La Salle University
|Latin: Universitas La Salliana|
Motto in English
|Roman Catholic (Lasallian)|
|Location||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
|Campus||Urban, 130 acres (526,091.3 m2)|
|Colors||Blue and Gold
|Athletics||NCAA Division I – Atlantic 10
Philadelphia Big 5
La Salle University is a private, co-educational, Roman Catholic university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Named for St. Jean-Baptiste de La Salle, the university was founded in 1863 by the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. The university offers traditional, online, and hybrid courses and programs. The university is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church through the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
- 1 History
- 2 Governance
- 3 Academics
- 4 Athletics
- 5 Campus
- 6 Student life
- 7 Expansion and Master Plan
- 8 Notable alumni
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
La Salle College was founded in March 1863 as an all-male college by Brother Teliow and Archbishop James Wood of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. It was first located at St. Michael's Parish on N. 2nd Street in the Olde Kensington section of Philadelphia. La Salle soon moved to the building vacated by St. Joseph's College at 1234 Filbert Street in Center City, Philadelphia. In 1886, due to the development of the Center City district, La Salle moved to a third location, the former mansion of Michael Bouvier, the great-great-grandfather of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, at 1240 North Broad Street. Due to space constraints, in 1930 La Salle moved to its current campus at the intersection of 20th Street and Olney Avenue in the Logan neighborhood of the city. The new location had a suburban feel with ample land, but was linked to the city by trolleys and the newly constructed Broad Street Subway.
The 1930s proved to be a tumultuous decade for La Salle, which was nearly bankrupt after being unable to sell the 1240 North Broad Street property. The main academic building on campus, College Hall was unable to be finished due to a lack of funds, and the college nearly closed in the late 1930s. The college's closing was prevented by a 75th Anniversary Fund Drive in 1938, spearheaded by Philadelphia businessman John McCarthy. Funds raised from this drive also enabled La Salle to purchase a tract of land to the east of 19th Street, where Philadelphia had intended to build a city college.
La Salle nearly closed again due to a lack of students during World War II, and the football team was disbanded due to a lack of players, but the college experienced a period of growth in the late 1940s. Several new buildings were constructed in the 1940s and 1950s, including a new library, student union, and a science building. It was also during this time that the first student residence halls were constructed at La Salle, mostly on land purchased from the former Belfield Country Club. Additional student housing was provided by purchasing or renting local homes, such as the house known as "The Mansion", on David and Logan Blain's Belfield Estate. During the 1960s, the high school section moved out due to the lack of space after many years of sharing the same campus with the College.
La Salle admitted women to its regular classes in 1970, becoming a fully co-educational institution. A year later, La Salle opened Olney Hall, its main academic building. It also continued to expand its property throughout the 1970s and 1980s, buying land along Chew Avenue in the Germantown section of the city, along with the Belfield Estate in 1984, and to the south of main-campus, the orphanage run by the Sisters of St. Basil the Great. It was also during this era, in 1984, that La Salle was granted University status. In 2007, La Salle acquired the former Germantown Hospital, now West Campus, and constructed The Shoppes at La Salle shopping center across the street in 2008. The construction of the Shoppes at La Salle and addition of The Fresh Grocer ended a decades-long food desert in Germantown.
In October 2015, La Salle inaugurated its first lay person and first woman president, Dr. Colleen Hanycz, former president of Brescia University College. In 2015, Hanycz led consolidation and prioritization efforts, ultimately firing a couple dozen prominent staff members and administrators. The university even cut six undergraduate majors, which were mostly in the foreign language department. However, just a year after her arrival, the school stated that it would decrease tuition by 29 percent. The fall of 2016, according to Hanycz, is the beginning of a "renaissance" at the university, citing major advancements in college rankings and improvements on and off campus. The reasoning for the significant tuition cut was to make La Salle more attractive and accessible for students from more diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.
The University is led by a Board of Trustees headed by a President and Chairman. The President serves one or more 5–year terms. As of 2015[update], there have been 29 Presidents. The current President is Colleen M. Hanycz who replaced James P. Gallagher. As of 2015[update], the Chairman is Stephen T. Zarrilli. Students are represented through a democratically elected student government. The organization sits on numerous committees led by staff and administrators. The student government is a founding member of the American Student Government Association.
