Over the past 155 years, La Salle University has continued to grow and evolve while staying true to our core mission. These noteworthy achievements from the 2017-2018 academic year serve not only as a reminder of the far-reaching impact that La Salle makes on students, the community, and the world abroad, but also to highlight the many people and contributors whose passion, conviction, and hard work it takes to make it all possible.
La Salle University was established in 1863 through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Brothers of the Christian Schools teaching order, which St. La Salle founded in 1680. La Salle University is an educational community shaped by traditional Catholic and Lasallian values, dedicated to social justice, and has been consistently recognized for excellence and value by U.S. News & World Report, The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education, Money magazine, Forbes, The New York Times, and The Princeton Review.
As “Good to Great” author Jim Collins noted: “Tremendous power exists in the fact of continued improvement and the delivery of results.” The four major efforts below—strategic, impactful, visionary—created massive forward momentum for La Salle, as well as unstoppable enthusiasm and energy throughout the year.
A new era for La Salle University’s basketball programs began in spring 2018 with the hiring of Ashley Howard as the 19th head coach of the men’s basketball program, and Mountain MacGillivray as the ninth head coach in women's basketball history. Howard served as the top assistant coach to Jay Wright at Villanova University. During his tenure, Howard was instrumental in helping the Wildcats win two NCAA National Championships and setting a NCAA record for the most wins in a four-year span. MacGillivray is a Philadelphia native who helped lead Quinnipiac University to seven straight 20-win seasons and a trip to the Sweet 16 in 2017. Both coaches are exceptional coaching talents who have deep understandings of both La Salle’s basketball tradition and its important student-focused mission.
Earlier in the school year, La Salle and Saxbys joined forces to offer a unique educational opportunity to students: In spring 2018, a Saxbys café opened on campus in Founders’ Hall that is entirely operated and managed by students as part of the Saxbys Experiential Learning Program (ELP). Every six months, one La Salle student is selected to work as the Café Executive Officer, known as the Student CEO. This student follows a curriculum of academic coursework concurrent with their tenure, and is responsible for making decisions on financial management, team development, community leadership, and the overall operations of the cafe. Student CEOs leading the café will earn a full semester of academic credit via a specially-designed credit schedule. Entrepreneurial opportunities like this further prepare students for life after La Salle by helping them master traits like resilience, persistence, and the ability to pivot in unforeseen circumstances—skills that will help them succeed in their professional and personal lives.
La Salle University Advancement and the Alumni Association inaugurated the Alumni House at Peale House, serving as a welcoming place for alumni to visit, gather, and enjoy special events on campus on April 21. Owned by American artist, scientist, and inventor Charles Willson Peale from 1810-1826, the house was then lived in by the Wister Family and their descendants until the University purchased it in 1984. The property was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965, and until 2016, it housed the Office of the President. La Salle alumni are a vital and important part of the Explorer community and history. Alumni House at Peale House—the only dedicated alumni building of its kind in Philadelphia—welcomes them back to campus warmly and graciously for generations to come.
Two leading factors that impact first year retention at colleges and universities across the country are financial readiness and level of engagement. In an effort to increase student retention, La Salle hosted its first-ever Explorientation program, a week-long orientation for first-year and transfer students. The week included a series of events, social gatherings, and information sessions that allow students to meet and interact with one another and get to know the campus.
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.
Following national searches, the University named new leaders for two of its three academic schools. MarySheila E. McDonald, J.D., was named Dean of the School of Business in July 2017 after serving as Interim Dean since January 2017 and Associate Dean since March 2011. McDonald has been responsible for maintaining the AACSB accreditation for the School of Business and creating the Dean’s Student Advisory Board. She established the Delta Sigma Pi professional fraternity, now the largest student organization in the school. Under her watch, the School of Business made the Princeton Review’s list of Best Business Schools 2017 and 2018.
In April 2018, the University named Pamela Barnett, Ph.D. the new Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. For three years beginning in 2014, Barnett was the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Trinity Washington University. Among her many achievements there, she articulated the vision and created a holistic strategic plan for student enrollment and retention; led faculty through a first-year general education curriculum redesign and implementation; initiated and implemented adoption of a new professional advising model; and created the structure and support for robust faculty development.
