Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Mo. is a Jesuit, Catholic university ranked among the top research institutions in the nation. Founded in 1818, it is the oldest university west of the Mississippi and the second oldest Jesuit university in the United States. Several colleges and schools make up the University campus. The Madrid campus was established in 1969. The first freestanding campus operated by an American University in Europe, this campus is recognized by Spain's higher education authority as an official foreign university, the first U.S. institution to hold this endorsement.