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SLU Spring 2023 Commencement: What to Know About This Year’s Events


Saint Louis University will celebrate the accomplishments of graduates with the Spring 2023 commencement ceremony, preceded by in-person precommencements for each individual college and school.

Commencement events will kick off Thursday, May 18, with the first round of precommencement ceremonies, Baccalaureate Mass and the Toast to the Class of 2023 reception. The spring 2023 commencement ceremony begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 20, in Chaifetz Arena. 

Graduates take a selfie on campus on May 12, 2023.

Graduates take a selfie on campus on Friday, May 12. Photo by Sarah Conroy.

Precommencement Ceremonies

Before the main commencement ceremony, individual schools and colleges will host their own precommencement ceremonies. Those ceremonies give spring graduates a chance to walk across the stage and be recognized. 

The first precommencement ceremony this year will be at 8 a.m. on Thursday, May 18, when the College for Public Health and Social Justice hosts their event at Chaifetz Arena.

Precommencement ceremonies are scheduled for Thursday and Friday. A complete schedule of precommencement ceremonies can be found on the commencement website.  

Ceremonies will stream live on, on Saint Louis University's YouTube channel and on the Facebook page of each individual school or college.

Baccalaureate Mass

The University’s annual Baccalaureate Mass is an opportunity for the SLU community to give thanks to God for the gifts and opportunities bestowed upon graduates and to pray for their continued protection as they are sent out for the greater glory of God and for the service of humanity. This year’s Baccalaureate Mass will be celebrated at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 18, in St. Francis Xavier College Church.

Toast to the Class of 2023

Following the Baccalaureate Mass, graduates from all colleges and schools are invited to the Toast to the Class of 2023 reception. The annual event begins at 7:30 p.m. in Busch Student Center’s Wool Ballrooms. It will feature light hors d’oeuvres and a champagne toast led by University President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.

Commencement Details

The ceremony begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 20, in Chaifetz Arena. The event also will be live-streamed on and archived on SLU’s YouTube channel.

New York Times best-selling author and internationally recognized motivational speaker John O’Leary (Chaifetz ’99) will deliver the spring commencement address this year at Saint Louis University.

O’Leary was 9 years old in 1987 when he was so badly burned in an accident that doctors gave him less than a 1% chance of survival. The SLU alumnus detailed his journey to recovery in the 2016 best-seller On Fire: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life. His second book, In Awe: Rediscover Your Childlike Wonder to Unleash Inspiration, Meaning and Joy, also became a best seller when it was published in 2020.

As a motivational speaker, O’Leary gives more than 100 talks a year throughout the country and world, describing his recovery and the lessons he learned along the way.

In addition to delivering the commencement address, O’Leary will join former St. Louis Alderwoman Marlene Davis and veteran actress and SLU alumna Marianne Muellerleile in receiving honorary doctoral degrees from Saint Louis University.