La Salle University alumnus John Langan, ’63, and his wife, Dr. Judith Nadell, have created a $1 million endowment to support at-risk first generation La Salle students who work hard and are motivated to earn a college degree, but who are in need of additional support services and financial assistance. This is the first and only endowed gift from an alumnus at this leadership level, designed to benefit these students.
“We are honored and beyond grateful to receive this generous gift from John and Judith,” said La Salle President Colleen M. Hanycz, Ph.D. “The John Langan, ’63 and Dr. Judith Nadell Endowment for Student Success will allow us to provide even more underserved students with a transformative education, which is a direct reflection of our values instilled by the Christian Brothers and the legacy of Saint John Baptist de La Salle.”
Langan’s lower-middle-class childhood in Reading, Pa., some devoted La Salle professors, and a struggling student he instructed during the first year of his teaching career were all factors in his decision to create the endowment.
As a high school student, Langan was challenged by reading a simple message on a bus that passed by his home. “I remember the exact words: ‘Open your mind—read a book,’” Langan said. “To prove to myself that sign was not true, I walked into town and bought a book called The Swiss Family Robinson. After reading it, I had to admit I enjoyed it and decided that I’d be missing something if I didn’t keep reading. As a result, I became a much better student and wound up being awarded a full scholarship to La Salle.”
At La Salle, Langan was greatly influenced by five English professors—Charles V. Kelly, Daniel J. Rodden, Charles F. Koch, John Keenan, and Brother Daniel Burke, F.S.C.—who taught him the values of compassion, hard work, teaching for and relating to students, and working on behalf of the common good.
While teaching night classes after graduating from La Salle in 1963, Langan met a young, passionate first generation student with specific career goals and aspirations. “I was stunned by his intense desire to learn and the level of attention he gave me in class. At the same time I realized, in a defining moment in my life, that I wanted to help teach students like him the skills they needed to advance in their lives,” Langan said.
Armed with the principles and down-to-earth teaching styles his La Salle mentors instilled in him, Langan went on to author and publish a series of reading and writing skills textbooks for McGraw-Hill, and later founded Townsend Press, a New Jersey-based independent publisher of educational materials for students from grade school through college.
The John Langan, ’63 and Dr. Judith Nadell Endowment for Student Success enables La Salle to provide skills instruction and personal support through its successful Academic Discovery Program, which receives partial funding as a Pennsylvania Act 101 program, to additional underserved students.
The Academic Discovery Program aims to assist students by helping them establish well-defined career goals and providing them the tools they need to achieve success and confidence in school and in life. The program includes a rigorous six-week summer term prior to entering their freshman year.
“Students participate in classes, counseling, advising, tutoring, and co-curricular activities that help prepare them for college, and build a community among themselves and a solid foundation for success both at La Salle and after graduation,” said Assistant Provost Teri Ceraso. These students stay with the program their entire time at La Salle and have access to counselors, advisers, and tutors who focus equally on the development of cognitive and non-cognitive skills. The program also provides emergency assistance, such as help with books, meals, and housing.
Now, thanks to The John Langan, ’63 and Dr. Judith Nadell Endowment for Student Success, even more high-risk students will be provided with the resources to help them thrive at La Salle and achieve success beyond college in their professional and personal lives as shaped by the values of a Christian Brothers, Lasallian education.
Vince Bucolo, Chief Operating Officer at Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), has been selected to give the address at La Salle University’s Graduate Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 20.
Bucolo graduated from La Salle’s MBA program in 1991 and has remained a dynamic, dedicated alumnus through the years.
Upon learning of his selection, Bucolo was both surprised and honored. “I was also concerned [about writing] a message I could convey to the graduates that would have any meaning or inspiration,” he said. But Bucolo is using this opportunity to talk to the students about his experiences with the University and how it helped shaped him. While he was writing his speech, Bucolo looked to his past, which involved “a lot of self-reflection, thinking about things I haven’t thought of in years and the impact others had on both my personal and professional lives.”
“I’m telling my story, my experiences, hoping the graduates can learn from some of the mistakes I made early in my career. The education and Lasallian values they have received from this small Catholic University are the keys to whatever level of success they desire in both their personal and professional lives. Finally, [I’m speaking on] the value of staying involved with the University in order to ensure its tradition continues for future generations.”
