As president, Pestello oversees one of the nation's leading Jesuit research universities with nearly 13,000 students, more than 7,000 employees, an annual operating budget of more than $775 million, and an endowment of $1.1 billion.

SLU accomplishments during Pestello's tenure include a $115 investment in student housing and a historic partnership with SSM Health that includes the building of a $550 million hospital and outpatient facility at the SLU Medical Center. During his tenure, SLU has enrolled its most talented first-year class. Pestello actively sustains a campus-wide focus on inclusivity, having peacefully resolved a major campus protest in fall 2014.

Pestello serves on the boards of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities and the Executive Committee of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. In St. Louis, he serves on the boards of Civic Progress and the Cortex Innovation Community. He is a founding member of the board of the Foundation for the Pontifical Institute of Theology at Posillipo in Italy.

Pestello is the only person to be elected as the first lay president of two U.S. Jesuit institutions. He joined SLU after serving six years as president of Le Moyne College, achieving record-breaking levels of enrollment, endowment, and campus construction. Prior to that appointment, Pestello was faculty member, department chair, associate dean and provost, and senior vice president for Educational Affairs during his 25-year career at University of Dayton.

Pestello earned his bachelor's degree at John Carroll University and completed his graduate work in sociology at the University of Akron.