La Salle University has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) that will draw teachers from across the United States to Philadelphia to explore the world of Benjamin Franklin and his contemporaries. The $172,000 Landmarks of American History grant will bring 72 teachers to historic Philadelphia during the summer of 2016.
“The grant projects announced today represent the very best of humanities scholarship and programming,” said NEH Chairman William Adams. “NEH is proud to support programs that illuminate the great ideas and events of our past, broaden access to our nation’s many cultural resources, and open up for us new ways of understanding the world in which we live.”
The two one-week workshops, “Benjamin Franklin and the Americans,” will be held July 3-8 and July 10-15. Teachers will study with major scholars of early America, visit sites that Franklin knew, peruse documents in Franklin’s own handwriting, and experience the host of historic opportunities Philadelphia has to offer in the weeks surrounding Independence Day.
“Understanding Benjamin Franklin is essential to understanding the history of the United States, and the NEH’s funding allows for outstanding opportunities for outstanding American educators,” said George Boudreau, Ph.D., a La Salle history professor who will direct the workshops with local educator Carol S. Baldridge. Boudreau has previously directed five NEH Landmarks teachers’ programs, bringing over 400 teachers together to study American history and culture. “The real importance here is that these outstanding educators will take this information back to thousands of American school children,” Boudreau said.
More than 500,000 American students visit Philadelphia’s historic district and Independence National Historical Park each year. A longtime volunteer and advocate for historic sites in the Philadelphia region, Boudreau points out that museum staffs have found that many of those children arrive with little understanding of the city’s importance in the creation of the United States, and many teachers have no follow-up information for their students once they leave.
“These NEH-funded workshops will train teachers to understand Franklin and his era and to make use of historic sites as teaching tools, while at the same time making information available to all teachers through the Internet,” said Boudreau.
As part of the project, a website www.teachingfranklin.org gives teachers throughout the U.S. and around the world access to lesson plans, original sources, images of the founding era, and other materials.
The Landmarks grant has hosted thousands of teachers at outstanding historic sites throughout the United States since 2004. Teachers find rigorous, professional development at Landmarks sites, which have included Mount Vernon, Pearl Harbor, and sites related to the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.
Like those extraordinary sites, Franklin’s Philadelphia offers a glimpse not just at a person, but at an entire era. “Men and women, rich, poor, and middle class, multi-ethnic and multi-racial – these were the people Franklin saw daily in Philadelphia,” Boudreau said. Teachers will study these lives through eighteenth-century buildings, music, art and material culture, and writings from the era.
Brother Daniel Burke, F.S.C., who served as President of La Salle University (then College) from 1969 to 1976 and founded the University’s Art Museum, died on Nov. 14, 2015 at a nursing home for Christian Brothers in Lincroft, N.J. He was 89.
Born on Oct. 25, 1926 in Pittsburgh, Br. Daniel’s lifelong love of art was fostered during his weekly visits to the Carnegie Museum when he was a young boy. He joined the Christian Brothers’ Junior Novitiate at La Salle Hall in Ammendale, Md., in 1941, and took his vows in 1944 at the age of 18. As it was customary for the Brothers to take a new name upon donning the religious habit, he took the name Br. Fidelian of Mary, which he held until the mid-1960s, when he reverted back to his birth name.
Br. Daniel graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in art history, before completing his master’s and doctorate degrees in English, all from the Catholic University of America.
His first assignment was as an English teacher at West Catholic High School in 1949, and he returned to teach at La Salle Hall in 1951 for a year before he went to De La Salle College in Washington, D.C., where he taught for five years.
In 1957, Br. Daniel joined La Salle’s English faculty and was quickly regarded as someone with a future by the other Brothers. In 1960, he was named La Salle’s first Vice President for Academic Affairs, and began shaping the University (then College) into a more rigorous academic institution.
“He took exceptional interest in the College’s academic excellence,” said longtime friend and colleague Br. Emery Mollenhauer, F.S.C., Ph.D. “By placing a great emphasis on academic rigor, he built a strong foundation by establishing many of the governing committees and handbooks that are still in place today.”
