La Salle News

La Salle University Starts its 150th Year and Will Host a Year-long Series of Events to Mark the Occasion

August 23, 2012

La Salle University begins its 150 year when freshmen arrive at the dorms on August 23, and the University will be celebrating its heritage with a year-long series of events, including a proclamation by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter at opening convocation, a Lasallian Day of Service, an honorary degree to be conferred upon Archbishop Charles J. Chaput at Honors Convocation, and the appearance of Pulitzer Prize historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

A continuing theme of La Salle’s history is a strong commitment to service in the community. On Saturday, September. 29, students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends will collaborate to volunteer their time with a number of organizations locally, nationally, and internationally during the Lasallian Day of Service.

“Part of our Lasallian heritage is about faith, service, and community. As a campus community, we pride ourselves on the service we do,” said Brother Bob Kinzler, F.S.C., Director of University Ministry and Service.

In recent years, La Salle students have contributed more than 50,000 hours of service annually to the local community. The Day of Service will provide an opportunity to highlight what La Salle students do on a regular basis and enable the La Salle community to share that gift in a different way. It’s a chance to get the whole community involved,” said.  Kinzler said. Recently, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching selected La Salle for its 2010 Community Engagement Classification.

The Day of Service will be a wide-scale organized effort for students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends to volunteer at more than 45 local sites as well as alumni clubs in Bucks, Chester, and Montgomery counties, South Jersey, Washington, D.C., New York, N.Y., St. Louis, Mo., Chicago, Ill., San Francisco, Calif., Boston, Mass., and Yakima, Wash. Other sites will be added in the coming weeks. Volunteers are encouraged to sign up for a location on the 150th anniversary Web site, www.lasalle.edu/150.

“Alumni from clubs and chapters across the U.S. and overseas will volunteer for the Day of Service by participating in painting, landscaping, working with children or elderly, and helping to renovate schools,” said Trey Ulrich, Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations. “There are plenty of activities for people to get involved in, and it will be a great opportunity for alumni and students to work together in the community.”

La Salle has also commissioned a history of the University, written by Emeritus Professor and 1958 graduate Dr. John Rossi. It will be available in late September.

“The phrase “Living the Promise”—which is both the title of this book and the theme of our sesquicentennial celebration—is our way of saying that while La Salle has grown and adapted to meet the circumstances and needs of the times, we have been faithful to our mission,” said University President Br. Michael McGinniss, F.S.C.

“Let us remember and thank those whose leadership, example, and accomplishments have made La Salle what it has been and continues to be—faculty, staff, alumni, students, parents, friends, and benefactors. Their roles have been essential to this University,” said Br. Michael.

“The La Salle University of today is a vibrant and continuously evolving learning community with a bright future. It is truly a blessing and a privilege to be in this position at this historic time,” said Br. Michael.

At opening convocation on August 23, Mayor Nutter will present a proclamation recognizing
La Salle and its 150th anniversary.

Other highlights of the celebration include Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput accepting an honorary degree during Honors Convocation on October 7. At the Alumni Awards Dinner on November 16, Sean Callahan, Executive Vice President for Overseas Operations for Catholic Relief Services (CRS), will accept the Signum Fidei Medal on behalf of CRS for its work in advancing humanitarian principles.

On March 21, 2013, during La Salle’s Heritage Week celebration, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin will present “Civil War and Philadelphia.”

According to La Salle English Professor James Butler, “La Salle University’s 150th Anniversary Committee decided on several themes to emphasize in the events of our celebratory year. Among them, of course, was the all-important role of the Christian Brothers, but we also wanted to highlight our relationship with Philadelphia and our founding during the Civil War. After all, about six weeks after La Salle received its charter, General Lee began to plan his invasion of Pennsylvania.

“Our Committee aimed high in our quest for a speaker on “Philadelphia and the Civil War,” and we compiled a short list of the nation’s foremost interpreters of that time period. After lively debate, we selected Doris Kearns Goodwin, a Pulitzer Prize winner in history, a distinguished political commentator, and the author of several books, including Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. It is a happy coincidence (and a definite audience builder) that Ms. Goodwin’s work on Lincoln will be much in the news at the end of 2012 and the start of 2013. A movie based on that book will then be in theaters, and it has plenty of star power: Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field (all three are winners of multiple Oscars) with a script by Pulitzer-Prize-winner Tony Kushner.”

“Anniversary celebrations are always about the future as well as the past, and we also like that Ms. Goodwin’s book raises issues of how to govern in a highly partisan environment, a problem that did not die with the assassination of a president in Ford’s Theater.

“We are absolutely delighted that Doris Kearns Goodwin will be the University community’s Heritage Week speaker as we celebrate La Salle’s 150th anniversary.”


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