9/29/12 – Philadelphia, PA – La Salle University continued to celebrate its 150th anniversary with its signature event that has been a part of its spirit since its inception: service to the community. On Saturday, September 29, students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends volunteered their time with many civic and social organizations locally, nationally, and internationally for the Lasallian Day of Service.
(Right: photos from service at West Philadelphia Catholic High School and the San Miguel School of Washington DC. Click here for other photos from the service day.>)

The La Salle community volunteered at more than 30 sites in Philadelphia, as well as alumni clubs in Bucks, Chester, and Montgomery counties, Washington, D.C., New York, N.Y., St. Louis, Mo., Chicago, Ill., San Francisco, Calif., Boston, Mass., Camden, N.J.; Ocean City, N.J., Palm Beach County, Fla., Tampa, Fla., and Yakima, Wash. La Salle students currently studying overseas also participated in the event. About 200 alums, 800 students and 80 faculty and staff signed up for the event, and more than 1,100 in total joined in this day of service.

View La Salle University's 150th Anniversary video“Part of our Lasallian heritage is about faith, service, and community. As a campus community, we pride ourselves on the service we do,” said Brother Bob Kinzler, F.S.C., Director of University Ministry and Service. (Right: Click the image to view La Salle University’s 150th Anniversary video)

“Alumni from clubs and chapters across the U.S. and overseas volunteered for the Day of Service by participating in painting, landscaping, working with children or elderly, and helping to renovate schools,” said Trey Ulrich, Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations. “There were plenty of activities for people to get involved in, and it was a great opportunity for alumni and students to work together in the community.”

Sites and activities included:

  • La Salle Academy—painting and landscaping
  • Logan Elementary—painting the school
  • Piney Grove Church—landscaping
  • Sunday Morning Breakfast—homeless shelter where students served lunch and cleaned and painted the shelter
  • Boston—Cradles to Crayons
  • New York—Martin de Porres Vocational School—landscaping
  • Tampa—Feeding America—worked in food bank to package bags of groceries for needy families
  • Voter Registration sign up here in Philadelphia.
  • Made ribbons for Women Against Abuse
  • and also included Habitat for Humanity, homeless shelters, hospices, daycare centers, food banks, schools for special needs children, elementary schools, and churches.

In 2011-2012, students volunteering in community service projects and in-service learning courses engaged in over 50,000 hours of community service, which equals more than $1 million of in-kind support for the local community (according to the U.S. government rate to calculate the value of volunteer service to the community). “The Lasallian Day of Service provided an opportunity to highlight what La Salle students do on a regular basis and enable the La Salle community to share that gift in a different way. It’s a chance to get the whole community involved,” said Kinzler.

There are over 20 Student Organizations at La Salle that comprise FOCUS (Fellowship of Community and University Service). They include AIDS Outreach, Foster Care Tutoring, La Salle Organization Caring for Kids, Neighbor to Neighbor, Neighborhood Tutoring, PAL, Team Lasallians, and Students in Action mentoring HS students with national Jefferson Awards. There are five Lasallian Service Trips (Habitat for Humanity, Project Appalachia, Blackfeet Montana, Dominican Republic, and Project Mapendo to Africa) as well.

For the third consecutive year, La Salle University was recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as an Engaged Campus, for the volunteer and community service work done by our students. La Salle was one of 115 schools selected this year and one of 311 institutions honored since the program began in 2006. Fewer than 1% of the higher education institutions in the country have received this recognition.

La Salle has also commissioned a history of the University, written by Emeritus Professor and 1958 graduate Dr. John Rossi. It will be available this month.

“The phrase ‘Living the Promise’ — which is both the title of this book and the theme of our sesquicentennial celebration — is our way of saying that while La Salle has grown and adapted to meet the circumstances and needs of the times, we have been faithful to our mission,” said University President Br. Michael McGinniss, F.S.C. (Click here for a letter of thanks to La Salle Explorers that volunteered, from Br. Michael)

“Let us remember and thank those whose leadership, example, and accomplishments have made La Salle what it has been and continues to be—faculty, staff, alumni, students, parents, friends, and benefactors. Their roles have been essential to this University,” said Br. Michael. “The La Salle University of today is a vibrant and continuously evolving learning community with a bright future. It is truly a blessing and a privilege to be in this position at this historic time,” said Br. Michael.

At opening convocation on August 23, Mayor of Philadelphia Michael Nutter presented a proclamation recognizing La Salle and its anniversary.

Other highlights of the yearlong celebration include Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., accepting an honorary degree during Honors Convocation on October 7. At the Alumni Awards Dinner on November 16, the University will award its Signum Fidei Medal on behalf of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for its work in advancing humanitarian principles. Accepting the award is Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Vice President for CRS’ United States efforts.

On March 21, 2013, during La Salle’s Heritage Week celebration, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin will present “Civil War and Philadelphia.”

According to La Salle English Professor James Butler, “La Salle University’s 150th Anniversary Committee decided on several themes to emphasize in the events of our celebratory year. Among them, of course, was the all-important role of the Christian Brothers, but we also wanted to highlight our relationship with Philadelphia and our founding during the Civil War. After all, about six weeks after La Salle received its charter, General Lee began to plan his invasion of Pennsylvania.”

“Our Committee aimed high in our quest for a speaker on “Philadelphia and the Civil War,” and we compiled a short list of the nation’s foremost interpreters of that time period. After lively debate, we selected Doris Kearns Goodwin, a Pulitzer Prize winner in history, a distinguished political commentator, and the author of several books, including Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. It is a happy coincidence (and a definite audience builder) that Ms. Goodwin’s work on Lincoln will be much in the news at the end of 2012 and the start of 2013. A movie based on that book will then be in theaters, and it has plenty of star power: Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field (all three are winners of multiple Oscars) with a script by Pulitzer-Prize-winner Tony Kushner.”

“Anniversary celebrations are always about the future as well as the past, and we also like that Ms. Goodwin’s book raises issues of how to govern in a highly partisan environment, a problem that did not die with the assassination of a president in Ford’s Theater.

“We are absolutely delighted that Doris Kearns Goodwin will be the University community’s Heritage Week speaker as we celebrate La Salle’s 150th anniversary.”