Saint Louis University Celebrates Retirement of Jeff Fowler – Saint Louis University


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“Move the needle.” 
That has been a mantra for Jeff Fowler during his more than two decades as a leader at Saint Louis University. In June, SLU’s vice president for marketing and communications (Marcom) retires as the longest-serving full-time member of the University’s senior leadership team. 
“In the nearly eight years of my tenure as president, Jeff and I have worked closely on a number of issues,” said University President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D. “Even in the most difficult of times, Jeff is calm, thoughtful, focused and maintains a sense of humor. I value our collaboration, and I have deep respect for Jeff’s integrity, loyalty and love for Saint Louis University. We are a better University for his contributions.”
In various roles, Fowler has overseen centralized marketing and communications functions at SLU for nearly two decades. And he has certainly moved the needle during that time, including refreshing the University’s brand identity — “Higher purpose. Greater good.” — and launching a new SLU website, among many other advancements.
“Jeff was miraculously able to unify the brand across the entire institution,” said University Trustee Robert N. Fox (Grad CSB ’76), the founding chair of the Marketing and Branding Committee of the Board. “He was instrumental in bringing the University into the 21st-century, high-tech world of social media and instantaneous communications across multiple platforms.”
Following a 20-year career in broadcast journalism, Fowler joined SLU in 2000 as director of media relations, a newly created role in the University’s advancement division that saw him overseeing public relations activities for SLU’s north campus.
Fowler was promoted to associate vice president for marketing and communications in 2003. After six successful years as AVP — including the award-winning Be a Billiken student recruitment campaign — Fowler was tapped to serve as the vice president for advancement.
“Jeff has become a very good friend and colleague,” said Vice President for Development Sheila Manion. “He is my go-to person for just about everything at SLU, and I trust him implicitly. Jeff is always thinking about what is best for this University, and he is one of SLU’s all-time greats.”
In 2014, Pestello decided to realign the functions of advancement into two distinct divisions at the University: a Development Division, led by Manion, and a Marketing and Communications Division, led by Fowler.
Returning to a world he had called home for more than 30 years, Fowler could entirely focus his time and energy on numerous high-profile branding initiatives, including a complete reimagining of two of SLU’s most enduring symbols: the University fleur-de-lis and the Billiken.
“Literally, everywhere you look at SLU, Jeff has made an impact,” said Laura Geiser (A&S ’90, Grad ’92), SLU’s assistant vice president for brand management. “Jeff truly transformed our marketing and communications efforts. And he did it by being open to fresh ideas and always learning new things. I am so sorry to see him retire, but he definitely has primed us for the next chapter of success.”
As much as Fowler will be noted for his efforts to elevate SLU’s brand and reputation — locally and nationally — his colleagues say he also will be remembered as a collaborative leader who sought to build consensus among campus stakeholders.
“Jeff is truly a servant leader — humble, caring, inclusive and charismatic,” Trustee Fox said. “It has been a pleasure to work with Jeff and his team, and I cannot wait to see what comes next in his ever-evolving world.”
When asked how colleagues might honor his retirement, Fowler requested that contributions be made to SLU’s Student Mental Health Support Fund, which helps ensure that funding is available to continue increasing mental health resources for students. To make a gift, visit the alumni and donors website.