With his love of art still steadfast, Br. Daniel introduced the art history major to La Salle’s curriculum in 1963. However, students viewing artwork in slideshows wasn’t sufficient for Br. Daniel; he wanted students to have the opportunity to see quality paintings on their own campus—the same kind of artwork that kindled his own interest in art as a child. “If you think of God as being all true, all good and beautiful, then paintings are little hints of God that expand the soul,” he once said.
In 1965, following La Salle’s Honors Convocation where famed American painter Andrew Wyeth and well-known art collector Lessing J. Rosenwald received honorary degrees, Br. Daniel announced the College’s intention to build a permanent art collection—with $3,000 of seed money.
Over the years, he bought carefully, and traded up wisely, creating an art collection, once described by Philadelphia Inquirer art critic Edward Sozanski as a “little jewel.” The collection, which now belongs to La Salle University Art Museum, is housed in the lower level of Olney Hall, and consists of more than 4,000 renowned works of art—including pieces by Tintoretto, Albrecht Durer, Thomas Eakins, Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas, and Henry Ossawa Tanner, to name a few.
A brilliant and introspective leader, who has been described as “breathtakingly levelheaded,” Br. Daniel was named La Salle’s 25th President in June 1969. His Presidency marked a time of significant growth and transformation for the College. During his six-year tenure, La Salle went fully co-educational in 1970 (after more than a century as an all-male educational institution) and increased the female faculty members from three to 25. Hayman Hall and Olney Hall, which would eventually house the Art Museum, opened in the early 1970s. La Salle’s MBA program and Weekend Campus, which allowed students to take classes exclusively on the weekend, both began under Br. Daniel’s leadership.
Although remembered for his calm and subtle presence, Br. Daniel sparked some controversy on campus in 1971 when he joined other religious leaders to participate in a Holy Week prayer and fasting vigil in Washington, D.C., to draw attention to pressing issues including citizens’ opposition to the Vietnam War, the country’s racial tensions, and rising poverty. Subsiding on only water and juice for the week, he stood outside the White House gate for hours each day, at one point chaining himself to the gate.
“If anyone had predicted that I would become involved in a public demonstration, I would have laughed and said that simply wasn’t my style. But the religious nature of this action compelled me to think about my responsibilities in a very personal way,” Br. Daniel said at the time.
He stepped down as President in December 1976 to return to teaching full-time and to grow his beloved Art Museum. A prolific poet, Br. Daniel published several books of poetry, and his poems were often featured in La Salle’s Christmas cards.
Br. Michael J. McGinniss, F.S.C., who served as La Salle’s President from 1999 to 2014, first met Br. Daniel as a La Salle student in the late 1960s and was the student speaker at Br. Daniel’s presidential inauguration in 1969. “Br. Dan inspired his students by his love of literature and beauty and by witnessing to high moral ideals in the upheavals of the 1970s. He led his colleagues by his passion for La Salle’s academic mission,” Br. Michael said. “He embodied for his fellow Christian Brothers a profound commitment to community life and our mission of providing a human and Christian education. I am grateful to have known him and to have experienced the gentle power of his inspiration.”
Br. Daniel is survived by a brother, Edmund, sister, Sister Mariann Burke, RSCJ and niece, Barbara Burke.
A viewing will be held at De La Salle Hall in Lincroft, N.J., on Tuesday, Nov. 17, from 2 to 4 p.m.
Another viewing will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the De La Salle Chapel at La Salle University from 3 to 5 p.m., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 5 p.m.
Burial will take place on Friday, Nov. 20, at 11:30 a.m. in the Brothers’ cemetery at La Salle Hall, 6001 Ammendale Road, Beltsville, MD 20705-1202.
In lieu of flowers, gifts made in memory of Br. Daniel may be directed to La Salle University Art Museum’s Br. Daniel Burke Endowment Fund, c/o La Salle University Advancement, 1900 W. Olney Ave, Box 809, Philadelphia, PA 19141 or online at http://explorersconnect.lasalle.edu/artmuseum.
On behalf of La Salle University, President Colleen Hanycz, Ph.D., was presented with a $300,000 check from PECO President Craig Adams on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015.
