New sustainability center at Saint Louis U. gets $5M grant

April 16, 2010
ST. LOUIS, MO, April 16, 2010 -- Saint Louis University announced a $5 million grant from the Alberici Foundation to establish the new Center for Sustainability -- a first for the nation's 28 Jesuit colleges and universities...

ST. LOUIS, MO, April 16, 2010 -- Saint Louis University today announced a $5 million grant from the Alberici Foundation to establish the new Center for Sustainability -- a first for the nation's 28 Jesuit colleges and universities.

"The Alberici family has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to St. Louis, and the Alberici Corporation is recognized throughout the country as a leader in green building practices," said University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J. "By combining these passions into one very generous gift, the Alberici Foundation has positioned SLU to become one of the nation's leaders in the field of sustainability."

SLU's Center for Sustainability will be guided by an overarching mission to develop creative, collaborative solutions to pressing environmental challenges facing society today. With Midtown St. Louis as its home base, the center will have a special focus on sustainability issues in urban areas.

One of the primary ways the center will achieve its mission is by educating the next generation of leaders in sustainability. Starting in fall 2010, the center will offer a master's degree in sustainability -- the first of its kind in the Midwest.

Students in the interdisciplinary two-year program will explore advanced green practices in business, engineering and urban planning. They will be well prepared for success in one of the fastest growing industries in the United States.

"With millions of new sustainability-related jobs on the horizon, our innovative degree program couldn't come at a more opportune time," said Manoj Patankar, Ph.D., interim vice president for SLU's Frost Campus.

The Center for Sustainability also will seek to foster discovery through groundbreaking research. Of the $5 million Alberici grant, $1 million has been directed to create the Alberici Fund for Innovation in Sustainability, a seed grant program to grow green-related research projects.

"SLU is already spearheading innovations in many critical areas of sustainability," said Raymond Tait, Ph.D., SLU's vice president for research. "This new center will strengthen those efforts and spur even more exciting breakthroughs."

Another priority for the Center for Sustainability is public education. Twice a year, the center will offer "Energy Matters," a six-week lecture series for business professionals looking to advance their knowledge of energy efficiency and sustainability. And on April 21, the center will host its first "Greenovation Place," a daylong tradeshow that will culminate with an open forum and expert panel. Annual conferences on sustainability also are planned.

The Center for Sustainability at Saint Louis University is a collaborative effort between SLU's College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education and Public Service, John Cook School of Business, and Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology -- making it a University-wide effort. Additional collaborations are planned with other SLU colleges and schools as the center expands its reach.

"The center will cross traditional boundaries, uniting a multidisciplinary team of researchers, professors and students in a singular mission: making the world a better, more sustainable place," Biondi said.

The Alberici grant does much more than lay the foundation for the new Center for Sustainability. Part of the grant has been directed toward a $1.5 million endowment to support the center's regular operations well into the future. The University will conduct a national search for a recognized expert in the field of sustainability to direct the new center. An advisory board of sustainability leaders from academia, business and the community also will be formed to offer insight and expertise. For more information, visit

About Saint Louis University
Saint Louis University is a Catholic, Jesuit university ranked among the top research institutions in the nation. The University fosters the intellectual and character development of more than 13,000 students. Founded in 1818, it is the oldest university west of the Mississippi and the second oldest Jesuit university in the United States. Through teaching, research, health care and community service, Saint Louis University has provided one-of-a-kind education, leadership and service for nearly two centuries.

About the Alberici Corporation
Founded in 1918, the Alberici Corporation is an employee-owned corporate parent of all Alberici Enterprises. The firm has its corporate offices in one of the highest rated LEED(r) Platinum buildings in the world. The St. Louis-based company has regional offices in Detroit, Atlanta and Ontario. Alberici's sustainable consulting division, Vertegy, has helped 23 projects achieve LEED Certification, four at the Platinum level. About the Alberici Foundation The Alberici Foundation makes grants reflecting the charitable interests of the Alberici family and corporation. It is a supporting foundation of the Greater St. Louis Community Foundation.

About the Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation
The Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation has been helping St. Louisans put charitable dollars to work addressing the issues most important to them since 1915. With unwavering objectivity, a renowned technical discipline and a commitment to working collaboratively with donors, their advisors, and the nonprofits they support, the foundation is dedicated to facilitating and increasing charitable giving in this region and across the nation. The foundation has more than 400 individual charitable funds that total $170 million in assets and distribute over $17 million in grants annually. Each fund represents a unique charitable giving partnership with an individual, family or business.