Campus improvements and LEAP update

March 21, 2022

To the University community:

Welcome back to campus for the restart of our spring semester. As surprising as it may be, only a handful of weeks separate us from Commencement Weekend. The sprint to the finish line of our academic year will be anything but restful. It’s my hope your time away from the classroom during spring break was both relaxing and productive.

Upon resuming classes, I would like to provide three significant University updates:

Capital budget

The Board of Trustees convened earlier this month, announcing—most notably—the election of new leadership, effective July 1.

In this meeting, the Board approved a $6 million capital budget that will focus on areas vital to the student experience. This action allows the University to secure bids for this work and initiate these important campus projects without delay. These include:

  • Campus safety. Our access control system installations and upgrades will continue, with a focus on residential spaces, to allow for improved auditing capabilities regarding movement in and out of these entryways and buildings. Across campus, the University will install additional cameras and enhance our blue light emergency phones.
  • Residence Life. Cosmetic upgrades, including the purchase of new furniture, and necessary maintenance work are scheduled for St. Basil Hall, St. Teresa Court, and St. Miguel Townhouses.
  • Campus dining. New equipment and furniture are being purchased for Treetops Café, the former site of our COVID-19 testing center. Treetops Cafe also will receive cosmetic upgrades, in preparation for its return as an available campus dining option for the 2022-23 academic year.
  • Information technology. We will continue investing in classroom and computer lab technology to enhance the learning experience.
  • Commuter Lounge upgrade. Thanks to the generosity of Trustee Robert Cottone, ’82, the Commuter Lounge on the ground floor of the Union will be upgraded in the coming months with new flooring and furniture, additional charging stations, a kitchenette area, and an additional quiet study lounge. This refreshed space will provide a perfect space for our commuter students to spend time between classes.

Athletics facility project

The Board approved the next phase of the design process for an arena project, as the University and the Department of Athletics continue to fundraise externally for this initiative. In 2013, the University received a restricted planned gift, generously donated by John Glaser, ’62, specifically to support an arena project. In order to use this estate gift, currently valued at just under $6.5 million, an arena project would need to begin during the 2023 calendar year. The University would finance this project exclusively through philanthropic contributions.

Earlier today, Athletics announced a leadership change within the men’s basketball program. The department will initiate a national search to identify the program’s next leader. As with all of our programs, the team is committed to winning at the highest level and nurturing the success of our exemplary student-athletes in the classroom and beyond.

LEAP, our new dual-enrollment initiative

As you may know, colleagues from the Provost’s Office, Enrollment, and University Advancement, along with academic department chairs, have been working to launch La Salle’s Early Achievement Program, or LEAP. This program is an innovative dual-enrollment program that will give approximately 400 high school students in the Philadelphia area the opportunity to earn up to 30 college credits (the equivalent of an entire year of college) over seven semesters, before becoming a full-time college student. Tuition and textbooks are free of charge. Students will enroll in one of three academic tracks: Exploratory Studies; Health and Human Services; or Science, Business, and Technology.

I am happy to share the following updates:

  • The Archdiocese of Philadelphia and La Salle have signed an agreement that will allow us to bring the LEAP program to archdiocesan high schools. Under this partnership, we have received signed commitments from 10 archdiocesan high schools: Archbishop Ryan; Archbishop Wood; Monsignor Bonner & Archbishop Prendergast; Conwell-Egan; Father Judge; Roman Catholic; Ss. Neumann-Goretti; and West Catholic Preparatory high schools; and Little Flower and St. Hubert high schools for girls. Each school has pledged to commit 25 to 29 rising juniors and seniors, beginning this summer.
  • We are also partnering with Steppingstone Scholars and are in discussions with the School District of Philadelphia and Mastery Schools, a system of 24 city charter schools, on similar agreements for their participation in LEAP. We also expect to welcome six public and charter schools this summer: William W. Bodine High School (Steppingstone Scholars partner), Franklin Learning Center (Steppingstone Scholars partner), Abraham Lincoln High School, Mastery Charter (Shoemaker and Hardy Williams campuses), Parkway Northwest High School for Peace and Social Justice, and School of the Future.

It’s important to note that LEAP is an independently funded program, financed exclusively through private philanthropy and foundation partnerships. We have already received multiple six-figure commitments from several foundations, organizations, and individuals totaling approximately $800,000 toward our $2 million goal. Fundraising efforts will continue through this year and beyond, as the enthusiasm for this program grows.

We are experiencing great momentum at La Salle, with these three initiatives serving as just the latest examples. Let’s carry that momentum through the remainder of our spring semester as we close out what has been a highly successful academic year.


Tim O’Shaughnessy, ’85
Interim President