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University Archives

La Salle History

Timeline

1863:  La Salle College receives its charter from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and opens at St. Michael’s Parish (2nd and Jefferson Streets).

 

1867:  La Salle College moves to Filbert and Juniper Streets.

 

1869:  La Salle grants its first bachelor’s degrees.

 

1886:  La Salle College moves to the former Bouvier mansion at 1240 North Broad Street.

 

1913:  La Salle celebrates its Golden Jubilee (50th anniversary).

 

1918:  La Salle’s enrollment in its Collegiate department drops sharply during World War I.

 

1926: La Salle purchases ten acres at 20th and Olney Avenue for a new campus.

 

1928:  President Brother Dorotheus Lewis breaks ground for the new La Salle campus.

 

1930:  La Salle College moves to 20th Street and Olney Avenue. (La Salle High School moved to this location in 1929.)

 

1930:  La Salle launches its first varsity basketball season.

 

1931:  The Collegian student newspaper publishes its first issue

 

1931:  Cardinal Dennis Dougherty dedicates and blesses La Salle’s initial three buildings at the 20th and Olney campus (College Hall, the Brothers’ Residence, and the future Wister Hall).

 

1931:  La Salle begins its first varsity football season.

 

1932:  La Salle officially selects and announces “Explorers” as the nickname for its sports teams.

 

1934:  The Masque presents its first dramatic production for the general public, “Sun Up.”

 

1935:  La Salle first fraternity, Sigma Phi Lambda, is organized.

 

1935:  La Salle celebrates its first Baccalaureate Mass.

 

1936:  La Salle opens McCarthy Stadium.

 

1938:  La Salle celebrates its Diamond Jubilee (75th anniversary), including the successful financial campaign to purchase ten additional acres for the campus.

1938: Bro. Elzear Alfred founds the La Salle Civic and Social Congress, a worker education program that ran free courses in psychology, management, and public speaking for Philadelphia’s businessmen and workers.

 

1940:  The first Explorer yearbook is published.

 

1940:  McShain Hall opens.

 

1941:  Football is suspended after the 1941 season because of World War II. 

 

1942:  President Brother Edwin Anselm, who guided La Salle during the challenges of the Great Depression, receives the first-ever Signum Fidei Medal from the Alumni Association.

 

1944:  Due to World War II, La Salle College’s enrollment reaches a modern low of 97 students.

 

1946:  La Salle’s Evening Division begins its first sessions.

 

1947:  Leonard Hall opens.

 

1948:  Benilde Hall opens.

 

1948:  La Salle’s first Olympian, swimmer Joe Verdeur, wins a Gold Medal in the breaststroke competition at the 1948 London Olympics.

 

1950:  The track and field team wins Middle Atlantic Conference honors.

 

1950:  La Salle’s Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) unit is established.

 

1950:  La Salle’s first graduate program (Master’s Degree in Religion) begins.

1951:  La Salle wins the Dad Vail Regatta Championships in collegiate rowing, the first of six victories during the 1950s.

 

1951:  La Salle launches Four Quarters, a professional literary magazine.

 

1952:  La Salle defeats Dayton University, 75-64, to win the National Invitational Tournament (basketball) at Madison Square Garden.

 

1952:  The new library building (later named the David Leo Lawrence Library) opens.

 

1953:  The first residence halls (St. Albert and St. Bernard) open.

 

1954:  La Salle defeats Bradley University, 92-76, to win the NCAA basketball championship.

 

1955:  The La Salle Explorers lose to the University of San Francisco in the finals of the NCAA basketball championship.

 

1955:  The School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Business Administration a formally established.

 

1955:  Although its creation was officially announced in late 1954, the Big 5 begins its basketball competition during the 1955-1956 season. La Salle joined Temple, Penn, Villanova, and St. Joseph’s in showcasing the best talent in Philadelphia-area college basketball.

 

1956:  St. Cassian and St. Denis Residence Halls open.

 

1959:  La Salle’s Student Union building opens.

 

1960:  The Science Center, later named for Dr. Roland Holroyd, opens.

 

1960:  La Salle reorganizes its administration by creating Vice Presidents for Academics, Student Life, Business Affairs, and Public Relations.

 

1960:  La Salle College High School relocates to the new high school campus in Springfield Township.

 

1961:  La Salle establishes the Hall of Athletes with charter members Joe Verdeur, Tom Gola, Frank Loughney, Ira Davis, and Al Cantello. 

