During the 2022-2023 academic year, Fontbonne will celebrate its centennial anniversary by honoring its past, showcasing the present and embracing its future.
Over the past 100 years, Fontbonne University has grown from a college with nine female students and nine faculty to a co-ed university offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The footprint of the campus has expanded from the five original buildings in Clayton, Missouri, as the student population has grown in size and become more diverse in composition. We educate women and men from the St. Louis metro region and beyond, many of whom are first-generation, socio-economically challenged and representative of many cultures, races and faith traditions. Despite the changing face of the institution, the mission of our university and our core values remain much the same: Within an environment promoting respect, integrity, community, excellence, justice, faith and service, we prepare students through a transformative education committed to the common good and inspire them to become global citizens who think critically and act ethically to create a more just world.
Fontbonne’s centennial year will kickoff with the celebration of the Mass by Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski in our chapel on September 16. The next day, Fontbonne’s sprint football team will play its inaugural game as a member of the newly formed Midwest Sprint Football League. The Windsor Herald will travel from London to present the university with its new crest and seal during Academic Convocation on September 22. This year’s Carondelet lecture will be delivered by Fr. Dennis Holtschneider, the president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, on October 27. While the complete list of events and activities is too long to include here, please visit our website to see a calendar of the planned centennial events. All are welcome.
At the heart of our university’s celebration are our relationship with our founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, and our Catholic identity. The year is intended to spotlight the university’s founding by and continuing relationship with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. To that end, faculty, staff, students and alumni will be offered the opportunity to participate in one of four scheduled tours of the Motherhouse and then to enjoy a meal with the CSJs. The Thanksgiving Mass on November 16 will also be offered in the Motherhouse chapel. As part of a focus on our Catholic identity, Fontbonne will host a volume of the Saint John’s Bible, the first illuminated and handwritten Bible produced by Benedictine monks since Gutenberg’s printing press.
A milestone anniversary provides an opportunity for a look into the past as well as a chance to imagine the future. As I envision Fontbonne University in the next century of its existence, I am certain that in the future—as has been true in the past—there will be many changes, perhaps more than anyone can imagine. Yet as certain as I am that changes will take place, I am equally convinced that Fontbonne’s emphasis on our Catholic identity, on serving the dear neighbor in need without distinction, and on providing an excellent education with a strong liberal arts foundation will remain. These tenets have been central to Fontbonne’s existence since its beginning 100 years ago. May God continue to bless Fontbonne, our founding congregation—the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, and those who work, live and study on our campus. Happy 100th, Fontbonne!