Saint Louis University, a private university under Catholic and Jesuit auspices, traces its history to 1818; it received its charter as Saint Louis University in 1832, becoming the first university established west of the Mississippi River in the United States of America.
The Madrid Campus dates from a modest study abroad program launched by Raymond L. Sullivant, S.J. in the 1960s. Its success led Father Sullivant to offer classes in conjunction with the University of Comillas and then to establish an independent, permanent program, with its administrative offices and classrooms located between Madrid’s Complutense University and the city center in 1967. Shortly thereafter, a number of Spanish students, attracted to the University’s liberal arts curriculum, enrolled in classes, and within a decade the university was home to hundreds of students. Its program expanded, providing a full range of courses and a library, which permitted Spanish and European students to complete the first two years of their undergraduate studies in Madrid.
Its distinct position, as the American Jesuit university in Spain, prompted Saint Louis University to build a campus. In 1990, it purchased what now stand as Padre Rubio and Padre Arrupe Halls, and, in 1996, it was the first U.S. university to receive official recognition from the Consejería de Educación y Cultura, Madrid’s higher education authority. While continuing to host study abroad students and to provide opportunities for students from around the world to begin their studies in Madrid, the campus was accredited to offer degree programs that reflect its international profile, including international business, communication, political science, economics, English and Spanish. Today, Saint Louis University is recognized as a center of international education in Spain, committed to the ideals of service and leadership that the University, its students, faculty and staff have upheld since 1818.