ST. LOUIS (AP) — Recent turmoil at Saint Louis University between its longtime president and students and faculty critics has given way to hope and optimism as the Jesuit school seeks its first new leader in more than a quarter-century.
The Rev. Lawrence Biondi presided over a 42 percent student body increase, a near doubling of full-time faculty and nearly $1 billion worth of new construction since his 1987 inauguration. Critics say he also led by fear and intimidation, stifling dissent and alienating campus members who called for his resignation.
Biondi announced his retirement in May and escalated the timetable with a September 1st departure for a one-year sabbatical. SLU must now consider whether to again hire a priest for its top job or look outside religious circles for a lay leader.
Saint Louis University officials now have a timeline to move forward replacing President Lawrence Biondi. He announced today that he will retire September 1.
On May 4 Biondi told students and faculty he intended to retire, but today's announcement is the first time he has give a specific date for the move. In a statement from Biondi, he says “Just as I helped lead SLU’s transformation when I arrived here more than 25 years ago, I know it is now time for the next transformation to begin.”
Biondi is one of the longest serving presidents at an American Jesuit college or university.