Bicentennial of the Billikens


On Saturday September 23rd, with approximately six thousand people present at the first Catholic mass at the Saint Louis Gateway Arch, Saint Louis University began its 200th anniversary celebration. The mass was celebrated by Archbishop Robert J. Carlson with principle concelebrant Ron Mercier, SJ, Provincial of the Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus. As President Fred P. Pestello, PhD noted in a SLU press release, “The significance of the Archbishop of St. Louis presiding over the bicentennial Mass held on the arch grounds and the provincial of the Jesuits’ Central and Southern Province concelebrating cannot be overstated.” The event featured food trucks, music, and ended with a firework show.

This is just the first event in a yearlong celebration. Saint Louis University has committed to providing over 1.75 million hours of service this year. Five research projects were selected and will be presented in a symposium in the spring of 2018. The topics all deal with various social justice themes, including a study of “race, Catholicism, and Saint Louis” by Heidi Ardizzone of American Studies. Additionally, Dolores M. Byrnes has written and published Always at the Frontiers: Saint Louis University 1818-2018 which explores the history of SLU in six different eras. This book is available to be purchased.

Want to get more involved in the Saint Louis University bicentennial? As the year continues, Saint Louis University is encouraging proposals for ideas on how to celebrate and commemorate the bicentennial. Continue to follow the Events Page on SLU’s website as events are added and updated.

As their website describes, "founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic universities. SLU, which also has a campus in Madrid, Spain, is recognized for world-class academics, life-changing researchcompassionate health care, and a strong commitment to faith and service."

All photos and video material is courtesy of Saint Louis University.