The 2016-17 academic year was remarkable. Remaining true to our Lasallian heritage of blazing bold new paths and driving meaningful change in the world, La Salle disrupted the status quo in higher education as we addressed—strategically and swiftly—the current challenges facing many private universities.
We shifted the paradigm on college affordability. We committed to robust student learning outcomes and redefined teaching excellence. We launched a refreshed brand to better tell our magnificent story, while examining every facet of our work as we cultivated a culture of continuous improvement. As a community, we have taken inspiration from St. John Baptist de La Salle to manage, and in fact, embrace great change. And every single effort was made with a collective commitment to ensuring an extraordinary experience for the students we serve.
The outcomes of this work have been amazing. La Salle’s leadership is being recognized regionally and nationally, energizing our community as it has recommitted to a shared Explorer heritage. There is a new ‘buzz’ on our campus that is palpable, and all of us are conscious that we are part of something meaningful.
In our sector, change is most certainly the new norm. It is not without its challenges, but those are far outweighed by the extraordinary opportunities that are presented. Opportunities to lead, to innovate, to examine. Opportunities to disrupt, to reorder, and to evolve. And throughout this change, a recognition that what is most important about our Catholic Lasallian mission and identity will remain firmly in place.
In June, our Board of Trustees approved the University’s next strategic plan, Momentum 2022. This blueprint for even greater transformation and impact will build upon our achievements, propelling La Salle forward to claim its place as a national leader in exceptional student outcomes. If the year ahead is anything like the year behind, I can guarantee a very exciting time indeed!
Colleen M. Hanycz, Ph.D.
President, La Salle University
As “Good to Great” author Jim Collins noted: “Tremendous power exists in the fact of continued improvement and the delivery of results.” The six major efforts below—strategic, impactful, visionary—created massive forward momentum for La Salle, as well as unstoppable enthusiasm and energy throughout the year.
Through Strategic Program Prioritization—a highly collaborative process—La Salle faculty and staff evaluated 300-plus academic and operational programs to promote alignment between the University’s programs, resources, and mission. As a result, 15 strategic initiatives were developed around four distinct themes that position the University, and more importantly, our students for future success. A few examples include adopting new Institutional Learning Outcomes, implementing a robust Career Services Program, and establishing the De La Salle Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.
From our Catholic and Lasallian values to our 70 Fulbright scholars, legendary athletic teams, and diverse community of innovative teachers and learners, La Salle remains what it has always been: an exceptional college experience that yields remarkable outcomes. That said, Explorers are Never Lost, our new University tagline and brand campaign, tells La Salle’s story of relentlessly supporting our students as they blaze their own paths in a compelling new way. The refreshed brand hit home with prospective students, and won national awards for creativity and impact. Most importantly, it won the hearts of Explorers everywhere.
The average college debt in 2016 was $37,172, which takes an average of 21 years to pay off. Enough already. Through An Affordable Path for All, La Salle reduced undergraduate tuition by 29 percent effective fall 2017—back to what students paid in 2008. A transformative La Salle education is now more accessible and affordable. This game-changing program also increased awareness of La Salle nationwide, positioned us as a leader in college affordability, and served as an afterburner for recruitment efforts.
Thanks to the largest number of applications received in La Salle’s history, the incoming freshman class is on track to be one of the largest in decades, the most talented academically, and the most diverse by every measure. These impressive achievements resulted from new enrollment strategies, re-envisioned marketing, compelling brand messaging, more touch points, flawless execution, and the steadfast support of the entire Explorer community: faculty, staff, Christian Brothers, students, and our fabulous alums—the ultimate closers—who interviewed high school students coast to coast sharing their own La Salle stories.
Beginning fall 2017, TruMark Financial® Credit Union will provide free financial literacy workshops and affordable financial products/services at a new student-operated full service branch in the La Salle Union. TruMark Financial also presented La Salle with a generous gift for the naming rights to the University’s major athletic facility. The Tom Gola Arena at the Hayman Center will now be known as the Tom Gola Arena at the TruMark Financial Center. And there’s more good news: TruMark Financial will also make scholarships available to La Salle students.
True to our mission and academic vision, La Salle developed a new core curriculum that exceeded what the accrediting agencies require. As a result, future Explorers will face the world with an expanded and highly relevant set of Institutional Learning Outcomes—15 in total—that every undergraduate must master, regardless of his or her major. Examples include the ability to solve significant problems, understand diverse perspectives, deeply engage with others, integrate prior learning, and read and think critically. Students will take core courses spread across their four years, including a first year seminar, and a religion/theology class, among others.
