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December 8 , 2003 Print this page

La Salle University’s Lasella Hall Left His Heart in Omaha,
But Shows What’s Out of Sight Isn’t Out of Mind

Dedicates African American Alumni Association Scholarship to Grandmother
After Lasella Hall accepted his scholarship at a recent La Salle University African American Alumni Association function, he turned to the audience, ready to give his prepared speech. Looking around, though, he couldn’t help but realize one face missing in the crowd.

“When I received the scholarship, I felt lonely because the one person who took me so far wasn’t there,” Hall said. He put aside the speech and spoke from his heart about his best friend, his grandmother, who lives in Omaha.

“She raised me, so she’s more like my mother than my grandmother,” Hall said. “Every award I ever receive will be in her name.”

Hall received the Warren E. Smith, M.D. Scholarship, named after one of the first African American graduates of La Salle. Dr. Smith went on to become a psychiatrist and worked as a counselor at the University. Each year the African American Alumni Association presents an award named for Dr. Smith to a African-American alumnus who has made a positive contribution to society. The Association also presents a President’s Award and a scholarship to an undergraduate.

“LaSalla Hall was the easiest selection of the year,” said Daniel J. Tann, Esq., President of La Salle’s African American Alumni Association. “Since relocating to Philadelphia, he has been involved in just about everything on campus, from being a student senator, treasurer of the African American Student League, volunteer at local high schools, and the promoter of the "Brother to Brother Round Table" -- a discussion group where African American male alumni interface with current male African American students. When he accepted the scholarship, his feelings were so genuine that he shed a tear or two and mentioned the love and respect for his grandmother.”

Hall is a sophomore History major with minors in Business Management and the newly offered Leadership and Global Understanding. He plans on moving back home to attend law school upon graduation. “I absolutely love Philadelphia. It’s a good place and a hardworking community,” said Hall, “but being away from my family has taken its toll. I want to have the option of driving home for the weekend.”

A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Hall heard about La Salle University from a high school teacher. “Father Robert Tillman said that he thought La Salle would be a nice fit for me. I visited during my senior year and I thought so, too,” said Hall.

“I’m busier than I’d like to be, but you get out what you put in,” he says. “These are four years I will never get back. I heard a quote once, ‘the only things you regret are the things you never tried.”

Hall also sings with La Salle’s gospel choir, and works in the English Department office.

Since he is a minor in Leadership and Global Understanding, Hall traveled to Barcelona, Spain with his class last spring. This year he will go to Istanbul, Turkey to view firsthand the Muslim world. “I don’t do things that I don’t think will benefit me or the community,” said Hall. “I’m always hoping a positive result will come out.”

-- Jen Gallagher