La Salle offers undergraduate concentrations in nearly 60 academic areas within its College of Professional and Continuing Studies and its three Schools: Arts & Sciences, Business Administration, and Nursing & Health Sciences. Communication, Nursing, and Education are the largest majors at La Salle. Courses in the programs may be offered in traditional, online, or hybrid formats. The student-faculty ratio at La Salle University is 12:1, and the school has 43.3 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. The most popular majors at La Salle University include: Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse, Marketing/Marketing Management, General, Health and Wellness, General and Psychology, General. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 80 percent.
Several new and distinctive high-tech majors include Integrated Science, Business and Technology (ISBT) and Digital Arts and Multimedia Design (DArt). The College of Professional and Continuing Studies offers three accelerated cohort programs in Business Administration, Corporate Communication, and Organizational Leadership.
The university also offers master's degrees and doctorate degrees in several courses of study. Every undergraduate, regardless of school or major, must complete a strict Core curriculum in order to graduate. Offering sustained study in a broad range of disciplines, the Core curriculum provides students with an opportunity to build a strong educational foundation for the future. Guided by La Salle's heritage as a Catholic university, the core curriculum reflects La Salle's strong commitment to the interdependence of intellectual and spiritual growth. Its aim is to help students find an engaging living as part of an engaged life. As future competitors in a rapidly re-forming world, students need intellectual resources that keep pace with current innovations; as future innovators, students need spiritual resources that guide human beings towards humane reforms.
Undergraduates must complete the three facets of the Special Core Programs, as well as courses within the three Course Objectives.
Special Core Programs
The Special Core Programs consists of the Doubles Program, First Year Odyssey, and Understanding at Home and Abroad.
- In the Doubles Program, all students are required to enroll in a "Double" during their freshman year. Doubles are thematically linked Core courses in different disciplines. In the Doubles program, students will explore some or all of the topics in these courses under the guidance of two professors. A sense of academic and social community forms.
- The First Year Odyssey is a one-credit program, which introduces students to La Salle University and the city of Philadelphia through activities such as field trips and campus wide programs. Students participate in the First Year Odyssey as part of designated courses or in special First Year Odyssey sections.
- Understanding at Home and Abroad refers to fostering the Christian Brothers' ideals of community, social justice, and compassionate understanding across barriers dividing human beings. Students are required to enroll in one course in the Academic Bulletin designated by the symbol of a "house" (Understanding at Home) and one course designated by the symbol of a "plane" (Understanding Abroad). Some students may fulfill the Understanding at Home or Understanding Abroad requirement through an independent project with the approval of the Department Chair and the Core Director. Faculty and staff will mentor a limited number of such projects.
The Course Objectives consist of the Powers, Frameworks of Scientific Understanding, and Patterns of Meaning.
- Powers refers to competencies that enable students to learn, to think, and to communicate. With this course work, students will emerge from the core curriculum possessing a strong set of skills in reading, writing, oral communication, and mathematics. They will also learn how to use computer technology to aid their work in each of these areas. These competencies will be integrated in courses in all areas of the Core, but will be taught directly in courses in writing, public speaking, mathematics, and computer science.
- Frameworks of Scientific Understanding refers to concepts and methods learned in courses in the natural and social sciences. In these courses students will become familiar with the scientific method and sharpen their understanding of the natural processes and the social developments, which shape the world in which we live. The "Frameworks of Scientific Understanding" category includes courses in economics, political science, psychology, sociology, biology, chemistry, geology, and physics.
- Patterns of Meaning refers to a set of capacities students must acquire to engage the moral, aesthetic, and spiritual significance of human events and achievements. Courses in the humanities (religion, philosophy, literature, history, fine arts and foreign languages) will enable students to develop these capacities.
All courses in the core may be counted towards any minor or major barring exclusions by the academic departments sponsoring the minor or major. To complete the Core requirements, most School of Arts and Sciences majors must complete a maximum of 19 courses; School of Business Administration majors, a maximum of 16 courses; and School of Nursing and Health Sciences majors, a maximum of 15 courses.
