This weekend, our university suffered a significant loss with the passing of Emery C. Mollenhauer, FSC, Ph.D., a remarkable leader who provided more than 50 years of strong administrative and academic leadership at La Salle. Initially, Brother Emery served as the Dean of what was then our evening program, and later as Academic Vice President, Professor of English, and—perhaps most notably, from an historical perspective—as the university’s first Provost upon the creation of that role in 1977.
Since my arrival here, I have had the fortune of connecting quite regularly with Brother Emery—whether on his hallway walks through College Hall or elsewhere on our campus. Whether we spoke briefly or at some length, I came away certain of his profound commitment to La Salle’s mission in advancing the lives of our students and of the communities that our graduates go on to serve.
Brother Emery was a giant on our campus, an educational pioneer well ahead of his time. He is either directly or partially responsible for some of the most pivotal moments in La Salle’s history over the last 65 years. He paved the way for the admission of female students into our undergraduate day program in 1970, a milestone for which we recently celebrated the 50th anniversary—and for our institution being awarded university status from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1984. He also supported the School of Business in its pursuit and retention of the coveted AACSB accreditation.
Paired with his staggering intellect and authentic embrace of Lasallian values and our University mission, Brother Emery possessed a deep care for La Salle. As an administrator, he habitually walked the halls of our academic spaces to ensure classroom instruction and final exams were being conducted as assigned. I am told that he also was known well for his “goldenrods”—the memos containing information and instructions that he would distribute to faculty.
Brother Emery held himself and those around him firmly to high standards of excellence and a high faithfulness in the liberal arts and humanities tradition. He believed deeply in the primacy of teaching, respect for the individual, and—in his words—“our Lasallian tradition of quality teaching and learning, being caring but demanding, and collegial and community spirit and style.”
A viewing will be held Thursday, March 18, in the De La Salle Chapel at La Salle University, from 4–6 p.m. and 7–8 p.m. The La Salle University community is welcome to attend. A funeral Mass Friday, March 19 is by invitation only due to COVID-19 restrictions on indoor capacity.
On behalf of our entire La Salle family, I offer condolences to our Christian Brothers on campus and beyond, and to Brother Emery’s sister Joan, and extended family. I know I speak for everyone in our University community in saying Brother Emery will be missed, but certainly never forgotten.
May he rest in peace.
St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts forever.