- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014

WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. (AP) - A former Catholic women’s college that has grown into an international university with campuses in nearly 60 cities kicks off its centennial celebration Friday in downtown St. Louis.

Webster University’s 100th birthday party begins with a free lunchtime event Friday at the Old Post Office Plaza. The street party features food trucks, live music and more.

Webster opened in 1915 as Loretto College in recognition of the Sisters of Loretto, a Catholic religious order. The school now draws more than 20,000 students. Nearly half of those students study at the Webster Groves campus in St. Louis County.

Webster also has campuses on U.S. military bases and programs in China, Ghana, Switzerland and Thailand, among other countries.

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