History and Milestones

Since its inception in 1916, La Salle University’s Alumni Association has had a rich and colorful history and has fostered an ongoing relationship between the University and its alumni. Today, the Association continues to cultivate and foster good will and camaraderie among its membership, promotes the interest and general welfare of La Salle University, and maintains and advances the causes of higher education.

The Alumni Association achieves its objectives by developing or contributing to programs and services that provide direct benefit to the alumni body as well as to the University. Such programs include alumni award and recognition programs, affinity service programs, Homecoming and Reunion events, alumni chapter organizations, and others.

Of particular impact is the financial support that the Association generates for La Salle by raising and contributing thousands of dollars each year to the Brother Patrick Ellis Alumni Scholarship Fund. The Association also helps in the recruitment of alumni volunteers who can offer important assistance to both the Association and to the University.

Below are a list of important milestones:

Early 1950s

Tom Hickey, ’48, becomes “all-purpose” alumni secretary, planning class reunions, chapter meetings, fundraising, and student placement.

1955

John L. McCloskey, ’48, is appointed to Assistant to the President, taking over alumni programming under the leadership of Brother E. Stanislaus, President of La Salle University.

1958

Brother Daniel Bernian, President of La Salle University, names McCloskey Vice President for Public Relations. Reporting to him, among other areas of the University, is the Alumni Relations Office.

1959

Joseph Hanley, ’59, is named Director of Alumni.

1961

Jim McDonald, ’58, is named Director of Alumni.

The quantity of alumni mailing addresses is less than 5,000.

The Hall of Athletes induction and program is established.

The annual Signum Fidei presentation, established in 1936, is awarded for the first time at a Communion dinner held on All Saints Day, Nov. 1.

1963

Highlighting the Centennial Commencement, the Alumni Association presents its first memorial award, named in honor of John J. Finley, ’24. The first presentation is to the family of Mr. Finley, accepted by his son, Peter Finley, ’53.

1964

Dan McGonigle, ’57, becomes the first Evening Division graduate to be elected President of the Alumni Association. The Alumni Association approves a “Homecoming Weekend” for the fall of 1964.

1965

The “Alumni Trustees,” consisting of the five past presidents of the Association, discuss the future direction of alumni. The group becomes the “Long Range Policy Committee.”

1966

The Alumni Relations Office, along with the Annual Fund Office, moves to a house at 5521 Wister St., where it will be located for 19 years.

Francis J. McGovern, ’66, is hired as the first full-time Assistant Director of Alumni Relations.

Anne C. Hughes joins the staff as Office Manager. Mrs. Hughes remains an indispensable part of the operation for 14 years.

1969

The first basketball dinners are held to celebrate the 1969 season coached by Tom Gola. The team finishes 23-1 and ranked second in the nation.

1970

Harry J. White, Ph.D., ’54, is elected President of the Alumni Association. White is the last President to be elected by the alumni body and the first to be elected by the Board.

1971

Bob Schaefer, ’54, becomes President of the Alumni Association and welcomes the first female member, Catherine (Callahan) Devlin, ’71.

1972

The Alumni Association is granted a seat on the University’s Board of Trustees. Harry J. White, Ph.D., ’54, is seated.

1980

The Alumni Association holds its first Book Fair.

1983

The Alumni Association supports La Salle’s administration in the pursuit of University status.

1984

The Golden Explorers Club begins for alumni graduating 50 years and before.

1988

The Alumni Association honors La Salle’s Olympians.

1989

The Alumni Office relocates to Benilde Hall, formerly located in between McShain Hall and Olney Hall. Benilde Hall was demolished in 2007 to make way for a renovated and expanded Holroyd Hall, featuring the Hugh and Nancy Devlin Center for Science and Technology, expected to be completed in fall 2009.

1990

The Warren E. Smith, Ph.D., ’54, Award is established to honor prominent African American alumni.

1991

Marianne S. Gauss, ’75, is elected the first woman President of the Alumni Association.

1992

The Dr. Eugene Gallagher Club becomes the Explorer Club under the direction of the Athletic Department.

1995

George J. “Bud” Dotsey, ’69, becomes Alumni Director, succeeding Jim McDonald, who had directed the office for 34 years.

1997

Intercollegiate football returns to La Salle with the support of the Alumni Association.

2000

The Alumni Association reorganizes to a central body of leaders made up of 21 elected directors and four appointed officers.

New bylaws are adopted for the Association.

2001

Jim Gulick, ’89, is hired as Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations.

Nearly 1,000 alumni vote in the first Alumni Association election for seven Board of Director positions. The elections are held each year to fill seven director positions.

2003

Approximately 35,600 alumni have active addresses in La Salle’s alumni database, and approximately 7,500 alumni have updated their e-mail addresses with the University.

2004

On Sept. 12, 2004, the Alumni Association is recognized for its continued financial support of the University. The Association is inducted into the De La Salle Society, which recognizes lifetime giving to the University in excess of $100,000.

2005

The mylasalle Alumni Portal is launched.

The alumni e-mail database reaches nearly 14,000.

2007

The Alumni Association participates in the successful completion of the Shoulder to Shoulder: Securing the Future, a major gift initiative to strengthen the endowment and raise money for a new science and technology center.

The Board of Directors introduces a new strategic plan prioritizing the Alumni Association’s initiatives for the next five years.

2008

With the help of the Alumni Association’s partnership and participation, the Annual Fund exceeds its goal, raising a record of more than $2.2 million for scholarships and financial aid.

2011

The newest Alumni Directory is completed and active addresses in La Salle’s alumni database reaches more than 45,000 and more than 20,000 alumni have updated e-mail addresses with the University.

2012

The Alumni Association launched a comprehensive Web site, “La Salle Alumni Online: Where Explorers Connect.”

2013

The Alumni Board election has a record number of voters both online and mailed ballots with a 25 percent increase from the previous year.

2014

The Alumni Association successfully negotiated a five-year contract with Liberty Mutual that will generate $80,000 in revenue and $20,000 in sponsorship money per year, totaling more than $500,000.

The Alumni Association completed a $44,000 renovation of the Lourdes Grotto on the Main Quad, featuring a new boulder wall, brick pointing, landscaping, and benches. Funding was also secured from the Arboretum Project for $4,000 and benches with engraved plaques were funded by Jerry Lezynksi, ’82; Marie, ’06, M.A. ’11, and Fran Cantwell, ’88; Charles Reynolds, ’70; Alpha Theta Alpha sorority in memory of Kaitlyn Wilson, ’14; and the Alumni Association in honor of Br. Michael McGinniss, Ph.D. ,’70.

2015

The Alumni Association wrote an updated version of the 2002 Strategic Plan focusing on four key initiatives:

  • Increase the number of alumni who “give back” and get connected to La Salle University through volunteer opportunities.
  • Foster more alumni engagement by providing more relevant content promoting multiple aspects of La Salle University in all communication vehicles.
  • Develop innovative affinity programming to enhance connections and engage more alumni to come back to La Salle.
  • Engage alumni in the career/recruiting process identifying priorities and implementing initiatives that will be most beneficial to furthering student and alumni careers

2017

Alumni Association President AmyLynn Flood, ‘95 collaborated with Dr. Colleen Hanycz to have the Peale House become the official alumni house on campus.  Funding was secured by the Alumni Association to complete renovations and to have a dedicated space to recognize La Salle’s Fulbright Scholars.

2018

The Alumni House at Peale House was officially dedicated on April 23, 2018.