For 25 years, St. Louis University has been led by the Rev. Lawrence Biondi. And for nearly two centuries,
it has been led by Biondi’s Roman Catholic order, the Jesuits. Soon, it may be led by neither. Biondi recently announced that he intends to retire, and university officials are saying little about the specifics surrounding his departure. But one thing its board of 50-plus trustees will have to consider is whether to replace Biondi with another Jesuit priest. That is, if they can find one to take the job.
The “biggest challenge” for a Jesuit institution selecting a new president is that the pool of Jesuits with the right resume is rapidly shrinking, said the Rev. Thomas Gaunt, executive director of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Jesuit-run Georgetown University. “You’re looking at a pretty tiny group of guys,” he said. “And the right one might not be available.”
SLU does not make its bylaws public. But the most recent version — obtained and published online by the university’s faculty senate — makes it clear that the next president can come from outside the order that founded the school. The bylaws were amended either in 2006 or 2010 to eliminate the first sentence in Article III, Section 3: “The President shall be a member of the Society of Jesus.” Striking that requirement likely has a lot to do with simple math. The 1960s saw the peak of Jesuit membership in the U.S., with about 7,000 priests. By 1982, that number had diminished to 5,500. Today there are about 2,500 American Jesuits.
Link (here) to The Huffington Post