La Salle University kicked off a year-long celebration of its 150th anniversary last week at its convocation. Mayor Michael Nutter attended the ceremony on August 23 and presented an official proclamation to university president Michael J. McGinniss, F.S.C.
The theme for the anniversary year is “Living the Promise,” which “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,” says McGinniss.
“Part of our Lasallian heritage is about faith, service and community,” added Brother Bob Kinzler, F.S.C., director of University Ministry and Service. “As a campus community, we pride ourselves on the service we do.” That service includes more than 50,000 hours of volunteer work by students over each of the last few years.
The university is organizing a special sesquicentennial Day of Service on Sept. 29. On that Saturday, both current students and alumni — as well as faculty, staff and friends — will volunteer in school and community renovation projects and efforts with children and the elderly. Activities are being planned for not only 45 sites in Philadelphia, but for the surrounding counties, across the country from Boston to San Francisco, and internationally.
A relationship with history
In addition to service, “we also wanted to highlight our relationship with Philadelphia and our founding during the Civil War,” said James Butler, professor of English at La Salle and a member of the anniversary committee. “After all, about six weeks after La Salle received its charter [in March 1863], General Lee began to plan his invasion of Pennsylvania,” which ended in the Battle of Gettysburg.
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin will present a talk on Philadelphia and the Civil War next March during the Heritage Week Celebration.