La Salle has educated talented students from a wide variety of academic backgrounds for more than 150 years. As a teaching innovator, St. John Baptist de La Salle was dedicated to meeting students where they are, a core principle that continues to guide our education philosophy. It is this approach that landed La Salle’s fifth-place ranking on Money magazine’s 50 Colleges That Add the Most Value List: “What’s impressive is when a college helps students do far better than would be expected from their academic and economic backgrounds.”
La Salle’s steps toward re-envisioning students’ academic experience yielded 15 strategic initiatives organized around four themes: Confirming our Core Mission and Distinct Learning Outcomes; Seeding Innovation in Teaching and Learning; Optimizing Strategic Collaborations; and Embracing a Culture of Evidence-Based Planning and Assessment. Under the umbrella of Seeding Innovation in Teaching, for example, interdisciplinary centers of excellence in teaching, research, and service will be created. Additionally, the De La Salle Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning, which supports excellence in teaching via workshops and seminars to promote and share pedagogical best practices and innovation, will be established.
In recognition of his dedication to excellence in teaching, David Falcone, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, was presented the 2017 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching at La Salle’s undergraduate Commencement ceremony in May 2017. Falcone has been teaching at La Salle since 1980, instructing undergraduate and graduate courses in general psychology, developmental psychology, personality theories, statistics, cognitive development, and methodology, among others. Of Falcone, one student wrote: “Best teacher ever! Makes learning fun and helps you understand hard concepts easily.”
Charles Gallagher, Ph.D., professor and chair of La Salle’s Sociology and Criminal Justice Department, spent the Fall 2016 semester at the University of Birmingham (UK) as a Fulbright Research Scholar. His research involved conducting several interviews on residents’ views on immigration, given the unprecedented global diversity Britain has experienced in recent years. As a nationally-recognized expert on race relations, immigration, and social injustice, Gallagher is frequently called upon as a media source for commentary and analysis on these issues.
Out of more than 1,000 U.S. colleges and universities, The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education ranked La Salle University in the top 300 in its inaugural College Rankings 2017. The ranking was based on 100,000 student responses covering a range of issues, including students’ engagement with their studies, interaction with their teachers, and satisfaction with their experiences. The overall methodology explored four key areas: outcomes, resources, engagement, and environment.
For the first time in the University’s history, La Salle’s School of Business was included in The Princeton Review’s Best 294 Business Schools listing. The Princeton Review—well-known for its college rankings in dozens of categories—surveyed 25,000 students nationwide. Additionally, U.S. News and World Report included La Salle’s Part-Time MBA program in their 2018 edition of Best Graduate Schools.
La Salle’s Neighborhood Nursing Center received the 2017 Public Health Recognition Award from Philadelphia’s College of Physicians for their substantial contributions to the health community. Operated for more than 25 years by the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, it is one of the oldest nurse-led wellness centers in the country and cares for at-risk families through screenings, immunization programs, disease-prevention services, and specialist referrals.
2016 - Forbes “America’s Best Value College” Top 300
2016 - Money magazine, fifth on the list of “The 50 Colleges That Add the Most Value”
2017 - The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education
Top 300 Colleges
2017 – The New York Times, top 8% nationally for the share of children who were from the bottom fifth of incomes as students and moved to the top fifth as adults
2017 – The New York Times, top 6% for median income of graduates at age 34
2018 – Best Part-Time MBA Programs by U.S. News & World Report
La Salle doesn’t just provide students with a degree. It gives them an education, inside and outside the classroom. With the guidance to blaze their own path, Explorers go into the world with certainty and purpose as confident, impactful, and productive global citizens.
We believe if students work hard, they should play hard, too. This year, students chose from hundreds of co-curricular activities and events, including some spectacular new programming from the Division of Student Affairs. Students experienced even more of the popular Late Night La Salle events, Campus Movie Fest, Greek Week, and a Women’s Leadership Conference organized and run by students, start to finish. The newly-renovated Hansen Quad and Union Patio were also campus hotspots for students to relax, eat, and study.
In 2016-17, hundreds of La Salle students traveled across the globe for classes and community service projects. Through our study abroad programs and travel study courses, students saw the world from new perspectives and absorbed different cultures. Whether rebuilding impoverished homes or mentoring children in underserved communities in Haiti, Explorers learned the true value of social justice during our many service immersion trips throughout the year.
