Ryan Haas, ’23, wasn’t sure what life had in store for him. But he did know that La Salle University always felt like home to him.
The Bucks County, Pa., native dropped out of high school in 2017. Occasionally, he would visit La Salle’s campus after his father, Dennis, began working here as a Public Safety officer.
“I really wanted to come to La Salle,” said Ryan Haas.
It only made sense for Ryan to continue the family legacy and be the first to receive a La Salle degree.
With the support of La Salle’s Office of Admissions, Haas satisfied the requirements to earn his GED in 2018. Then, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve as a paralegal specialist, completing basic training in South Carolina and advanced individual training in Virginia. In Spring 2019, he arrived on campus to begin his undergraduate journey at La Salle as a criminal justice major.
At first, he said, he found being on a university campus was much different than both high school and the military.
“I had a little bit of an issue getting used to being in the classroom again, I felt kind of uncomfortable at first, but my professors were really supportive from the beginning,” he said.
La Salle’s Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice laid a solid foundation for Haas, who has held internships with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, then Josh Shapiro, and the Police Transparency Project.
“Ryan Haas is an intellectually gifted student who brings so much to classroom discussions. His journey to commencement has not been easy given that he has had to juggle many responsibilities, including his military service, but his hard work has helped him triumph. I cannot wait to see him walk across the graduation stage and see what the future holds for him.”
– Kathleen Bogle, Ph.D., sociology and criminal justice associate professor
“I wouldn’t have been able to do as well as I did without the support and guidance of the criminal justice professors, especially my academic advisor, Kathleen Bogle, Ph.D.” Haas said.
“Ryan Haas is an intellectually gifted student who brings so much to classroom discussions,” said Bogle, sociology and criminal justice associate professor. “His journey to commencement has not been easy given that he has had to juggle many responsibilities, including his military service, but his hard work has helped him triumph. I cannot wait to see him walk across the graduation stage and see what the future holds for him.”
Haas also shared that he deeply enjoyed taking foreign language courses in both Spanish and French at La Salle.
Ryan’s connections to La Salle University are deep—most recently with his father, but also through his grandfather, Dale Haas, a World War II veteran, who worked for McShain Construction. Dale laid the cornerstone for Leonard Hall, which had served as the campus student union in the 1940s, before it was razed. Hansen Quad now thrives in its place. His great-grandfather, Byron Haas, also worked for McShain, and was the job supervisor for the Leonard Hall construction.
It only made sense for the youngest Haas to continue the family legacy and be the first to receive a La Salle degree.
Ryan said his experiences in the U.S. Army Reserve, workforce, and classroom have come together to give him a well-rounded view of the world.
“I’m really grateful that I’ve had some other life experiences before I came here to La Salle,” he said. “I feel like it kind of gave me a little bit of perspective.”
Following graduation, Ryan will work full-time in private security while saving money and applying for graduate school programs in international relations, foreign policy, and global security. His long-term goal is to attend law school.
Ryan said he’s excited to continue his family’s La Salle tradition.
“That’s one of the main things that led me here—family, family tradition and family connections,” he said.