ST. LOUIS - 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 Sept. 1 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.