Out of more than 1,000 U.S. colleges and universities, The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education have once again ranked La Salle in the Top 300 in its second annual college rankings. The ranking is based on the results of the Times Higher Education U.S. student survey, which examines responses from more than 100,000 current college students on a range of key issues, including engagement with their studies, interactions with their professors, and overall satisfaction with their experiences. The full methodology explores four key areas: outcomes, resources, engagement, and environment.
“La Salle University continues to stand out because of the transformational experience provided to each and every student,” said President Colleen M. Hanycz. “The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education have once again recognized what makes a La Salle education so unique: our students join a diverse community of learners and embark on a rigorous educational experience designed to foster theoretical and practical knowledge, deepen ethical sensibilities, and prepare for a lifetime of success. We position our graduates to achieve more and to enter the world with certainty and purpose as confident, impactful, and productive global citizens.”
Through La Salle’s new Higher Education Initiative, the Explorer educational experience is available to talented and promising area high school students, allowing them to earn college credit while simultaneously attending high school. The dual-credit programs include: Diocesan Scholars, consisting of students attending Catholic high schools from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia; Transformation Scholars, which reserves half the spaces for first generation college students; Community Scholars, which enrolls students from the School District of Philadelphia; and Travel Study Partners, which allows high school students to travel to travel to another part of the globe earning college credit. The Higher Education Initiative secured $100,000 in funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Education allowing students to attend the Summer Scholars program free of charge, including the cost of books.
The Master of Business Administration program at La Salle University’s School of Business has the sixth highest employment rate in the nation, according to a new study from U.S. News & World Report. Among the 127 MBA programs ranked, the employment rate for La Salle graduates three months after graduation is 95.8 percent.
This is the second time La Salle’s Full-Time MBA Program has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report for excellence in job placement after graduation. The School of Business has previously been named to The Princeton Review’s Best Business Schools 2017 and 2018, and its Part-Time Hybrid MBA was included in U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 and 2019 editions of Best Graduate Schools.
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.
Be @ 3 was an new initiative introduced to students during their first month on campus, encouraging them to investigate three types of student organizations (social, academic, and wellness) during their first semester. This program evolved into Fast PASS, a year-long engagement initiative that tracked student participation in campus events which fostered Personal, Academic, Social and Service growth and development. As students’ participation is tracked in these campus programs using new software, data will be collected and studied to learn how and why their engagement affects retention.
La Salle is the recipient of a three-year Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention Grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Systems Administration. The grant is worth over $300,000. The primary purpose of the La Salle Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention Project is to reduce the potential for deaths of students due to suicide or alcohol/drug overdose by increasing outreach to our most vulnerable students; increasing bystander interventions by faculty, staff, and friends and increasing help-seeking behaviors by students in need. Grant recipients were required to demonstrate both the need for the grant and the infrastructure to support a potential increase in demand for services.
Living Learning Communities (LLC) are on-campus residential communities designed to enhance and enrich student experience by strengthening academic success, cultivating a supportive environment, and providing an even greater sense of community through unique opportunities for faculty and student interaction around specific interests. The LLCs make the transition to college easier by allowing students to live with other first-year students with similar interests, hobbies, and lifestyles. The program launched with four different LLCs including Wellness and Mindful Living, Creative and Performing Arts, World Cultures, and Signum Fidei – faith, service, and community based living.
La Salle signed an agreement launching a station-less bike share program. The first bikes arrived to campus in April 2018 and students, faculty, and staff have been taking full advantage. Over 100 station-less orange bikes are available for on- campus rides at just a dollar per half hour. Other very affordable cost packages are available, too. This program will allow for more students to take advantage of the bikes, either to get from one end of the 133-acre campus to the other, or to take them out for a leisurely ride.
Public Safety worked closely with IT and Facilities staff to upgrade over 100 CCTV cameras around campus from analog to digital, which improved image quality and maximized data storage capacity. Along with the camera upgrades, the three departments completed renovation of the Dispatch Center in the Carriage House featuring a video wall and upgraded computers. Recently, the University changed its emergency notification system to Rave: a web-based system that can send out text, voice and email notifications to La Salle Community members quickly. The University also rolled out Rave Guardian which provides two-way texting between public safety officers and anyone with the app on their phone. It includes one-touch phone connection with 9-1-1 and/or Public Safety and the capacity to set-up online “Guardians” to provide virtual escorts to students. All of these enhancements have worked together to make Public Safety more efficient in communicating with students and making campus a safer place.
