In 1924, Anna Backer wanted to remember her husband George, who was an 1869 graduate of SLUH (formerly known as St. Louis Academy), in a lasting way. In his memory, she gave the school a new facility at its current location on Oakland Avenue.
Anna then, after her death in 1936, left the remainder of her estate to SLUH. Archbishop Glennon announced at the time that her gift of $500,000 was the largest gift to Catholic education in the history of St. Louis.
The value of this gift is equivalent to $83.5 million in today's dollars*.
Training of the Soul
In Anna's eulogy, Fr. William Robison, S.J., said, "She grasped the oft-forgotten truth that sound education means the training of the soul, the building of a character, the fashioning of a man, the equipping of youth to become worthy citizens of their earthly country, without ever ceasing to be faithful members to that eternal City of God, and in this realization she made her splendid gift of St. Louis University High School."
Today, the Backer Memorial stands as a living tribute and an inspiring model of generosity. All SLUH alumni have benefited to some degree from the Backer Family, particularly through scholarship assistance. The Backers have provided SLUH with needed support for many years; however, the school has long since outgrown the ability of the Backer Fund alone to sustain its level of financial assistance.
How You Can Help
SLUH's needs, like those of every leading institution, have grown significantly in the past several decades. SLUH relies on the generosity of its alumni and benefactors to maintain its rich tradition. Planned giving continues to be an excellent way to preserve this legacy for future generations of students.
To learn how you can set up a gift from your will or estate, click here.
*Utilizing the relative share of GDP