Spring is finally here and I’m delighted to share a few updates and news items with you.
As they have done for 41 years, our students traveled to Harlan, Kentucky over Spring Break, partnering with Christian Outreach for Appalachian People on home development programs for low-income families. Other Explorers went to North Carolina, supporting Habitat for Humanity’s critical work, and others spent the week in Texas participating in El Otro Lado, a border immersion experience supporting communities with incredible challenges. Our students’ efforts, and those of the faculty and staff colleagues who traveled with them, serve as strong witness to our Lasallian mission in action, reflecting our commitment to service rooted in solidarity and justice.
As another academic year comes to a close, we continue to embrace strategic change and reinvention to position our students and the University to thrive. We’ve made significant progress in accomplishing key initiatives of Momentum 2022, our five-year strategic plan: our new core curriculum is set to launch in Fall 2018, advancing mastery of our 15 institutional learning outcomes; we partnered with the School District of Philadelphia on a transformative dual enrollment, college credit program; we launched a comprehensive, integrated freshmen orientation program to rave reviews, and more. All indications point to another incoming class of well over 900 students, fueling campus-wide growth and renewal.
Yet, amidst all of this transformation, the University remains tethered to our Lasallian Catholic heritage and to the pursuit of excellence in all that we do. Together and by association, in the classroom, in the lab, in the field, in the community and beyond, we strive as a community of inclusive learners to advance the common good by providing an education firmly rooted in the Liberal Arts and Sciences. As we approach the 300th anniversary of the death of St. John Baptist de La Salle in 2019, the founding story continues to animate our work as we seek to answer the pressing questions of this generation, and to prepare our students to lead in the next.
And while our mission remains constant, we have re-articulated our mission statement:
La Salle is a Lasallian Catholic University committed to the principle that all knowledge is practical and empowering, filled with the capacity to transform lives. Anchored in the living tradition of the Brothers of the Christian Schools and in association with a diverse and inclusive learning community, our mission is to educate the whole person by fostering a rigorous free search for truth.
La Salle, in affirming the value of both liberal arts and professional studies, prepares students for the lifelong pursuit and exploration of wisdom, knowledge, and faith that lead to engaged and fulfilling lives marked by a commitment to the common good.
To this restatement, we have added the adoption of four core values that animate our mission statement: teaching and learning, a spirit of faith and zeal, service rooted in solidarity and justice, and association. This work, led by a committed University-wide steering committee, culminated in approval by La Salle’s Board of Trustees, and was presented to the community last month as we launched our annual Mission and Heritage celebrations.
I encourage you to consider these new articulations of the mission and values of La Salle University mission-and-heritage, our current attempt to express the commitments that La Salle University has been living out since 1863 as a diverse community of educators and learners in the service of humanity.
I wish you a beautiful spring and a blessed Easter season as we renew our faith, celebrating Christ’s victory over death and the promise of eternal life. In the words of Saint Augustine, “And he departed from our sight that we might return to our heart, and there find Him. For he departed, and behold, He is here.” St. John Baptist de La Salle; pray for Us.
Live Jesus in our hearts; forever.
Colleen M. Hanycz, Ph.D.