Header Image: @LaSalleUniv via Twitter
Dr. Allen came to campus for the first time since the announcement of his presidency to meet with students and faculty.
La Salle University held a press conference on Monday, Feb. 14, 2022 during which President-elect Daniel J. Allen was able to give some remarks and share his thoughts about the LaSallian community on its campus. While this conference reaffirmed much of what was already known about Allen, and was certainly a major press beat for the University in local news, Allen appeared comfortable and confident in what he was saying.
Touting a blue and gold tie and “Big L” pin on his lapel, Allen slid into his role as La Salle’s next president during his speech at the conference, using language such as “our students,” “our campus” and other such phrases. Allen appeared comfortable in this new environment, even joking that he felt at home due to the “Chicago weather” Philadelphia was experiencing.
On the subject of his plans for La Salle, Allen said, “We begin by creating an inclusive and equitable environment where all learners regardless of background are welcomed.” During his speech Allen reaffirmed his commitment to underrepresented communities, civic engagement and social justice. Beyond these commitments, Allen also stated that “teaching and learning and our concern for social justice take place in an environment where we are committed to high quality academic programs.”
“Nearly 100 percent of our students at La Salle receive financial aid. That is a commitment that matters to me and that is a commitment that I think is important to post-secondary education in the United States,” said Allen. The president-elect confirmed that he will be working to serve many underserved communities in the La Salle community, not the least of which are students that require financial help to continue their education.
“I have a very ambitious agenda for this University,” said Allen. And while he could not share explicit details just yet, he reminded the community that “42 percent of our students identify as students of color, 37 percent of our students receive Pell grants, 28 percent of our students are the first in their families to attend a college or university” and that these populations are the ones he wants to serve and part of the reason why he was attracted to La Salle.
After the speech, Allen moved to the Union Food Court to meet and chat with students in a comfortable environment. He had lengthy conversions with several students, sitting or standing with them and asking about their ambitions. Allen was even seen returning to students much later in the afternoon to continue previous conversations. Senior communication sciences and disorders student Francesca Spinosi talked to Allen several times on Monday, and said, “He was very nice. He saw that I was working on schoolwork and asked me about it. We had a really good conversation and he was very immersed in it.”
Allen’s commitment to underserved communities, his apparent appreciation and understanding of students and reaffirmations regarding fundraising and university development show that Allen’s first public trip to La Salle was successful for the university’s perception of his plans.