 

1961: The Student Union building is built.

 

1961:  Dr. Roland Holroyd and Dr. Joseph Flubacher receive the first Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.

 

1961:  The Honors Program begins primarily as independent study courses for juniors and seniors. In 1963, formal honors sections were established in nearly all liberal arts programs.

 

1962:  St. Edward and St. Francis Residence Halls open.

 

1963:  La Salle celebrates its Centenary (100th anniversary).

 

1963:  La Salle purchases the Olney Garden Apartments, later renamed the La Salle Apartments.

 

1963:  Although a handful of women (along with male students) had enrolled in courses offered by the La Salle Civic and Social Congress in the 1940s, the first recognizable and sizeable group of women at La Salle is the Sisters’ Science Institute. 63 Sisters attend a series of summer enrichment programs for Archdiocesan Sisters teaching science.

 

1965: The former Auditorium in College Hall is converted into the Students’ Chapel (later named the De La Salle Chapel).

 

1966:  St. George, St. Hilary, and St. Jerome Residence Halls open.

 

1966:  La Salle’s Faculty Senate begins under President Charles A. J. Halpin.

 

1967: La Salle founds the Urban Studies Center, which supported community development in the surrounding neighborhoods by providing cultural and educational programs, project and organizational development services, and community service.

 

1967:  La Salle’s first full-time women faculty members, Dr. Minna Weinstein and Dr. Diane Blumenthal, begin teaching.

 

1967:  La Salle’s Evening Division first admits women to its degree-granting programs.

 

1968:  Kathryn Fitzgerald becomes the first woman to receive a Bachelor’s Degree from La Salle.

 

1969:  A peaceful, four-day demonstration by students in College Hall convinces La Salle to make ROTC optional for incoming freshmen.

 

1969:  The Explorers finish the 1968-69 basketball season with an incredible 23-1 record under Coach Tom Gola, including a classic showdown victory over Villanova.

 

1969:  The first group of women to enroll in La Salle’s Day Division for academic credit are student nurses from nearby Germantown Hospital.

 

1970:  La Salle becomes fully coeducational with the admittance of women to the Day Division.  St. Edward’s Hall is converted into a dorm for female residents.

1971:  Olney Hall opens.

 

1971:  La Salle launches women’s basketball, its first sport for women.

 

1972:  Hayman Hall (later renovated as Hayman Center) opens.

 

1973:  Dr. Roland Holroyd, the legendary biology professor, retires from active teaching after fifty-three years at La Salle.

 

1974:  La Salle’s first service sorority (Gamma Sigma Sigma) begins.

 

1975:  The La Salle Art Museum officially opens on the lower level of Olney Hall.

 

1977:  La Salle opens its first satellite campus by offering Evening Division courses at Archbishop Ryan High School.

 

1979:  La Salle purchases the Weston Court apartment complex and reopens it as St. Teresa Court.

 

1980:  La Salle purchases the Good Shepherd property along Chew Street from the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.

 

1980:  La Salle reaches its highest-ever enrollment with 7,661 students matriculated in the Fall Semester.

 

1980:  La Salle’s field hockey team wins the AIAW Division II national championship.

 

1980:  The Department of Nursing is founded.

 

1983:  St. Katharine’s Residence Hall and North Dining Hall (later renamed Blue and Gold Dining Commons) open.

 

1984:  La Salle receives University status from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

           

1984:  La Salle acquires Peale House and the heart of the original Belfield estate.

 

1987:  La Salle loses to Southern Mississippi in the National Invitation Tournament championship basketball game at Madison Square Garden.

 

1987:  The Japanese Tea Ceremony House officially opens.

 

1988:  Connelly Library opens.

 

1988:  La Salle signs an agreement of sale to obtain the St. Basil property (“the South Campus”) from the Sisters of St. Basil.  Final settlement is reached in 1989.  

 

1989:  St. Miguel Court Townhouses open.

 

1989:  The former Lawrence Library is converted into the Lawrence Administration Center.

 

1990:  St. John Neumann Residence Hall opens.

1991:  The Evening Division becomes the School for Continuing Studies.

 

1992:  Brother Patrick Ellis ends his presidency, the longest in La Salle’s history.

 

1992:  La Salle’s School of Nursing is formally established.

 

1993:  John J. Shea ‘59 becomes the first layperson to be elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

 

1994:  The Communication Center opens.