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.
At 90 percent, La Salle’s student-athlete graduation success rate outscores the national average of 87 percent for NCAA Division I schools. Additionally, the NCAA recognized three La Salle athletic teams for their academic excellence. Men’s basketball, women’s basketball and men’s tennis received NCAA Academic Progress Rate Public Recognition Awards for ranking in their sport’s top ten percent academically. 2017-18 marked the fourth straight year La Salle’s men’s basketball team has won the award.
Under the direction of Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year Paul Royal, the La Salle women’s soccer team matched a program record with 17 victories en route to the program’s fifth NCAA Tournament appearance. The Explorers went undefeated against Atlantic 10 competition (12-0-1) and set a new single-season school record with 48 goals. Senior goalkeeper Larisa Zambelli took home MVP honors at the A-10 Tournament, tying a final record with 14 saves against VCU.
In addition to the numerous hours La Salle student-athletes put in on the playing fields and in the classroom, our Explorers also make time to support the Philadelphia community. All told, varsity student-athletes accumulated nearly 900 hours of community service and had a number of key initiatives including a fundraiser for the victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and a partnership with Athletes Helping Athletes, an organization that connects local special needs athletes with mainstream student-athletes in a spirit of friendship for their mutual benefit and inspiration.
Along with the key hires made to oversee the men's and women's basketball teams, La Salle Athletics has brought a fresh outlook to a number of other programs this academic year. Former Major League Baseball first-round draft pick David Miller and 2008 Atlantic Player of the Year Brooke Darreff were tabbed in the summer of 2017 to lead the baseball and softball programs, respectively. Kelly Broadway, a former assistant at Villanova and Temple, was brought in as the new head field hockey coach this spring, and changes were also made in men's and women's tennis (Chad Hamilton), men's and women's golf (Scott Yurgalevicz), and men's and women's water polo programs during 2017-18.
La Salle Athletics generated a record amount of revenue from multiple streams during the 2017-18 school year. Fundraising donations, ticket sales and corporate sponsorship revenues are directly used by the 25 varsity sport programs to support over 500 student-athletes within the Department of Athletics.
La Salle University took steps to enhance the overall well-being of the Department of Athletics in December, as an ad hoc committee of trustees, alumni, faculty and staff was formed to meet with consultants from Inter-Collegiate Athletic Consulting. The firm was hired to review operations, investments, and identify areas of improvement in order for the University to make a series of strategic recommendations for Athletics to advance the priorities of the University.
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.
In June 2017, Paula Krebs, Ph.D., was named Executive Director of the Modern Language Association of America. Krebs graduated from La Salle with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a minor in Women's Studies in 1980. The Modern Language Association of America works to promote the study and teaching of languages and literatures through programs, publications, an annual convention, and advocacy work
For her considerable and constant support of her alma mater, Susan Altamore Carusi, ‘82, 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.
Five of La Salle University’s most distinguished alumni were named to the 2017 Philadelphia Business Journal POWER 100 list: William Sasso, ’69, Chairman of Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young and current member of La Salle University’s Board of Trustees; Dwight Evans, ’75, U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania’s Second District; Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, ’80; Steve Zarrilli, ’83, President and CEO of Safeguard Scientifics and Chairman of La Salle’s Board of Trustees; and John Grady, ’89, President of Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation. The POWER 100 list recognizes the most influential people with the most impact in the Greater Philadelphia region, as determined by the PBJ’s editorial board
The Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation’s 2018 Distinguished Teachers awardees included three of La Salle’s education alumni: Dana Cohen, ’13, of Greenberg Elementary; Paula Crawford, ’07, of the U School; and Jennifer Gallagher, ’00, of Widener Memorial School. The Foundation established the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teachers to honor 60 teachers from Philadelphia public schools who demonstrate excellence in promoting learning at the highest levels. The award recipients are chosen based on their activities that improve the intellectual and character development of students.