Bucolo continued his legacy with the University through his children, Vinnie and Angela, who both attended La Salle. Vinnie graduated from the MBA program in 2011 and Angela will receive her bachelor’s degree at the undergraduate Commencement ceremony on May 22. “I believe my La Salle education, along with the values my wife and I tried to instill in each of them, played a factor in their college choices … About two years ago, I asked Vinnie and Angie why they selected La Salle and they both answered, ‘it felt like it was the place I should be.’ And I understood that because I felt the same when I decided to attend,” Bucolo said of his children’s decision to go to La Salle.
Bucolo has given much of his time to participating in many of La Salle’s events, including Career Circles, the program that matches students with alumni to explore their careers, and Bankers Day with the La Salle School of Business. He has also volunteered with the La Salle Parents and Families Program. Reflecting upon his work with La Salle as an alumnus, he said, “It’s my responsibility to ensure the ongoing existence of the University.”
“It’s part of me. It’s part of my family,” Bucolo added.
As COO at ASI, a company that specializes in promotional products and is a leader in its industry, Bucolo is responsible for the management of all magazine, catalog, and marketing production; warehouse services; credit operations; and finance. He has been with the company for nearly 40 years, joining in 1978 as a junior accountant and assistant credit manager and rising to Assistant Supervisor of Accounting and Director of Special Finance Projects. Bucolo became the Director of Purchasing and Productions at ASI in 1994, and then Senior Vice President in 2002, before being named COO in 2007.
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.
Molly Mahon, a senior nursing major at La Salle, has been selected to deliver the Undergraduate Commencement address on May 22—and it’s all thanks in part to a book by social activist, anthropologist, and physician Paul Farmer.
“I found out a few years ago that La Salle was one of the few schools to have a student give the Commencement speech,” she said. “I always thought that was such an incredible opportunity, but wasn’t sure if I was up for the challenge.”
But then she read To Repair the World, a collection of commencement speeches written by Farmer, whose global humanitarian work she’s always admired. “I became really interested in the power of stories and how he used his experiences to grab the attention of others,” Mahon said. “Instead of a challenge, I viewed the Commencement speech as a unique opportunity to share my experience at La Salle and how it has changed the way I view the world.”
Mahon’s own La Salle story is rooted in the community. She’s the third person in her family to graduate from La Salle, following her brothers Tom Mahon, ’10, and Kevin Mahon, ’14. During her time here, Mahon has remained dedicated to service and outreach. Mahon has gone on service trips to Kenya, West Virginia, and Haiti. She also spent a summer studying abroad in El Salvador, where a program coordinator’s words stuck with her: “You will never pass this way again.”
She is also a La Salle Student Ambassador, serving as a liaison between the student body, administration, alumni, and University community; active in Pheed Philadelphia, which brings La Salle students together to fight hunger in the city; and was named a Newman Civic Fellow in 2015.
In her Commencement speech, Mahon will use stories of her La Salle experiences to reflect on the opportunities and obligations she and her classmates share as new Explorers. Ultimately, she wants to inspire the community that gave so much to her. “Whether it was from faculty, staff, community partners, or my peers, I have leaned on so many people throughout my college experience,” she said. “There’s a daily example of giving and taking from the community and it creates such a rare and inspiring space. That’s definitely what I’ll miss the most—being surrounded by people who challenge you to question whatever you don’t understand, actively trying to lift you to new heights.”
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La Salle University has been ranked one of 300 colleges and universities recognized by Forbes as an “America’s Best Value College” for 2016. According to Forbes, La Salle is a school that is “worth the investment.”
The rankings are the result of a partnership with Forbes and The Center for College Affordability and Productivity, taking into consideration educational quality, graduation rate, post-graduate earnings, and tuition.
The Forbes best ranking is the latest accolade for La Salle regarding value. In its current list, The Economist ranked the University among the top 100 for value, and Money Magazine named La Salle a “Value All Star,” and one of the top five colleges in the Philadelphia region for educational quality, affordability, and alumni earnings.
La Salle’s “America’s Best Value College” ranking follows a recent announcement from President Colleen Hanycz, Ph.D., reporting the University would freeze fulltime undergraduate tuition for the next academic year. “We appreciate and share our students’ concerns about the cost of a college education, and continue our efforts to contain costs without sacrificing educational quality and student success,” Hanycz said.
The list of 2016 “America’s Best Value Colleges” is available on Forbes’ website.