Although the university's annual tuition price tag was $39,800 per year, the average student received about $24,205 in financial aid. 98% of incoming students received grants or scholarships. La Salle University offered more grant aid and student loan aid to incoming freshmen than both the average private not-for-profit 4 year college in Pennsylvania and the average college in Pennsylvania. La Salle is renowned for its generous financial aid packages, being recognized by Time Magazine, Forbes, and The Economist for La Salle's value.
Starting in the Fall 2017 semester, La Salle University will decrease its tuition by 29 percent, citing affordability for all students and a "renaissance" at the school.
The average GPA for an admitted student at La Salle is a 3.35 on a 4.0 scale. Its acceptance rate is labelled as "moderately difficult" and admits about 75 percent of students who apply. La Salle requires SAT or ACT scores and an essay for admission. La Salle also uses the common application for prospective students in the United States.
La Salle University's 20 varsity sports teams, known as the Explorers, compete in the NCAA's Division I. La Salle is a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference and the historic Philadelphia Big 5, an informal association of Philadelphia sports programs. As a member of the Big 5, the Explorers play against Temple University, University of Pennsylvania, Villanova University and Saint Joseph's University at least once a year at the Palestra. They have won eleven titles. La Salle has sent 16 athletes to the Olympic a total of 22 times. La Salle athletes have won a total of six Olympic medals (four gold, and two bronze) and have appeared in eleven Olympic Games.
La Salle's teams have won two national championships: The 1954 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament and the 1980 Division II AIAW Field Hockey Championship. The school also won the 1952 National Invitation Tournament. La Salle's major historic rival has been the Hawks of Saint Joseph's University, especially in men's basketball. Not only are both universities situated in Philadelphia, but they are also both Catholic, private institutions.
The name "Explorer" derives from a 1931 mistake made by a sportswriter. The writer thought the university was named after the French explorer Sieur de La Salle, when in fact it is named after St. Jean-Baptiste de La Salle and was officially chosen in a student contest during the spring of 1932.
The program has been rated the 53rd "Greatest College Basketball Program of All-Time" by Street & Smith's magazine and 71st by the ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia.
La Salle has won one National Championship, one National Invitation Tournament Championship, and advanced to two Final Fours. The Explorers have also made 12 NCAA Tournament appearances, won eight Philadelphia Big 5 city championships, and four Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships. The program is one of only two schools (with Houston) to have two players in the top 25 in all-time NCAA scoring - Lionel Simmons and Michael Brooks. It's also had three National Players of the Year - only Duke University and Ohio State have had more.
La Salle also has an extensive history of players who played professional basketball, including Michael Brooks, 1980 College Player of the Year, Joe Bryant, father of retired pro Kobe Bryant, Rasual Butler, formerly with the Washington Wizards, Larry Cannon, Ken Durrett, Tom Gola, NBA Hall of Famer, 1955 College Player of the Year, Tim Legler, current basketball analyst for ESPN, 4th all-time in NBA three-point shooting percentage, and many more.
The Explorers play in Tom Gola Arena as their main home stadium and The Palestra for Philadelphia Big 5 games.
La Salle moved to its fourth and present location in 1931. The campus is located in part on Belfield, the estate of Charles Willson Peale, the Revolutionary War patriot and painter famous for his portraits of the founding fathers, most notably, George Washington. The first to occupy the land of the Belfield after the passing of the famously known painter, Charles Wilson Peale, was William Logan Fisher. Fisher was born to the family of Thomas Fisher and Sarah Logan, Sarah, whom inherited the northeastern portion of Stenton. Fisher's routes lay deeply in La Salle’s history as he owned the land of which is now South Campus. After living there, Fisher gave this land to his daughter Sarah Logan Fisher and her husband William Wister. The home belonged to the Wisters until 1984 when La Salle University purchased the land. What once was the home of a famous artist, and later affluent family, is the current office of the University president.
La Salle's campus is located in the Logan, Philadelphia-Ogontz/Belfield neighborhood of Philadelphia. In May 2007, La Salle created their West Campus after buying a portion of Germantown Hospital in the Germantown neighborhood of the city. La Salle's campus is divided into 3 parts: North, South, and West campus. Both the North and South parts of campus are located in the Logan, Philadelphia-Belfield area of Philadelphia,and the western portion of campus (west of Wister Street) is located in the Germantown, Philadelphia neighborhood of the city.