Five of La Salle’s alumni were named to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Influencers of Finance list: John Grady, ‘89, President, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation; Dan Fitzpatrick, ’86, President, Mid-Atlantic & Head of Industry Verticals, Citizens Bank; Carol Hunt, ’85, Vice President of Finance, Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority; Christine McGinley, ’93, Managing Director, UBS Financial Services; and Matt Topley, MBA ’01, Chief Investment Officer, Fortis Wealth. The 2018 Influencers of Finance list recognizes financial leaders who help guide businesses, manage acquisitions and mergers, and provide sound business advice to their executive teams.
In January 2018, Kate Harper, J.D., ’78, Pa. State Representative of the 61st Legislative District, was awarded the Joe Ibberson Government Award by the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation. She was chosen for her focus on preserving the environment and work to protect and enhance the state’s Growing Greener program, Keystone Recreation, and Parks and Conservation Fund, which supports open space, historic preservation and improvements to state parks and forests. As a State Representative, Harper has dedicated her career on preserving the environment, improving transportation infrastructure and protecting public safety.
La Salle University Advancement and its Alumni Association inaugurated the Alumni House at Peale House, serving as a welcoming place for alumni to visit, gather, and enjoy special events on campus on April 21. Owned by American artist, scientist, and inventor Charles Willson Peale from 1810-1826, the house was then lived in by the Wister Family and their descendants until the University purchased it in 1984. The property was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965, and until the opening of the Alumni House at Peale House, it housed the Office of the President.
Each and every Explorer has blazed their own path with the support of another Explorer: faculty, staff, Christian Brothers, alumni, fellow students. The contributions of others are what help us drive the momentum of the University forward.
John Fries, ’66, and his wife Maureen have pledged $1,000,000 to La Salle’s School of Business. The two made this generous donation with hopes that the gift will give students the tools to make their lives and student experiences better. “Education is so important,” he explained, “but the system isn’t the same as it was in the 50s and 60s. Now it is so expensive for these kids to get the same education we did. We only hope to give students today the same chances that we were given when we went to school.” Fries has over 40 years of experience in business involving turnaround management challenges. He currently sits on the board of The Franklin Institute, is chairman of Global Fit (a wellness company in Philadelphia,) and served on the board of trustees with La Salle from 2008-2011.
On March 20, 2018, La Salle students, alumni, faculty, staff, and supporters participated in our fifth annual Day of Giving and raised a record-breaking $428,514 in a 24-hour period. The new theme of the event, Explorers Give because Explorers Gave, showcases how the La Salle community goes above and beyond to answer the call to serve each other and the world around them. Explorers are active and involved local and global citizens who work hard to make a positive impact wherever their journey takes them. The La Salle Student Philanthropy group assisted in the promotion of the event, creating two videos and posting on their personal social media accounts. Of the 1,500 donors, 245 were first-time donors to the University and 296 were current students. The fifth annual Day of Giving proved to be a great success and sets a new standard of excellence for the event in years to come.
This Spring La Salle welcomed in new head coach of men’s basketballs, Ashley Howard. Coach Howard’s impressive record of prior success, and his compelling vision for the future of our Explorers, both on and off the court, made him the clear choice at the close of a nation-wide search. With the promise of a new era for men’s basketball on the horizon, the Bracket Bound Drive was established to support Coach Howard’s endeavors and restore the legacy of the team. The multi-year drive will help to create a competitive, high-impact franchise. To date, Explorers have rallied together and raised an astounding $675,000 and counting. Proceeds will support several aspects of the men’s basketball program, most urgently recruiting.
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.
The annual Charter Dinner celebrates La Salle’s founding on March 20, 1863, and pays tribute to the generations of Christian Brothers, laypeople, and clergy whose dedication have made La Salle University the prominent institution that it is today. Over the past 26 years, Charter Dinner has raised roughly $4.75M, and proceeds have been used to enhance the University’s Scholarship Fund, benefiting many La Salle students. This year’s Charter Dinner raised an incredible $140,000. In addition to collecting funds, the Charter dinner awards an exceptional individual and organization. C. Raymond Larkin Jr. ’70, received the University’s Leadership Award, which recognizes an individual who displays outstanding leadership in the corporate, civic, governmental, or religious communities. Laura Kind McKenna of the Patricia Kind Family Foundation received the Lasallian Impact Award, which honors an organization whose core values are aligned with the mission of La Salle University.