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Suwalsky Named VP for Mission, Identity


David Suwalsky, S.J., Ph.D. (Grad A&S '89, '10), chair of the Department of Theological Studies, has been named vice president for mission and identity for Saint Louis University. 

David Suwalsky, S.J.
David Suwalsky, S.J., Ph.D.

University President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., elevated the position to a vice presidency in June. Suwalsky began his new role on Wednesday, July, 1. Suwalsky was previously named to head the Office of Mission and Identity in May.

"The importance of the Office of Mission and Identity cannot be overstated, especially during this time of great uncertainty caused by the pandemic and the long overdue reckoning of our country’s history, especially in matters of racial equity and social justice," Pestello said in his June 29 message announcing Suwalsky's new role. "Making his role a vice presidential position will help solidify the importance of Mission and Identity both within SLU and in the St. Louis community."

Suwalsky, currently chair and professor of theological studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, earned his doctorate in American Studies from SLU in 2010. He holds a Master of Theology degree from in the American religious experience from Harvard University, a Master of Divinity degree from Boston College, and a master's degree in history from SLU.

His research interests include the American religious experience; Jesuit history; antebellum U.S. history; slaveholding and racial segregation in the United States.

In addition to his faculty role at SLU, Suwalsky has been active in promoting SLU's Jesuit mission and identity, including leading the University's popular "Pop-Up Pilgrimage" series.

Pestello announced the leadership transition in SLU's Office of Mission and Identity in early May. David Suwalsky succeeds Christopher Collins, S.J., at the helm of this critical office.

Learn More About SLU's Jesuit Mission and Identity

Saint Louis University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution that values academic excellence, life-changing research, compassionate health care, and a strong commitment to faith and service. Founded in 1818, the University fosters the intellectual and character development of more than 13,000 students on campuses in St. Louis and Madrid, Spain. Building on a legacy of now more than 200 years, Saint Louis University continues to move forward with an unwavering commitment to a higher purpose, a greater good.

Story by Amelia Flood, University Marketing and Communications