For his commitment to the well-being and success of students, Alan Wendell, Senior Associate Dean of Students at La Salle University, was awarded the University’s Lasallian Distinguished Educator Award. It honors outstanding members of the La Salle community who exhibit in their daily lives a commitment to Lasallian priorities and traditions.
Wendell has been at La Salle for 26 years, and he said the best part of his job is “being with a student who is struggling, and then having the opportunity to watch them move through a situation and succeed.”
When notified he received the award, Wendell said his first reaction was “pride in thinking that people somehow link the work I do with the work of previous award recipients.”
He said he became interested in student life while pursuing a graduate degree in counseling psychology at the University of Kansas. “I enjoyed helping students work through issues, but learned there were many more ways to do that than through daytime appointments in my office. Often the help was more valuable and appreciated where they lived,” he said. “So I began my career in residence life at the University of Kansas. From there I moved into the resident life position at La Salle.”
He began as Assistant Director of Resident Life for Judicial Affairs, then successively became Assistant Dean of Students, Associate Dean of Students and then Senior Associate Dean of Students. During his first six years at La Salle, he and his wife, Deidre, daughter, Callan (“Callie”), and son, Jacob, lived on the La Salle campus, first in a University apartment and then in a townhouse. They now reside in Fort Washington, Pa.
A letter nominating Wendell for the award stated, “Alan promotes education in all endeavors, believes in the value of learning from mistakes, and promotes excellence. He works hard and thoughtfully and expects others to as well. Alan is often taking on additional projects to promote the well-being of students. Examples of these additional projects over the years include: co-chairing the Dining Service Committee, serving on the Service-Trip/Students Traveling work group, co-advising the Jazz/Pep Band, and advising the Community Development Advisory Board.”
The letter continued, “While Alan does not teach in a traditional classroom, he certainly educates beyond the classroom! He strives to incorporate learning opportunities into the residential communities via the Honors Community, Signum Fidei Community, and Business Scholars Community. Alan also infuses learning into the conduct process. He ensures students are familiar with and have access to the community standards and trains his staff to take an educational approach to conduct hearings.”
Wendell oversees community development at the University, which includes: Building and sustaining the residential communities; supporting our commuter and off campus students, providing support and oversight to student crisis situations; communicating high expectations for student conduct and challenging student misbehavior, support and oversee activity of student organizations, provide opportunities for student leadership development, develop and manage new programs for incoming students.
La Salle University was established in 1863 through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers teaching order, which St. La Salle founded in 1680. La Salle is an educational community shaped by traditional Catholic and Lasallian values. The University is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 30 schools in the North Region and among the top 10 Catholic schools in the region.