La Salle Extension University

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La Salle Extension University (LSEU[1]), also styled as LaSalle Extension University,[2] was a nationally accredited private university based in Chicago, Illinois. Although the school offered resident educational programs in classes and seminars their primary mode of delivery was by way of distance learning. LSEU was in operation from 1908 until 1982.[3]


La Salle Extension University was founded by Jesse Grant Chapline in 1908, and was incorporated under the laws of the State of Illinois. It was originally located at 4046 S. Michigan Avenue (41st Street & Michigan).[4] Early courses were business-oriented and included accounting and law.[5] By 1911, LSEU was advertising that over 10,000 students had enrolled.[6]

The university was an early pioneer in distance learning. LSEU was accredited by the National Home Study Council and the State of Illinois to grant academic degrees for completion of distance study programs.[7][8] LSEU focused on business and vocational training,[9] offering Associate's degrees and Bachelor's degrees, as well as a Bachelor of Laws degree during much of its operation.[10]

In 1937, the Federal Trade Commission ordered that LSEU cease and desist from representing that the school was a university.[11] The FTC found that "while many of the respondent's courses of instruction were of college grade, the institution itself was not a university and did not possess the qualities and attributes considered by educators and the public generally as requisites necessary to be possessed by an institution to make it a university or to entitle it to be designated as such."[12] The restrictions were eased a year later.[13]

In 1944, LSEU relocated its administrative offices to the Chicago Loop at 417 S. Dearborn Street.[14]


Crowell-Collier Publishing Company acquired Macmillan Company in 1960.[15] In 1961, Crowell-Collier acquired LSEU.[16][17][18]

LSEU enrolled more than 100,000 students in 1969 and received approximately $50,000,000 in gross revenue.[19][20] In 1969, Crowell, Collier Macmillan, Inc. and other corporations with distance learning subsidiaries filed suit against the National Home Study Council for monopoly and restraint of trade.[21]

Later years[edit]

In the university's later years, the school became known for its aggressive advertising practices.[22] Most notable was the university's use of advertising on paraphernalia such as matchbooks, ink pens and pencils and in various types of magazines, with a grinning graduate and the famous headline "Look who's smiling now!"[23]

LSEU was involved in several lawsuits and counter-suits by the Federal Trade Commission over the law degree it advertised. In 1973, La Salle Extension University was charged by FTC (D. 5907) for "involving misrepresentations about obtaining law degrees through a correspondence course."[24] FTC ordered that the university be required to include a disclaimer in advertisements for its law distance program that read: "No state accepts any law home study course, including La Salle's, as sufficient education to qualify for admission to practice law."[25] La Salle Extension University closed its law school program in 1980 following the litigation involving the FTC.[26]

After closure[edit]

After it closed, LSEU turned over records to the Illinois State Board of Education.[27] LSEU resources were absorbed into Macmillan Publishing Company, which was later taken over by Robert Maxwell in 1989.[28] Following bankruptcy, the assets were sold to Paramount Communications Inc. in 1994.[29] They eventually became part of Simon & Schuster in 1994. Pearson acquired the Macmillan name in America since 1998, following its purchase of the Simon & Schuster educational and professional group (which included various Macmillan properties).[30] Holtzbrinck purchased it from them in 2001.[31]


Founder Jesse Grant Chapline recruited a number of prominent figures to be involved in the school, including Adlai E. Stevenson I.[32]

La Salle Extension University was innovative for the time in providing many poor, working-class, women, and ethnic minorities educational opportunities. Several of its graduates have gone on to make significant contributions, especially in the fields of law, business, accounting, marketing and social work. Alumni have included figures in state and local political administrations, and a spectrum of US military officials. Alumni include KFC founder Harland Sanders, governors Harold J. Arthur and Eurith D. Rivers, United States Senator Craig L. Thomas, U.S. Representatives John S. Gibson and William T. Granahan, and a number of prominent African American leaders, including Arthur Fletcher, Jessie M. Rattley, and Gertrude Rush.