The PECO Smart Ideas rebate check was awarded in recognition of campus upgrades that were made possible through the University’s partnership with Siemens. During the past two years, through the partnership, La Salle has completed 13 projects on campus, including installing energy efficient lighting in Connelly Library, resident halls, and classroom buildings, as well as enhanced refrigeration and HVAC system improvements.
In addition to PECO and Siemens officials, Pennsylvania State Senator Art Haywood, 22nd Ward Leader Ron Couser, and Philadelphia Councilwoman Cindy Bass, were also in attendance.
As a result of the partnership, the University will reduce its energy consumption by more 3.3 million kilowatt hours, which has the same environmental impact as removing 300 vehicles from the road or planting nearly 3,500 trees each year.
“We are so pleased to be recognized by PECO for the many energy enhancements we’ve made on campus,” said Hanycz. “Not only do they provide significant cost savings, they make us better environmental stewards. In fact, these energy upgrades specifically answer Pope Francis’ call to address the pressing emergencies of climate change and environmental sustainability.”
Media coverage of the check presentation:
CBS3: PECO Recognizes La Salle’s Effort to Go Green With $300K
6ABC: It Pays to Save Energy for La Salle
La Salle University has been ranked among the top 100 universities in the United States for value, according to The Economist.
In its inaugural undergraduate college ranking, The Economist demonstrated the economic value of a college by comparing the difference between how much money its alumni earn versus how much they might have earned had they received their degree elsewhere. Simply, The Economist’s rankings estimate which schools realistically boost the salaries of its graduates.
To determine the actual impact a college has on its graduates’ expected earnings, The Economist used regression analysis to measure numerous variables, including SAT scores, school size, whether a school is public or private, and the mix of available subject areas. The median earnings among La Salle undergraduate alumni amount to $52,300, which is $5,136 more than their expected earnings of $48,064, had they earned their degree at another institution. The additional savings impact of $5,136 puts La Salle in the top eight percent in the country.
For its rankings, The Economist also supplemented its data with the recently released U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard, which ranked La Salle 18th for return on investment among all Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey colleges and universities. This ranking was determined by comparing a school’s tuition rate to an alum’s income 10 years after graduation.
“We are pleased to once again have La Salle recognized as a top university in the country for value,” said Colleen Hanycz, Ph.D., President of La Salle University. “While we believe our graduates’ individual success is defined by more than median salaries, this ranking reaffirms that our graduates are sought after for progressive high-paying positions.”
The Economist is the latest organization to recognize La Salle for value. Recently, Money magazine gave La Salle an “A for Value Added to a Degree.” Earlier this year, the Brookings Institute ranked La Salle in the top five percent of four-year colleges and universities in the nation based on expected salaries for its alumni at the mid-career level. La Salle graduates exceed their expected income by more than 25 percent.
The Economist’s complete list can be viewed here.
Jim Kenney, ’80, is the first La Salle University alumnus to be elected as mayor of Philadelphia.
He may be the next mayor, but he was once just a political science student at La Salle with aspirations of one day becoming a lawyer.
“I really wanted to be a lawyer, but I never did,” Kenney said. “One of my regrets in life was not going to law school, because as a politician, if you have a law degree, you can always find work.”
Despite Kenney’s regrets about never having followed the path to practice law, he has gone on to realize several other accomplishments, including getting elected for six consecutive terms on Philadelphia’s City Council in an at-large seat.
Kenney is a lifelong resident of South Philadelphia who grew up in a predominantly Irish and Catholic community. But he credits his time spent commuting during college from South Philly to his apartment just off of La Salle’s campus in Olney as the journey that taught him to embrace the broader diversity of his city.
“Commuting to La Salle afforded me the opportunity to meet students from neighborhoods all over the city and interact with different types of people,” he said.
Kenney fondly recalled living on “C Block” in The Manor apartment building on Ogontz Ave. during his later years at La Salle—a place where he bonded with his roommates, attending gatherings and sporting events with some, and forming lifelong friendships with others. For Kenney, nearly everyone who he encountered during his time at La Salle made an impact on his future views of the world.
