associate professor this fall.

“Fr. Vitali has given his life to SLU, and now with this great act of generosity, he has ensured that his presence and spirit will live on for as long as there is a Saint Louis University,” said Christopher Duncan, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “While I am certainly filled with gratitude for his long service as well as the gift, the truth is I am deeply humbled and moved by what is in essence a true act of grace. I am blessed to call Ted my colleague, but even more thankful that he is my friend.”

Vitali’s gift is a significant contribution toward the $10.5 million goal of The Faculty & Staff Drive for Accelerating Excellence, a special fundraising drive. The focused effort, which runs until mid-November, solicits support from SLU’s internal community and is designed to lay the groundwork for the success of the $500 million Accelerating Excellence campaign that will launch publicly in November.