A satellite campus and Conference Center in Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, the La Salle University Bucks County Center, offers graduate courses in various disciplines, undergraduate courses in nursing, and continuing education courses. The Conference Center comprises fifteen instructional rooms with seating capacities ranging from 20 to 40, along with four computer laboratories with 100 workstations. La Salle offers M.B.A. and Clinical-Counseling Psychology M.A. classes at the Plymouth Meeting Metroplex Corporate Center in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
La Salle University Art Museum
The La Salle Art Museum is located in the basement of Olney Hall and houses a collection of European and American art from the Renaissance to the present. The museum also owns a number of special collections including Japanese prints. The art museum is also home to the "Walking Madonna" one of four by the British artist Dame Elisabeth Frink. Frink created the sculpture in 1981, the other "Walking Madonna" sculptures remain in England, with one in Salisbury and the other in Frink’s garden at her home.
Connelly Library, Special Collections
The Department of Special Collections in the Connelly Library houses a diverse range of materials, from 15th century illuminated devotionals to subject collections treating contemporary social issues. Bodies of work include literature, music, films, art, archival material and ephemera. The discrete collections maintained by the department explore a variety of themes in aural, narrative and illustrative form. Special Collections maintains a focus on acquiring, cataloging and housing unique material that is tied to undergraduate pedagogy and is freely available to researchers. Highlights of the Collections include the largest collection of literary and creative works on the Vietnam War in the world, a one-of-a-kind academic collection of work on Bob Dylan, hundreds of originative works on the Holocaust and psychic trauma, primary sources on local history, and rare and beautiful editions of the Holy Bible.
Dining locations at La Salle are owned and operated by Aramark. La Salle has two dining halls, one on each end of campus. The newer Treetops Cafe is on south campus next to St. Basil Court and St. John Neumann Residence Halls and is open on weekdays. The Blue and Gold Commons, located on Olney Avenue, next to the North Residence Halls Complex, is only open seven days a week. In both of these dining halls, one may purchase food with a meal plan, Food Account Money, or cash. In the La Salle Student Union is The Union Food Court, which has several "store fronts". Each of these "store fronts" specializes in a certain type of food, including pizza, burgers, baked goods, sandwiches, salads, and international cuisine. Unlike the other two dining facilities, meal plan is not accepted.
In Fall 2012, La Salle food services signed a deal with Aramark, and the Union now hosts a Subway and Starbucks, replacing the former smoothie bar and Late Night Intermissions. La Salle owns and runs The Explorers Den, a cheesesteak, pizza and burger shop located on the 2100 block of Olney Avenue. Explorer's Den, however, is not affiliated with Aramark.
There are three to four food trucks on La Salle's campus not owned or affiliated with the school or its food provider.
Since 1953, La Salle has hosted resident students. There are several student housing complexes: North Residence Halls, St. Miguel Townhouses, St. Teresa Court Apartments, La Salle Apartments, and the South Campus Residence Halls, St. Basil Court and St. Neumann.
In 2011, St. Basil's Court was considered by DormSplash.com as the best dorm in the country. St. Basil's Court is mostly home to honors students, athletes, and upperclassmen.
Living styles vary by location. In North Residence Halls and St. Neumann, men and women live in the same building but on different floors. In St. Basil’s, men and women live on the same floors but on different sides of the hall. In the St. Miguel Townhouses and Apartments, men and women live with the same gender in their own living space with a kitchen and bathrooms. In 2016, students voted to have gender-neutral housing in the St. Miguel Townhouses, which would make La Salle the only Catholic university in the country to facilitate co-ed living. This issue caused controversy in Catholic circles across the United States since it is traditional for Catholic school residence halls to be completely separated by gender. La Salle also has individual unit gender-neutral bathrooms in some of their residence halls.
