Fred Pestello, President
As President, Dr. Pestello oversees one of the nation’s leading Jesuit research universities with nearly 13,000 students, more than 7,000 employees, an annual operating budget of more than $975 million, and an endowment of $1.3 billion.
Dr. Pestello has galvanized the University community around a campus-wide effort to establish a new vision to be a global Jesuit university that is mission-focused, student and patient-centered, and research-driven, and is working with the people of St. Louis to reimagine, transform, and unify the city.
Under his leadership, SLU has created a comprehensive research strategy and areas of national eminence, developed the first University-wide core curriculum, opened two new residence halls, built a 90,000 square-foot Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building, established a new doctors’ office building, formed a historic partnership with leading Catholic health care provider, SSM Health, which includes construction of a new $550 million hospital and outpatient care center opening this fall, and strengthened SLU’s longstanding commitment to diversity and community engagement through the development and consistent focus on the Clock Tower Accords.
During Dr. Pestello’s tenure, the University has experienced its two most successful fundraising years in its more than 200-year history, for a combined total of over $220 million, and has raised $400 million on the campaign goal of $500 million. This includes the largest gift in SLU history, $50 million dollars from Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield.
As a graduate of a Jesuit University himself, Dr. Pestello understands firsthand the promise of an education guided by the Society of Jesus and its rigorous, justice-oriented, educational mission.
Dr. Pestello currently serves on the board of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities and is a former member of the Executive Committee of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. In St. Louis, he serves on the boards of Civic Progress, the Cortex Innovation Community, and Bi-State Development. He is also a founding member of the board of the Foundation for the Pontifical Institute of Theology at Posillipo in Italy.
Dr. Pestello is the only person to be elected as the first lay president of two U.S. Jesuit institutions. He joined SLU after serving six years as president of Le Moyne College, achieving record-breaking levels of enrollment, endowment, and campus construction. Prior to that appointment, Pestello was a faculty member, department chair, associate dean, and provost and senior vice president for educational affairs during his 25-year career at the University of Dayton.
Dr. Pestello earned his bachelor’s degree at John Carroll University and completed his graduate work in sociology at the University of Akron.