 

1995:  The School for Continuing Studies becomes the Office of Continuing Studies.

 

1997:  La Salle’s Bucks County Campus (Newtown Township) opens.

 

1997:  Intercollegiate football returns to La Salle.

 

1998:  Nicholas A. Giordano ’65 begins his year-long term as La Salle’s Interim President and becomes La Salle’s first lay president.

 

1998:  La Salle’s first doctoral degree program, the Psy.D. (Clinical Psychology), is inaugurated; the first three students graduate in 2002.

 

1998:  In the closing weeks of the 1997-1998 season, the first women’s and men’s basketball games are played in the renovated Hayman Center. In November, the court is dedicated as the Tom Gola Arena.

 

2005:  The College of Professional and Continuing Studies launches.

 

2005:  St. Basil Court and Treetops Café open.

 

2006:  The newly expanded Bucks County Center opens.

 

2006:  The School of Nursing is renamed the School of Nursing and Health Sciences.

 

2007:  La Salle purchases the Germantown Hospital property from the Albert Einstein Health Network.

 

2007:  The “Shoulder to Shoulder: Securing the Future” major gift initiative ended with $28.2 million raised.

 

2008:  La Salle’s Montgomery County Center at Plymouth Meeting opens.

 

2008:   St. Benilde Tower is opened and blessed, and later the new pedestrian bridge was lowered by crane into its position over Wister Street to connect the central campus with the West Campus.

 

2009:   Grand opening of the stores of The Shoppes at La Salle.

 

2009:  The renovated Holroyd Hall, featuring the Hugh and Nancy Devlin Center for Science and Technology, opens.

 

2012:  The first separate Commencement ceremony for recipients of graduate degree programs (since the 1950s) is held on May 18.

 

2012-2013:  La Salle celebrates its sesquicentennial (150th anniversary).

 

2013:  The La Salle Explorers earned a spot in the NCAA’s Sweet 16.

 

2015: Inauguration of Colleen Hanycz, La Salle’s first woman and first non-interim lay president.

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Presidents

1. Brother Teliow (Fackeldey), March to August 1863

2. Brother Oliver (Daly), 1863-1872

3. Brother Noah (Curran), 1872-1875

4. Brother Joachim of Mary (Callaghan), 1875-1876

5. Brother Stephen of Jesus (Gosselin), 1876-1878

6. Brother Romuald (Lentz), 1878-1883

7. Brother Clementian (Muth), 1883-1885

8. Brother Fabrician (Pellerin), 1885-1887

9. Brother Isidore John (McEntee), 1887-1889

10. Brother Abraham of Jesus (Cusack), 1889-1890

11. Brother Isidore John (McEntee), 1890-1900

12. Brother Wolfred of Mary (Mulvena), 1900-1903

13. Brother Abdas John (Comerford), 1903-1911

14. Brother Denis Edward (Yourgens), 1911-1917

15. Brother Ennodius Richard (Ring), 1917-1922

16. Brother Galbert Lucian (McGurk), 1922-1925

17. Brother Dorotheus Lewis (Carroll), 1925-1928

18. Brother Elzear Alfred (Kelly), 1928-1932

19. Brother Edwin Anselm (Murphy), 1932-1941

20. Brother Emilian James (Flynn), 1941-1945

21. Brother Dominic Luke (Doyle), September to November 1945

22. Brother Gregorian Paul (Sprissler), 1945-1952

23. Brother Erminus Stanislaus (Duzy), 1952-1958

24. Brother Daniel Bernian (Kelly), 1958-1969

25. Brother Daniel Burke, 1969 to December 1976

26. Brother Patrick Ellis, January 1977 to 1992

27. Brother Joseph Burke, 1992-1998

----- Mr. Nicholas Giordano (Interim President), 1998-1999

28. Brother Michael McGinniss, 1999-2014

----- Dr. James P. Gallagher  Interim President), 2014-2015

29. Dr. Colleen M. Hanycz, 2015-

Departments

La Salle College was founded in 1863 as a small, liberal arts institution whose faculty were members of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. The curriculum focused on classics, English composition and literature, and mathematics. The college added courses in the sciences and engineering in the late 1800s and offered both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. It began to offer graduate degrees in 1902. Regardless of their course of study, all students also took classes in religion, philosophy, literature, history, and foreign language.

