Welcomed by Father Damien de Veuster, SS. CC. (now Saint Damien of Molokai) (who completed his studies at College of Ahuimanu in 1864), German-born, Brother Bertram Gabriel Bellinghausen, S.M., arrived in our islands in 1883 with seven other Brothers of the Society of Mary (Marianists) to help establish (if not “cement”) Catholic Education in Hawaii. He was the first Principal (Director) of Saint Louis College, then located at Kamakela on Nuuanu Stream. During his 22 years in Hawaii, Brother Bertram was exceptionally passionate about three things: the continued success and stability of Saint Louis College and its students; photography (having produced over 800 glass plate images and over 2,000 photographs) and; the establishment of an Alumni Association to insure continued support of Saint Louis College by its proud graduates. His perseverance and single-mindedness helped form the Saint Louis Alumni Association (“SLAA”) which was formally incorporated on June 27, 1907, only a few short years after Brother Bertram’s departure from our Islands.
James L. Holt (1870-1936), the first President of SLAA, began Brother Bertram’s “vision” (and by 1907, a reality) with approximately 200 charter members. Since then, and for over 100 years following the 1938 opening of Dreier Manor at Isenberg and King streets (rebuilt into a Clubhouse in 1954), with a membership now ten times larger than its founding fathers, SLAA continues its original and evolving mission under the watchful eyes of a nine member Board of Directors, eight dedicated Standing and several other Special Committees and behind it all, a passionate membership which is part of one ‘Ohana, one energy, one purpose and which is forever Red & Blue.