“The friends that I made at La Salle made a big impact on me and are still my friends today,” he said. “The Christian Brothers were also a big influence. The teachers and professors were excellent, and you could tell they really cared about their students.”
Over the course of his more than 20-year career in local government, Kenney said his biggest challenge has been fighting to establish fairness for the people he serves.
“Making sure that people are not being judged by the station that they’re in, but by the content of their character; that we treat our LGBT and minority communities fairly; that we respect our elders and make sure our youth have the resources that they need to succeed; that has been a constant challenge,” he said.
Lauded as one of his biggest undertakings during his time on City Council, Kenney sponsored a bill passed by the Council last fall that effectively decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The bill had a direct impact on the roughly 4,000 people—predominantly young black males—who are arrested for marijuana possession in Philadelphia each year by imposing fines in lieu of arrest records and jail time.
Political accomplishments aside, Kenney said he’s just a regular guy who loves sports and enjoys reading history books and historical biographies.
“I’m just a normal person,” he said. “You accomplish things in a group because there are always somebody’s shoulders you’re standing on. The minute you forget that, you’re going to fall off. So I always say, ‘Be humble.’”
Kenney’s advice to students or professionals considering entering public service: get involved.
“Get involved in your local neighborhood politics; run to become a committee person. Get involved in the grassroots side of neighborhood life by improving your local rec center, or form or join a community group,” he said.
“There’s a big world out here that needs a lot of help and there’s always a need for public servants. You should never stop caring about the welfare of other people.”
By Queen Muse, ’12, M.A. ’14
La Salle University alumnus Robert Luddy, ’68, President of CaptiveAire Systems, the leading manufacturer of commercial kitchen ventilation systems in North America, has been recognized as one of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) inaugural 100 Influential Leaders. AACSB is the global accrediting body and membership association for business schools. Considered the hallmark of excellence in business education, less than 5 percent of business schools worldwide earn AACSB accreditation.
According to AACSB, the Influential Leaders are business school alumni who “have demonstrated an innovative mindset, shown entrepreneurial spirit, made significant business impact, and engendered dramatic community or social change.” Luddy is one of 100 leaders selected from across 21 countries and representing more than 20 industry sectors. Other honorees include former United States Secretary of State Colin Powell; the late Sam Walton, founder of Walmart and Sam’s Club; Jeffrey Clarke, Chief Executive Officer of Eastman Kodak; and Carolyn Woo, President of Catholic Relief Services.
“I am honored to be included among AACSB’s 100 Influential Leaders. La Salle and the Christian Brothers gave me an excellent foundation, both in academics and ethics,” Luddy said. “Leadership is a well-practiced and slowly learned skill, but it begins in the early years and is a crucial part of a well-rounded education.”
A lifelong entrepreneur, Luddy began the Raleigh, N.C.-based CaptiveAire in a one-room facility in 1976 with just $1,300 of his own money. The company now employs more than 1,000 people, operates six manufacturing plants in the United States and 90 sales offices in North America, and had revenues in excess of $300 million last year.
Luddy is also a strong advocate of excellent education and has founded three schools in North Carolina since 1998. Seeing a need for schools that emphasized character development along with high academic achievement, Luddy established Franklin Academy, an award-winning public charter school in Wake Forest that now serves more than 1,200 K–12 students. In 2001, he founded St. Thomas More Academy in Raleigh. The college preparatory school has been recognized as one of the 50 best Catholic schools in the United States. In 2007, Luddy established Thales Academy, also in Raleigh, a network of private classical schools offering a high-quality Pre-K–12 education at a low-cost tuition.
“As I look back, what I learned at La Salle was good accounting, philosophy, mathematics—basic core subjects that teach you to be a thinker, to have depth and breadth of knowledge in order to understand everything we can teach about a subject,” Luddy said. “Our schools are also very dynamic. We teach our students to be constantly learning, growing, and improving; to strive for excellence in everything they do.”
Luddy has also significantly helped propel the growth of entrepreneurship education at his alma mater through a charitable investment in La Salle’s Center for Entrepreneurship. The University recently opened the Innovation Factory, a new makerspace allowing entrepreneurial-minded students to innovate and create in a vibrant, state-of-the-art setting.