In 1870, the Commercial Department (later called the School of Commerce and the Department of Commerce) was added. It offered a courses in subjects such as bookkeeping and business administration, and awarded certificates but did not grant degrees. In the mid-1920s, La Salle did begin to offer a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, and later in Business Administration. The School of Business Administration was formed in 1932.

 In the 1880s, the college divided courses into areas of study, and in 1912 into departments. However, departments and areas of study were reorganized and renamed frequently throughout the decades. The Evening Division was established in 1946 (though some evening classes were offered earlier).

Though the college offered different courses of study through a School of Arts and Sciences and a School of Business, administratively there were no academic divisions within the college, besides the division between day and evening students.

After WWII, the College expanded rapidly. In 1955, the Middle States Association recommended that the college restructure itself and create a School of Arts and Sciences and a School of Business Administration. Each school would be responsible for their own day and evening students and be headed by their own deans. This took effect during the 1955-1956 academic year. 

Biology

Courses in biology have been taught at La Salle since the school's inception. The Department of Biological Sciences was established in 1912, in 1929 the name was changed to the Biology Department.

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Chemistry has been taught at La Salle since the 1860s. The Department of Chemistry was established for the 1917-1918 academic year. Biochemistry classes were introduced in 1961. In 1992, it was renamed the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Communication

The Communication Department was established as the Communication Arts Department in 1986, 'Arts' was dropped from the name in 1988.

Economics

Economics courses were first taught at La Salle in 1917 as part of the Economics, Social, and Political Science Department. In 1928, this department was renamed the Economics and Sociology Department. The Department of Economics was established circa 1929.

Education

The Department of Education was established circa 1922.

English

Content forthcoming.

Fine Arts

The Fine Arts department was established in 1972.

Foreign Languages and Literatures

Content forthcoming.

Geology/Environmental Science/Physics

Content forthcoming.

History

Courses in History have been taught at La Salle since its inception. In the early 1920s, the Social Science Department was formed and history classes were offered through that department. The History Department was established circa 1926.

Integrative Studies

Content forthcoming.

Mathematics and Computer Science

Mathematics was one of the main focuses of La Salle's original curriculum. The Department of Mathematics was established circa 1922. Computer science classes were introduced in the 1970-1971 academic year. In 1979, the department began offering a dual major in math and computer science. It was renamed the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science in 1994.

Philosophy

Philosophy courses were part of the original La Salle College curriculum. The Philosophy Department was established circa 1922. The name was changed to the Department of Philosophy and Psychology in 1943 and back to the Department of Philosophy within the Area of Philosophy and Religion in 1945. It appeared within the Area of Philosophy, Psychology, and Religion in 1948, the Area of Philosophy and Religion in 1951, and was renamed simply the Area of Philosophy in 1954. In 1956, it was renamed the Philosophy Department.

Psychology

Courses in psychology were first offered as part of the philosophy program starting in the 1860s. Beginning in 1913, other psychology courses began to be offered within the Economics, Social, and Political Science Department, and in the 1920s, through the Education Department. The Psychology Department was established circa 1949.

Political Science

Courses in political science have been taught at La Salle since its inception and were offered through the history and social science programs. The Political Science Department was established in the mid 1930s, but the name was changed from Political Science to Government in the early 1950s. In 1962, the name reverted back to the Political Science Department.

Religion

Content forthcoming.

Social Work

Content forthcoming.

Sociology and Criminal Justice

Content forthcoming.

Courses in business administration were first taught at La Salle in 1870, when the Commerical Department (later called the School of Commerce and the Department of Commerce) was formed. It offered courses in subjects such as bookkeeping and business administration, and awarded certificates but did not grant degrees. In the mid-1920s, La Salle did begin to offer a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, and later in Business Administration. The School of Business Administration was originally formed in 1932, and in 1955 it was placed in its current administrative structure. It was renamed the School of Business in 2003.

Accounting

Business Administration

Business Systems and Analytics

Finance

International Business

Management and Leadership

Marketing

The Nursing program began in 1974 as a partnership between La Salle's Evening Division and Gwynned Mercy College. The program was only available to continuing education students until 1992 when the School of Nursing formed, and undergraduate programs were added. In 2000, the Nutrition program and the Speech-Language-Hearing Department (now Communication Sciences and Disorders Department) were established and the school was renamed the School of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Nursing

A Bachelor of Science Nursing was first offered in 1974 through a partnership between Gwynned Mercy college and the La Salle Evening Division. It was designed for students who were already Registered Nurses but who wanted to earn a bachelor's degree. In 1992, when the School of Nursing was established, the Nursing major was made available to all undergraduates.