  1. ^ De Sola, Ralph (1981). Abbreviations dictionary. Elsevier, ISBN 978-0-444-00380-5
  2. ^ The university styled its name as both "La Salle" and "LaSalle" in print media. [1][2][3]
  3. ^ Bear J, Bear MP (1995). Bears' guide to earning college degrees nontraditionally. C & B Pub., ISBN 978-0-9629312-3-9 p. 293.
  4. ^ Staff report (September 5, 1944). School Today! War Cuts High Classes, Adds to Air Training. Lower Grades Gain. Chicago Tribune
  5. ^ MacClintock, Samuel (May 1910). Law Instruction in the La Salle Extension University. The American Law School Review, volume 2, No. 9, pp. 411-413.
  6. ^ Advertising section (May 1911) The Cosmopolitan, Volume 50, No. 6, p. 22
  7. ^ Poteet, G. Howard (November 14, 1976). Schools With a Special Delivery. New York Times
  8. ^ Haire Publishing Co. (1951). Accreditation for Private Business Schools. Journal of business education, Volume 26, p. 33.
  9. ^ Winter, Christine (March 19, 1975). Can vocational schools pay off on their promises? Chicago Tribune
  10. ^ Staff report (January 21, 1934). Law course benefit cited. Los Angeles Times
  11. ^ Staff report (May 25, 1937). F. T. C. Acts Against School. New York Times
  12. ^ Annual Report of the Federal Trade Commission for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1937. p. 63
  13. ^ Staff report (May 24, 1938). La Salle Ruling Eased. New York Times
  14. ^ Chase, Al (May 16, 1944). La Salle U. Buys Loop Building; To Move in June. Chicago Tribune
  15. ^ Talese, Gay (June 30, 1960). Crowell-Collier Is Buying Control of Macmillan; Merger Goal Is Bigger Share of Textbook Market -- No Policy Changes Planned. New York Times
  16. ^ Staff report (May 12, 1961). Crowell-Collier Bids for School; Publisher Seeks Tenders of La Salle Extension Stock. New York Times
  17. ^ Staff report (April 5, 1962). Crowell Buying Brentano's, N. Y. Book Retailer. Chicago Daily Tribune
  18. ^ Fowle, Farnsworth (April 5, 1962). Crowell-Collier Buys Brentano's And Will Run It as Subsidiary; Brentano's, Dealers in Books--Leather-Bound to Paper-Backed. New York Times
  19. ^ (May 1972). Developing Protection for the Consumer of Future Services. Columbia Law Review, Vol. 72, No. 5, pp. 926-949.
  20. ^ Staff report (December 7, 1969). Major Concerns Finding Profits in Vocational Teaching. New York Times
  21. ^ Raymont, Henry (December 16, 1969). Correspondence Schools Sue Accrediting Agency. New York Times
  22. ^ Rugaber, Walter (May 31, 1970). Boom in Mail-Order Schooling Marked by Dubious Practices; Mail Order Schooling Beset by Problems. New York Times
  23. ^ Scan of the "Look Who's Smiling Now!" ad, from via
  24. ^ Annual Report of the Federal Trade Commission for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1973.
  25. ^ O'Connor, Meg (September 18, 1980). FTC orders truth in college's ads. Chicago Tribune
  26. ^ LaSalle Extension University & Katharine Gibbs School v. Federal Trade Commission et al.," 627 F.2d. 481 (DC Cir. 1980).
  27. ^ Illinois State Board of Education list of Closed Schools Archived 2010-02-15 at the Wayback Machine, Accessed 2009-12-06
  28. ^ McDowell, Edwin (May 12, 1989). The Media Business; Scribner Name and Store Are Sold to B. Dalton. New York Times
  29. ^ Staff report (Mar 1, 1994). Macmilllan Deal Closes. New York Times
  30. ^ Milliot, Jim (October 9, 2007). Holtzbrinck's U.S. Arm Now Macmillan. Publishers Weekly
  31. ^ Staff report (February 23, 2001). Holtzbrinck shows Macmillan sales rise. Bookseller
  32. ^ Staff report (March 2, 1909). Stevenson to Quit Law; Former Vice President Will Aid La Salle Extension University. New York Times

Coordinates: 41°52′34.9″N 87°37′44.3″W / 41.876361°N 87.628972°W / 41.876361; -87.628972