“Bob personifies what is so unique and special about a La Salle education—not only has he successfully conquered the business world, but he also recognizes his role in giving back and serving others,” said Gary Giamartino, Ph.D., Dean of La Salle’s School of Business. “We are honored and elated at his selection for the inaugural AACSB 100 Influential Leaders. Bob’s leadership and accomplishments are a beacon for our students as they anticipate moving into the world of business and an inspiration for those of us who face business challenges on a day-to-day basis.”
Tibetan monks from Drepung Gomang Monastery have taken residence in La Salle University’s Art Museum, creating a Medicine Buddha sand mandala in honor of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The mandala will be completed on Tuesday, Oct. 27, followed by a ceremony at 12:30 p.m., when the monks will brush the mandala back into a pile of sand and offer it into the Schuylkill River.
“Medicine Buddha, the Buddha whose mandala (the monks are creating), is famous for the vows he made at the moment of his enlightenment to heal all beings from physical and mental afflictions, and to remove all suffering and obstacles on their paths to awakening,” explained Julie Regan, Ph.D., assistant professor of religion at La Salle. “The completion ritual is the final part of the monks’ offering of their work and their intentions for the peace and healing of all beings.”
The mandala was originally intended to celebrate the Dalai Lama’s visit to La Salle University, where he would lead a teaching in the Tom Gola Arena during his trip to Philadelphia to receive the Liberty Medal Award. However, he canceled his U.S. trip due to health concerns at the advice of his physicians.
“After the cancellation and the announcement of the Dalai Lama’s health problems, the monks chose the Medicine Buddha theme as a meditation and prayer on healing,” said Cornelia Tsakiridou, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy and Director of the Diplomat in Residence Program, which hosted a series of events throughout October related to the Dalai Lama’s teaching, “The Wisdom of Cherishing Others: The Message of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the World.” The sand mandala’s creation and completion ceremony is the main highlight of the month’s programming.
“It demonstrates the Buddhist understanding of impermanence, a fundamental reality we often prefer to avoid. Buddhists embrace it and discourage grasping to whatever we create,” Regan said. “Instead they emphasize sharing it with others, which goes back to the theme of our program, ‘The Wisdom of Cherishing Others,’ emphasized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. As the monks ritually distribute the sand of the mandala to members of the community and offer the remainder in a body of water, the idea is that its blessings go, symbolically, to the four corners of the earth.”
This is the fifth time monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery have created a mandala at La Salle. “It’s a way of supporting them (in their) fundraising,” Tsakiridou said, after their visit in April 2015. “We also do it for the sake of our students, particularly to see the ongoing relevance of the sacred arts and to see them in the context of a different religion where they continue to be so vital and important. It’s important for a Catholic university to pay attention to the sacred arts from any tradition.”
The completion ceremony will take place on Oct. 27 from 12:30–2 p.m. in the Renaissance Room of La Salle University’s Art Museum. The monks will distribute sand from the mandala to those in attendance before taking the rest to the Schuylkill River.
A documentary about La Salle University’s Writers Matter middle school writing and mentoring program will have its debut screening in the Dan Rodden Theatre on Nov. 1, 2015. The film features students and teachers from Wagner Middle School—one of 13 schools involved in the program—along with the La Salle undergrads and alumni who volunteer their time as mentors.
“The documentary is a big step in creating awareness of the many issues facing education and celebrating the students of Philadelphia,” said Robert Vogel, Ed.D., the Founding Director of Writers Matter. “I feel the program is changing lives and providing opportunities for students to see a future for themselves.”
Vogel launched Writers Matter in 2005 to give inner-city middle school students an outlet to express themselves. “Students at this age are very fragile and tend to feel very alone and need an outlet for their voices to be heard,” Vogel said. “This program creates a motivation to write, share their work with others, and find common ground with other students who they never thought they could relate to.” Students also learn valuable writing skills while journaling about their lives.
More than 11,000 middle school students have participated in the Writers Matter program. Now in its 10th year, it’s recently expanded to include an after-school program at six local elementary schools. Conor Coleman, a senior political science, philosophy, and economics major at La Salle, coordinates the after-school program and is featured in the film along with alumni Youssef Kromah, ’14, and Kerrin Garripoli, ’14.