Nutrition

The Bachelor of Science in Nutrition was first offered in the 1998-1999 academic year through the Biology Department. In 2001, it the Nutrition program was established as part of the School of Nursing.

Communication Sciences and Disorders

The Communication Sciences and Disorders Department was established in 2000 as the Speech-Language-Hearing Science Department within the School of Nursing.The department offers a Master's degree program as well as a fve year undergraduate-to-graduate program, preparing students for certification by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. It was renamed the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department in 2015.

Public Health

Courses dedicated to the study of Public Health were first offered at La Salle in 1989 through the Nursing program. The Public Health program was established as part of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences in 2013.

Evening Division/School of Continuing Studies/Office of Continuing Studies/College of Continuing and Professional Education

The Evening Division was established at La Salle College in 1946. However, there were a few, short-lived attempts to offer similar programs earlier in La Salle’s history. The first attempt at offering evening classes was in 1874. Though the program was popular, it only lasted one year because of the burden that teaching both day and evening courses had on some faculty members. A second attempt was made in 1915, though this program was dropped in the midst of World War I. Evening classes were offered again in the early 1940s but the program was again cancelled.

At the end of World War II, La Salle College expanded its facilities to accommodate the expected surge in enrollment of returning veterans. The school decided to expand its course offerings to include an evening program at this time as another form of accommodation. Dr. Joseph Sprissler was named the Evening Division’s first director, and classes began with 36 students in the fall of 1946.

Initially, the Evening Division had a vocational focus and only offered courses in business administration. A large percentage of students in the early years of the Evening Division received some form of tuition aid from their employer—mostly local Delaware Valley businesses. As enrollment grew to over 1,000 by the early 1950s, the Evening Division expanded its science offerings. By 1953, students could earn degrees in business administration, chemistry, and physics. In the 1960s, courses of study in the liberal arts were added.

The Evening Division continued to expand its program offerings through the decades. In the spring of 1967 it began offering enrollment to women, three years before La Salle College as a whole went coeducational. In 1974 it also established the Continuing Education for Women program. Though the Evening Division was already open to female students, this program was aimed at women over age 25 who wanted to resume their college career, or begin college courses for the first time. The program offered opportunities for women to return to school after an extended absence and placed an emphasis on counseling these students.

The Evening Division added weekend classes and summer sessions in the early 1970s. Off-campus sites were added in others areas of the city of Philadelphia and in Bucks County in the 1980s.

In 1991, the Evening Division was renamed the School of Continuing Studies and was further restructured as the Office of Continuing Studies in 1995.

In 2005, the Office of Continuing Studies was again restructured and renamed the College of Professional and Continuing Education.

In 2015, the College of Professional and Continuing Education was closed.

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Campus buildings

Benilde Hall

Former location: Between Leonard Hall and the Roland Holroyd Science Center.

History: Previously an office building for a US Army Ordnance facility near Williamsport, PA in World War II. The building was taken apart and brought to La Salle in Summer 1948.

Dedication: September 19, 1948, by Monsignor Francis J. Furey

Named for: St. Benilde, a canonized Christian Brother from France


Building Blocks

History: Built as private residence in the 1800s. This house was purchased by La Salle in the 1960s for music classes and occasional art exhibits. In December 1969, La Salle's Art Gallery opened on its second floor. The first floor became the new home of La Salle's Building Blocks in Autumn 1975.

Previous names: Fine Arts Building.

Opened: Building Blocks opened October 1973.


Christian Brothers' Residence

Construction: Began Winter 1928.

Opened: First occupied by the Brothers February 22, 1930.

Dedication: May 24, 1931 by Cardinal Dougherty.


College Hall

History: The first building on La Salle's 20th and Olney campus.  Previous home of the auditorium, La Salle's first library, the mail room, the campus store, and the School of Business.

Groundbreaking: February 11, 1928.

Opened: September 29, for La Salle College High School students. First occupied by La Salle College students in February 1930.

Dedication: May 24, 1931, by Cardinal Dougherty.


Communication Center

History: Originally built circa 1964 as the school building for  St. Basil's School.

Purchased: Purchased from the Sisters of St. Basil in 1989.