Robert McDonough, ’17, became La Salle’s 70th Fulbright Scholar. An economics major with double minors in mathematics and German, Robert will spend one year studying the relationship between Austrian translator Nora Wydenbruck and poet Christine Lavant at the Alpen-Aria Universaität Klagenfurt in Austria.
Hannah Brough, ’18, was one of 273 nationwide students named a 2017 Newman Civic Fellow. A communication sciences and disorders major and leader in social justice issues, Hannah’s fellowship is a one-year learning and networking experience emphasizing personal, professional, and civic growth.
La Salle’s Community Building Team had a banner year, successfully holding two of its signature events for neighbors and community partners. At the Martin Luther King, Jr. Interfaith Service, musicians and speakers came together to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy and its meaning today. Additionally, hundreds of local residents attended the University’s Community Health Fair where La Salle students and faculty provided free health screenings and critical public health information.
Kenneth Brewer, ’17, and RJ Laulhati, ’16, were selected by the prestigious Stanford University Innovation Fellows program as two of 24 team members for their Silicon Valley Meetup in March 2017. They were selected from a community of 1,000 fellows for the impact they’ve made at La Salle including leadership roles in Enactus, a group of entrepreneurial-minded academic and business leaders, and helping to launch the University’s Innovation Factory.
In May, 849 undergraduates and 648 graduate students gathered in caps and gowns to celebrate their achievements. At the undergraduate ceremony, Commencement speaker, Jack DiMatteo, ’17, reminded students of their calling to the FSC tradition—faith, service, and community and The Philadelphia Inquirer sports columnist, Mike Sielski, ’97, received an honorary doctoral degree. Hannah Datz, ’10, VP North America at SAP Hybris stood as the graduate Commencement speaker and gave students advice on staying hungry and humble.
La Salle is serious about our sports and the traditions around them. Whether we’re taking on the Villanova Wildcats at the Palestra, partnering with powerhouse brands, or honoring the legends who made history, Explorer pride is the heart of our University. It’s hard not to cheer “Go Explorers!” as our Division I teams and Athletics Department continue to work to set the bar higher year after year.
The return of Explorer standout, Bill Bradshaw, ’69, as Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation has made a tremendous impact with La Salle fans. Bradshaw has over 36 years experience as a NCAA Division I athletic director, first at La Salle (1978-1986), then DePaul (1986-2002), and most recently at Temple (2002-2013). During his last stint as Athletic Director, the Explorers won 28 conference championships, and made NCAA tournament appearances in men’s basketball three times and twice in women’s basketball.
At 88 percent, La Salle’s student-athlete graduation success rate outscores the national average of 86 percent for NCAA Division I schools. Additionally, the NCAA recognized six La Salle athletic teams for their academic excellence. Men’s basketball, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, men’s track and field, women’s cross country, and women’s track and field all received NCAA Academic Progress Rate Public Recognition Awards for ranking in their sport’s top ten percent academically.
Explorer great Lionel Simmons, ’90, was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. As the third-highest scorer in NCAA basketball history, Simmons remains the only collegiate player to score more than 3,000 points and pull more than 1,100 rebounds. After La Salle, Simmons was the NBA’s seventh overall draft pick, spending seven seasons with the Sacramento Kings where he averaged 12.8 points per game.
La Salle women’s basketball head coach, Jeff Williams, was named the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year after leading his team to one of the biggest turnarounds in college basketball this season. After finishing the previous season with a 5-25 record, Williams led his team to a 17-13 season.
With a new partnership in place, Under Armour will become the official outfitter of all Explorer athletic teams, marking the first time in school history La Salle has entered into an all-sport agreement. Under Armour will provide uniforms and training footwear to all 25 of La Salle’s Division I teams and 465 student athletes.
The combined performance of La Salle’s men’s and women’s basketball teams this season was the fourth most improved in the NCAA Division I, with the second most combined wins between the two programs at La Salle since 1993.
Steven Davis, '83 (Men's Tennis), Stash Graham, '05 (Men's Soccer), Kelli McGahey, '93 (Women's Field Hockey and Softball), Connie Newman, '60 (Men's Baseball) and Cheryl Reeve, '88, MBA '90, (Women's Basketball) were inducted into La Salle's Hall of Athletes in February 2017.
A student’s years at La Salle are dedicated to fostering the Explorer within, coaxing out an academically curious, socially conscious, global citizen. In the years following Commencement, alumni take those experiences and enter the world ready to make their mark. With an alumni community of 50,000-plus strong, the groundswell of achievement coming from La Salle graduates is unstoppable.
