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New Media Center Provides New Possibilities

Dedicated Space for Media Clubs to Cultivate Creativity, Collaboration

In January, SLUH opened the new Claude Heithaus, SJ 1916 Media Center in renovated space that formerly housed the academic administration (now in the new Dill Center). The new Media Center is appropriately in the heart of the main building to serve as a laboratory for student discovery and productivity.

The renovated, dynamic space will enable all student media organizations and clubs — Gadfly, Insignis Podcast, Photography Club, Prep News, Sisyphus, SLUH Sports Network, SLUH Student Media and Yearbook Club — to collaborate and create in a synergistic environment. It features dedicated space for each individual club, as well as a large, open collaboration area, a conference room and production studio.

“Our club finally has a designated area to meet,” says Jackson Dukaska ’24 Co-President of SLUH Student Media. “For the last two years we’ve been meeting all around school, but now with our office, we have a room that we can call our own space.”

“I am most looking forward to working with other creative clubs at SLUH within the Media Center,” says Luke Duffy ’23, Prep News Editor in Chief. “All of the media-related clubs at SLUH will be centrally located and connected with the common space, making it easier for us to collaborate on various projects.”

“The pursuit of excellence was our guiding principle while designing and building the new media center," says Ryan Doyle, digital media specialist and SLUH Student Media moderator who led the project with David Callon, English teacher and Gadfly moderator, in collaboration with other club moderators.

“We recognized that students in multimedia clubs were in need of more space and updated technology.

“We also felt a responsibility to provide the resources and training to our media-inclined Jr. Bills to build the foundation to follow in the footsteps of some of our successful alumni in the media arts.”


An Ignatian-Inspired Creator and Educator

Fr. Heithaus, a 1916 graduate of SLUH (known then as Loyola Hall, one of three high schools at Saint Louis University) was an avid communicator who founded the University News at SLU. He used the power of the pulpit to pursue truth and justice, to serve the common good, and to reveal the dignity of all people. His legacy endures as a beacon of Gospel values.

Claude Heithaus joined the Jesuits after graduating in 1916 from St. Louis University High (known then as Loyola Hall, one of three high
schools at SLU). He studied anthropology at the University of London and eventually became a professor at SLU.

In 1943, the leadership at SLU fended off proponents of racial integration with calls for delay and careful attention to the desires (and prejudices) of white alumni and parents. Heithaus blasted through this moral ambivalence with an impassioned sermon denouncing racism and urging integration of the university. On February 11, 1944, at a student mass at St. Francis Xavier (College) Church, Heithaus took a stand for justice with words that were also published in the University News that same day.

“It is a surprising and rather bewildering fact, that in what concerns justice for the Negro, the Mohammedans and the atheists are more Christ-like than many Christians,” Heithaus said. “The followers of Mohammed and of Lenin make no distinction of color; but to some followers of Christ, the color of a man’s skin makes all the difference in the world.”

Heithaus also shared his text with the local press, and it was published in Catholic newspapers around the country, though not in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. His stance had a tangible and speedy effect: SLU did admit five African Americans the following term, becoming the first university in the state to integrate, and the first university in a former slave state to do so.

That fall, however, Heithaus, faculty sponsor of the University News, refused to print a notice from the president of the university that black students would not be allowed to attend the prom. His disobedience resulted in his banishment from SLU for a number of years.

Claude Heithaus, SJ was posthumously honored by St. Louis University High with the Backer Award in 2009.

(Excerpt from the SLUH Bicentennial book To God with Gratitude, written by Frank Kovark ‘94.)


INSIGNIS in the Spotlight

The SLUH Insignis podcast now offers a special “Spotlight” section on the website, allowing you to browse for brief interviews from more than 30 members of our school community — one fascinating guest at a time.

Insignis, hosted by Assistant Principal for Mission Jim Linhares (pictured), features lively interviews with members of our school community engaged in a variety of roles and fascinating projects "down the hall, across the metro area and around the world" in support of the school mission. Visit sluh.org/insignis.