University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J., delivered his annual State of the University Address last Wednesday, focusing on the challenges and opportunities facing Saint Louis University as it enters the new millennium.
Biondi delivered his address in Saint Francis Xavier College Church before an audience of more than 350 students, faculty and staff.
“The great possibilities before us in this new millennium are for the world, and it is our duty to seek their realization,” he said.
Throughout his speech, Biondi listed the accomplishments of various individuals and groups in the SLU community.
Social justice efforts included: opening the Busch Memorial Center’s doors for Homeless Awareness Week; protesting the School of the Americas; sponsoring a presentation by Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon for National Victim Rights Week; and raising funds for Family Development Services.
“Through these and many, many other initiatives encompassing research, teaching and service, Saint Louis University is present in the world fulfilling its mission as a Catholic, Jesuit institution,” Biondi said.
Biondi’s address called for a moral foundation when making decisions, especially those pertaining to the ever-changing world of technology.
“Much good can arise from making the benefits of new discoveries available more quickly,” Biondi said. “The challenge arises in the need to include values in the equation so that decisions about new technology are better informed and morally guided.”
Biondi talked about efforts toward progress in building the SLU community, including steps toward shared governance, a Shared Vision videotape series for faculty and staff and a budget that reflects the entire community’s needs.
Biondi also commented on the progress of Project SLU2000 and the University’s goals to improve the undergraduate experience. Future endeavors under SLU2000’s major initiatives include upgrading classrooms, improving residence halls, remodeling buildings and upgrading technology.
“In the SLU2000 project description, we made a point of noting that Saint Louis University remains dedicated to high-quality, mission-driven education,” Biondi said. “In practice, that means values are fully integrated as part of the curriculum and will continue to be throughout the implementation of SLU2000.”
Biondi also noted the national recognition received for SLU’s “commitment to a values-based education,” listing such achievements made by Micah House and the First Year Task Force programs, the alcohol awareness program and the service leadership program.
Integrating service with academic and research pursuits was also mentioned, as Biondi cited examples including:
graduate students’ worked with churches on Y2K preparations;
medical students’ founded the Health Resource Center; and law students’ provided legal assistance to homeless veterans.
“Overall, members of the Saint Louis University community engaged in more than 320,000 hours of service work during the last academic year,” Biondi said.