“The documentary gives just a taste of what this work entails, both for its administrators and also for the students involved,” Coleman said. “The students are the focus. Their brilliance shines through their circumstances; the stories they tell, often so eloquently, is the basis for why this work exists.”
For Kromah, “The journey has been exceedingly insightful and fulfilling,” he said. “(It’s) the sort of endeavor that changes the lives of hundreds of underprivileged, disadvantaged, and disenfranchised youth.”
“The best part of being a mentor was going through the creative writing and brainstorming process with the kids,” Garripoli added. “To me, 11,000 kids being encouraged to imagine a future bigger and better than their current situation is pretty exciting.”
Vogel hopes the documentary will help the community gain “an appreciation of the many challenges facing schools in major cities and better understand and learn the potential of these underserved students and the many talents they possess. We must invest in the schools and realize the human capital that exists among these students,” he said.
“When I meet the students, they are very appreciative of the opportunity Writers Matter provides to them and are happy that their voices are being heard, maybe for the first time,” Vogel added.
Writers Matter: A Documentary screens from 5–7 p.m. in the Dan Rodden Theatre at La Salle University on Sunday, Nov. 1. A panel discussion with many of the students, teachers, and directors in the film will follow. For more information about the Writers Matter program, visit lasalle.edu/writersmatter.
Philadelphia, PA, October 9, 2015 – La Salle University announced today that Colleen M. Hanycz, Ph.D., will be officially installed as the University’s 29th President in an inauguration ceremony to be held this afternoon at the Tom Gola Arena on La Salle’s campus. Hanycz joined La Salle University as President this past July from Ontario, Canada, where she served as principal (an equivalent of President) of Brescia University College.
“Having worked hand-in-hand with President Hanycz over the last several months, I can attest to the fact that she is exactly the leader our university needs,” said Steve Zarrilli, Chair of La Salle University’s Board of Trustees. “She is dedicated to our Catholic and Lasallian mission and continues to approach her service to our University in a Lasallian way, with a focus on uplifting the community.”
Hanycz began her career as a securities and employment litigator for a law firm in Canada after earning her law degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in law from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. In 2003, Hanycz decided to pursue her passion for teaching when she took a position at Osgoode Hall. Years later, after becoming principal at Brescia, Hanycz implemented a bold and strategic plan that increased enrollment by 50 percent in five years.
The theme of the Hanycz’s inauguration, “Inspired by Faith. Dedicated to Service. United in Community,” was inspired by the Brothers of the Christian Schools’ core values of faith, service, and community. Leading up to today’s inauguration ceremony, a week-long series of events took place for the entire La Salle community to celebrate the University’s Catholic and Lasallian heritage and values.
Inauguration Week kicked off with the Lasallian Day of Service on Saturday, Oct. 3. More than 800 La Salle students, faculty, staff, and alumni gave back to their communities by performing service projects at more than 40 locations in Philadelphia and across the country. Additional inauguration events included a faculty and staff panel discussion on “The City as a Classroom: Lasallian Higher Education in Philadelphia,” student dinners with President Hanycz, and an inauguration Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.
“It has been an incredible honor to lead La Salle University over the last several months and I look forward to officially being installed as La Salle’s 29th president today,” said Hanycz. “Each day that I spend on campus only reaffirms how proud I am to call myself a Lasallian. Just as the Christian Brothers who precede me have, I am committed to carrying the mission of St. John Baptist de La Salle forward and offering a quality and transformational education experience that provides students with the tools to lead productively in their careers, at home and in their community.”
La Salle University was established in 1863 through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Brothers of the Christian Schools teaching order, which St. La Salle founded in 1680. La Salle is an educational community shaped by traditional Catholic and Lasallian values. In a national survey, Money magazine ranked La Salle as a top five college in the Philadelphia region for educational quality, affordability, and alumni earnings, and cited the University as a “Value All-Star.” Globally, the Lasallian educational network includes 1,000 schools (60 of which are institutions of higher education) serving 940,000 students in 80 countries.