For his considerable and constant support of his alma mater, Paul J. Burgoyne, Esq., '70, Deputy Chief of Pennsylvania's Office of Disciplinary Counsel, received the John J. Finley, '24 Award, given by the La Salle Alumni Association to a graduate who has provided great service to the University.
Kennedy Health President and CEO, Joseph W. Devine, FACHE, '79 received the prestigious Signum Fidei Medal from the La Salle Alumni Association at its annual Alumni Awards Dinner. Presented each year since 1942 to individuals or groups for upholding the humanitarian principles, goals, and mission of La Salle University and the Christian Brothers, the Signum Fidei Medal derives its name from the motto of the Brothers of the Christian Schools: "Sign of Faith."
David Murphy, ’05, of The Philadelphia Daily News and Mike Sielski, ’97, columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer, were both named among the Associated Press Top 10 Sports Columnists in the nation.
Cheryl Reeve, ’88, MBA ’90, was again named WNBA Coach of the Year. The first time was in 2011. Head Coach of the Minnesota Lynx, Reeve led her team to their fifth WNBA Finals appearance in six seasons, taking home championships in 2011, 2013, and 2015. Reeve was also inducted into La Salle’s Hall of Athletes in February 2017.
In October 2016, William “Bill” Sasso, Esq., ’69, was named to the Philadelphia Business Journal’s “Power 76” list of the most influential people in the region. Sasso has served as Chairman of Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP, one of the Philadelphia region’s most prestigious law firms, since 1994, and is a member of La Salle’s Board of Trustees.
Judy Spires, ’75, MBA ’09, Chairman and CEO of KB Holding, Inc., a Delaware-based investment firm that owns Kings Super Markets and Balducci’s, was selected as the 2016 Top Women in Grocery Trailblazer from Progressive Grocer and the Chicago-based Network of Executive Women. Spires has spent her entire career in the supermarket industry, and most recently served as the CEO of Acme Markets.
From the launch of the President’s Strategic Initiative Fund to our landmark relationship with TruMark Financial, La Salle’s development team completed a record-setting fundraising year—the highest total in five years.
The dedication and naming ceremony of La Salle’s School of Business building unveiled the new facility as Founders’ Hall. The renaming was reflective of the philanthropic support of donors, as well as the Christian Brothers who founded and led the University for over 150 years. The ceremony also included the naming of the beautiful glass atrium as the Edward J., ’63, and Darlene P. Fierko Atrium in recognition of their impactful gift to La Salle. The main plaza of Founders’ Hall was dedicated to the late Michael J. DeAngelis, a legendary professor of accounting and recipient of the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.
The Maguire Foundation committed a $1.25 million endowment for La Salle which will provide permanent financial support to students who are Maguire Scholars. La Salle announced it will match dollar-for-dollar this commitment to create the $2.5 million Maguire Endowed Scholars Program – one of the largest endowed scholarships in the University’s history.
March 23 marked La Salle’s fourth annual Day of Giving in which just over 1,600 donors raised more than $231,000, with an average gift of $171 to the La Salle Fund in 24 hours. Countless students, alums, faculty, staff, and friends shared their most cherished La Salle memories and photos on social media for a Throwback Thursday the University won’t soon forget.
One of the University’s most prominent campus-enhancing projects included tearing down McShain Hall. In its place now stands an open green space with café tables for students, faculty, and staff to work, eat, meet, and study. Loungers and hammocks are popular places where students can often be found mingling between classes. In the fall, the space was dedicated “The Hansen Quad,” to honor longtime University supporter and former Trustee E.F. “Bud” Hansen, ’58, who passed away in March 2016.
Since 1993, La Salle has celebrated its March 20, 1863 founding with the annual Charter Dinner, which has raised over $4.5 million for University scholarships. This year, Donna Massanova, CPA, ’00, was honored with the Lasallian Leadership Award in recognition of her outstanding commitment to shaping the quality of life in her community. A new award was introduced—the Lasallian Impact Award, which was presented to IMC Construction and accepted by President and CEO Robert Cottone.
Athletics wrapped up the year with record breaking annual support overall—a nearly 20 percent increase in dollars raised. Particularly, the men’s basketball and women’s lacrosse programs garnered significant support. For the first time, courtside seating in Tom Gola Arena was introduced to provide fans with an enhanced experience at basketball games.