Students at La Salle are offered many opportunities to participate at different degrees and in many different ways. There are several organizations and a student programming center whose mission is primarily to plan activities (games, movie nights, bus trips, etc.) for the students of La Salle University. The Communication Department operates La Salle 56, a cable TV Educational-access television station available to 300,000 subscribers. The university also has a student-run radio station, WEXP and a student-run weekly newspaper, The Collegian, along with over 100 other  intramurals, clubs, and NCAA Division I sports offered. La Salle University offers a number of student services, including non-remedial tutoring, a women's center, career advising and placement services, health services, and health insurance. La Salle also offers campus safety and security services like 24-hour foot and vehicle patrols, late night transport/escort service, 24-hour emergency telephones, lighted pathways/sidewalks, controlled dormitory access (key, security card, etc). Alcohol is permitted for students of legal age, making La Salle one of the few Catholic wet campuses. La Salle is also an LGBTQ-friendly Catholic university.
About 55 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated or -affiliated housing and 55 percent of students live off campus near the university or commute from home. The gender distribution is about 37 percent male students and 63 percent female students. Of the students, about 35 percent have cars on campus. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of about 3,947, its setting is urban, and the campus size is 133 acres.
One of the aspects of La Salle's social scene are its fraternities and sororities. In total, La Salle has fourteen Greek organizations. Ten traditional fraternities and sororities, two Divine Nine organizations, and two co-educational fraternities. La Salle's Greek community consists of six sororities (Alpha Theta Alpha, Alpha Sigma Tau, Gamma Phi Beta, Delta Phi Epsilon, Phi Mu, and Zeta Phi Beta) and six fraternities (Sigma Phi Epsilon, Alpha Chi Rho, Alpha Phi Delta, Delta Sigma Phi, Sigma Phi Lambda, and Phi Beta Sigma). In addition, La Salle also offers two co-educational fraternities: a business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, and a community service fraternity, Epsilon Sigma Alpha. 
The first day of a student's time at La Salle occurred at a student orientation program called Day ONE, which stood for Orienting New Explorers. The day consisted of giving essential information to new students and their families, but its primary objective is to build relationships: relationships between the new students and other new students, between the new students and their upper division student hosts, between new students and administration and faculty, and between the students' families and the university. The Class of 2020 was the last incoming class to participate in Day ONE. Instead, La Salle will host students for a full week before classes begin and have no formal day during the summer for orientation.
Expansion and Master Plan
La Salle has worked with Philadelphia architecture firm H2L2 to assist in the development of a Campus Facilities Master Plan, building upon a previous plan completed by the University in 1985. Key components of the Master Plan are the following: New Science and Technology Building, New Athletic Arena, Student Recreation Center, additional student housing, Dining Hall, Chapel, Fine Arts and Theater Building, parking garage, and additional commercial activity.
Accommodating the above facilities while orchestrating seamless connections between the disparate areas of the campus is one of the Plan's greatest accomplishments. Topography, city streets, and heavy traffic, all initially appeared as impediments to the development of a true campus. Improved vehicular and pedestrian circulation patterns now yield enhanced links to memorable spaces, uniting this Campus into one whole, while satisfying all programmatic requirements.
La Salle has spent about $75 million in renovations going back to 2005. In the Fall of 2005, the $26 million first phase of this master plan was completed with the construction of Tree Tops Cafe (dining hall) and St. Basil Court (Residence Hall). St. Basil's houses approximately 430 students. Three of the building's wings feature "suites", in which four students share two bedrooms and one bathroom. The fourth wing's rooms have the traditional one-room for housing two students with communal bathrooms. The facilities have lounges, study rooms, and special purpose rooms.
A $2.5 million athletic field renovation was completed in the Fall of 2006.
In May 2007, the university purchased adjacent Germantown Hospital for $10 million. The 24 acres (97,000 m2) acquired has become "West Campus", and increased the campus size by 25 percent. A $15 million shopping center and supermarket complex opened in Fall 2008 across from the Germantown Hospital. The Shoppes at La Salle was formerly home to the university's softball field and other recreational areas. The renovated Holroyd Science Center was completed in Fall 2009 and a new business school opened in West Campus in January 2016.
In the summer of 2016, McShain Hall in the middle of campus was torn down and replaced with more green space. The new quad will be named after its donor.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney
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- Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools
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