ST. LOUIS—Saint Louis University (SLU) president Fred Pestello is stepping down as the school’s leader at the end of June 2025, according to the university.

During his 10 years at SLU, Pestello is credited with helping to break records for enrollment, fundraising and research funding. 

In the fall of 2023, SLU’s enrollment was 15,204 students, an all-time high for the school. There was also 3,183 international students enrolled, the most in school history.

“There is so much I will miss about this magnificent job,” Pestello wrote in an announcement to the SLU community Thursday. “But just as I knew 10 years ago that SLU would be my home, I know that it is time for a new leader to take the first step into a new era.” 

Pestello was the first permanent lay president for the school. Here are some accomplishments SLU says Pestello has tackled during his tenure:

  • Construction of new facilities, including the $43 million Spring Residence Hall, $71 million Grand Residence Hall, $50 million Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building, $16 million Jesuit Center, and the recently completed donor-funded $20 million O'Loughlin Family Champions Center
  • A new partnership with SSM Health that led to the opening of the $550 million SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital and Center for Specialized Medicine in 2020
  • The formation of the Taylor Geospatial Institute which was made possible Andrew Taylor, executive chairman of Enterprise Holdings
  • The creation of the Midtown St. Louis Redevelopment Corporation, which has elevated SLU’s role as a catalyst for major development projects in Midtown St. Louis

There will be a national search to identify Pestello’s successor. After stepping down, he plans to continue teaching, writing and supporting SLU and its new president as needed. 

“There has not been a single day in my presidency when I did not thank God for the joy and honor of working for and with all of you – smart, compassionate, and dedicated Jesuits, faculty, staff, students, trustees, alumni, donors and partners,” Pestello wrote in his message Thursday.