SLU Marks Third Largest Fundraising Campaign in University History

 2021 marked the third-largest fundraising year in University history; 15,000 individuals, foundations and companies generously helped raise $71 million. This year’s campaign falls short only to the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years where $98.7 and $119 million were raised, respectively. 

“Our donors have overwhelmingly supported the campaign, which is a testament to their love of SLU and dedication to its mission,” said Sheila Manion, Vice President for Development. “They want to ensure not only that the University continues to grow and thrive, but also that it occupies a role as a leader in higher education.”

The money raised will be put toward “Accelerating Excellence: The Campaign for Saint Louis University,” a fundraiser that aims to raise $500 million by the end of 2022. Thus far, $467.5 million of the $500 million goal has been raised; the University is on track to achieve the campaign’s goal by the end of next year. The University aims to put this large sum of money toward developing student leaders, as well as advancing society through vaccine development, satellite technology, and surgery techniques. In addition to conducting COVID vaccine trials, SLU’s Center for Vaccine Development is one of the four locations in the world where a Zika vaccine is being developed. Furthermore, SLU’s Practical Anatomy and Surgical Education (PASE) provides cadaver labs and surgical training workshops that benefit healthcare professionals by allowing skill development. Lastly, the Argus-2 satellite, built by a team of faculty and students at Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology, was launched into orbit from the International Space Station in February of 2020. 

“My vision for SLU is for it to be a global Jesuit university—one that is mission-focused, student and patient-centered and research-driven, working with the people of St. Louis to reimagine, transform and unify our city,” University President Fred Pestello said. “This campaign will allow us to better achieve this vision on every front. It has been quite successful to date, and I am confident that we will surpass our goal thanks to the enormously generous support of our donors. This community, our alumni, our board, and our faculty and staff have all contributed at impressive levels because they can see our many successes in living our Jesuit mission and their hope that we can continue to accelerate the excellence that pervades SLU.”

The five strategic priorities include academic excellence, health sciences, business education, athletics, and scholarships. Last year, for example, the University utilized a $25,000 donation made by Trudy Busch Valentine, a nursing alumni from the class of 1980, toward developing telemedicine stations in underserved North St. Louis areas. 

In addition to magnifying SLU’s impact on society, $8 million of the $71 million raised will directly impact students as it has been set aside for scholarships.

“The campaign is almost to its $500 million goal, and the funds raised are already being used in every school and college to increase academic excellence, attract and retain talented faculty and researchers and provide state-of-the-art facilities,” Manion said. “The campaign has also raised $82.5 million for scholarship support so far—$8 million in the 2021 fiscal year alone. Since the campaign started, 322 new scholarships have been created and more than 11,400 students have been supported by donor-funded scholarships. All of which helps to make SLU accessible to even greater numbers of students, regardless of their financial circumstances.”