Dedication: October 8, 1994.


Connelly Library

Groundbreaking: June 9, 1986.

Opened: 1988.

Dedication: March 20, 1988 by Archbishop Anthony Bevilacqua

Named for: John F. and Josephine Connelly and the Connelly Foundation, all major donors for its construction.


David Leo Lawrence Administration Center

History: Originally built as La Salle's library. Converted into La Salle's Administration Center, Summer 1989. Renamed the David Leo Lawrence Administration Center on Sept. 13, 2009.

Previous names: Renamed as David Leo Lawrence Memorial Library on May 19, 1969.

Groundbreaking: May 24, 1950.

Opened: Autumn 1952.

Dedicated: September 28, 1953.

Named for: David Leo Lawrence, Pittsburgh mayor and Pennsylvania governor, who was a major friend and benefactor of La Salle in the 1950s and 1960s.


Founder's Hall (School of Business Building)

Groundbreaking: September 2014.

Opened: January 2016

Dedicated: September 26, 2016.

Named for: The philanthropic support of donors, and La Salle's Christian Brothers.


Good Shepherd Hall (Public Safety Headquarters)

History: Originally a residence; purchased for the Sisters of the Good Shepherd as a convent. In 1969, La Salle's Urban Studies and Communication Services Center began leasing this building from Sisters of the Good Shepherd.

Previous names: Edgewood House.

Purchased: July 25, 1980.


Hayman Center/Hayman Hall

Groundbreaking: June 9, 1969.

Opened: September 1972

Renovation: 1997-1998

Dedication: November 12, 1972. The dedication of the new Hayman Center for a La Salle basketball game was on Feb 1, 1998. The new Tom Gola Arena at Hayman Center was dedicated on November 21, 1998.

Named for: Dr. H. Blake Hayman was a leading obstetrician in Bucks Country and a major benefactor of La Salle.

Independence Blue Cross Fitness Center

History: Originally built as a gymnasium for students of St. Basil's School (next door.)

Previous names: James J. Binns Fitness Center.

Purchased: January 1989.

Opened: November 26, 1990.

Dedication: The first dedication ceremony was on Sept. 30, 1990. The second dedication ceremony was on Sept. 30, 1992. Dedication of the renovated and renamed Independence Blue Cross Fitness Center was Nov. 20, 2000.

Named for: Independence Blue Cross, which provided a grant to complete the renovations.


La Salle Apartments

History: Originally an apartment building.

Previous names: Olney Garden Apartments, La Salle Hall.

Purchased: May 1963.

Opened: 1963.


La Salle Union

Groundbreaking: October 9, 1956. The Annex was constructed 1980 - 1981.

Opened: September 1959.

Dedication: April 24, 1960. The Annex was dedicated November 8, 1981.


Leonard Hall

Former location: between Benilde Hall and McShain Hall.

History: Originally an officers' building at Camp Patrick Henry, it was donated to La Salle by the U. S. Government, disassembled, trucked to La Salle, and reassembled in early 1947. Initially housed lounge, barber shop, book store, cafeteria, and administration offices.  Later converted to classrooms and faculty offices.

Opened: 1947.

Dedicated: August 28, 1947.

Named for: Brother Gervald Leonard, FSC, who "had a great interest in extra-curricular activities during his time at La Salle."

Demolition: Summer 1977.


McCarthy Stadium

History: The first football field (minus seating) ran east-west near the edge of Wister Hall. A north-south field was constructed 1933-1936. The first La Salle College football game at McCarthy Stadium was La Salle's win over St. Mary's College on November 1, 1936.

Groundbreaking: August 24, 1936.

Opened: November 1, 1936.

Dedication: October 10, 1937, at a game against Catholic University.

Named for: John McCarthy, a local banker who supported many Philadelphia charities and causes. 


McShain Hall

History: Until Summer 2016, housed the Religion Department, Graduate Theolody and Ministry, Counseling and Health Services, the Honors Program, the Alcohol and Other Drug Education Center, and the Student Counseling Center.

Groundbreaking: March 18, 1940.

Dedication: September 23, 1940.

Named for: John McShain, a nationally known builder and a great friend of the Christian Brothers who was an early benefactor of La Salle.

Demolition: Summer 2016.


Multicultural and International Center

History: Originally built in the 1930s or 1940s. First used by La Salle as its Admissions Office, late 1960s. Career Planning and Placement Bureau, 1983-1989. Urban Studies and Community Services Center moved in in 1989.


Olney Hall

Groundbreaking: May 15, 1969.

Opened: September 8, 1971.

Dedication: October 24, 1971.

Named for: Olney Avenue.


Peale House

History: Converted to the Office of the President in late 1985 or early 1986. For earlier history, see Connelly Library's Special Collections.

Purchased: April 1984.

Named for: Charles Willson Peale. For more about the Peale family, see Connelly Library's Special Collections.


Roland Holroyd Science Center

Groundbreaking: February 1, 1959. Groundbreaking for total renovation was March 20, 2008. 

Opened: April 24, 1960.

Dedication: October 20, 1960. Named "Roland Holroyd Science Center" on January 11, 1970. Dedication of the newly renovated Holroyd Hall, featuring the Hugh and Nancy Devlin Center for Science and Technology, was September 2, 2009.

Renovation: Groundbreaking was March 20, 2008. Holroyd remained closed for renovations for the 2008-2009 academic year.

Named for: Roland Holroyd, La Salle's pre-eminent Biology professor from 1920-1973.

St. Albert and St. Bernard Residence Halls 

Groundbreaking: 1952.

Opened: September 9, 1953.

Dedication: September 28, 1953.

Named for: St. Albert the Great and St. Bernard of Clairvaux.


St. Basil Court and Treetops Café

Groundbreaking: March 18, 2004.

Opened: Late August 2005.

Dedication: September 18, 2005.

Named for: St. Basil the Great.


St. Benilde Tower

Purchased: Former Germantown Hospital property purchased May 2007.


St. Cassian and St. Denis Residence Halls

Groundbreaking: May 16, 1955.

Opened: September 1956.

Named for: St. Cassian of Imola and St. Denis.


St. Edward and St. Francis Residence Halls

Groundbreaking: April 9, 1961.

Opened: September 1962.

Named for: St. Edward the Confessor and St. Francis de Sales.


St. George, St. Hilary, and St. Jerome Residence Halls

Groundbreaking: April 1965.

Opened: September 12, 1966.

Named for: St. George, St. Hilary of Poitiers, and St. Jerome.


St. John Neumann Residence Hall

History: Originally built as residence hall for residents of St. Basil's School circa 1964..

Purchased: January 1989.

Renovated: 1989-1990.

Opened: September 1990.

Named for: St. John Neumann.


St. Katharine Residence Hall

Groundbreaking: Spring 1982.

Opened: September 1983.

Named for: St. Katharine of Siena.


St. Miguel Court Townhouses

Groundbreaking: May 1988.

Opened: September 1989.

Dedicated: March 15, 1990.

Named for: St. (Bro.) Miguel Febres Cordero


St. Mutien Hall

History: Originally built in the Civil War era. Served as the St. Basil Home nursery school and as the convent for the Sisters of St. Basil the Great, a Ukrainian order of nuns who occupied it from 1954 to 1989. Previously served as a small Christian Brothers' community and a living and learning center for international students.

Purchased: January 1989.

Opened: First occupied by a small Christian Brothers' community on April 1, 1991.

Dedication: January 29, 1982.

Named for: St. Mutien-Marie Wiaux.


St. Teresa Court

History: Originally an apartment building.

Previously named: Weston Court Apartments.

Purchased: 1978 or 1979.

Opened: September 1979.

Named for: St. Teresa of Avila.


Mary and Frances Wister House

Previous names: The Snake House, because of a resident who owned snakes there. Fine Arts and Print Studio. Renamed Wister Art Studio in 1994.

Named for: Mary and Frances Wister. For more about the Wister Family, see Connelly Library Special Collections.


Wister Hall

Groundbreaking: May 15, 1929.

Previous names: the High School, or the High School Building. La Salle College High School occupied it from 1930 to 1960, when the school moved to Wyndmoor, PA.

Opened: February 5, 1930.

Dedicated: May 24, 1931 by Cardinal Dougherty.

Named for: the Wister family (see Connelly Library Special Collections).

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Books and videos about La Salle history

Oral Histories

Interviews with Christian Brothers, La Salle faculty, staff, alumni, and neighbors conducted by students in the Master of Arts in History program, as a class assignment for History 650, Oral History Theory and Methods. 

The interviews and supplementary documentation are available in Digital Commons, the Library's institutional repository.