Kylie McGovern, Editor
President Daniel J. Allen, Ph.D.’s inauguration weekend began on Thursday, Oct. 27 with mass at the Miraculous Medal Shrine just a few minutes away from La Salle. Mass was celebrated by our very own Father Frank, and La Salle students participated in mass by singing in the choir, being altar servers, reading and handing out programs. In addition to students, there were La Sallian brothers, parents, Dr. Allen’s family and alumni in attendance. After mass, there was a reception in Founders Hall where attendees mingled.
The next morning the official inauguration ceremony began at 10:00 a.m. A live stream recording is available on Facebook. Provost Shivanthi Anandan, Ph.D. opened the ceremony with a few words about the importance of a university’s presidential inauguration and introduced Brother Robert Shieler, FSC who is the former superior general of the brothers of the Christian schools. Then, Brother Robert Shieler offered an invocation for the ceremony. Following this prayerful invocation, Anandan offered a thank you to president emeritus Brother Michael McGuiness, FSC, Ph.D. for the leadership he provides to the university.
Chair of the Board of Trustees of La Salle University Ellen Reilly then offered her thoughts to the university and Dr. Allen. Reilly discusses her time at LA Salle, its 160-year history, and the future to be explored through the leadership of Dr. Allen. The archbishop of Philadelphia Nelson Perez offered a written greeting and later celebrated mass on Sunday. Sister Mary Persico IHM Ed.D, president of Marywood University, brought greetings on behalf of our commonwealth institutions. Various other notable individuals including State senator Art Haywood, Philadelphia mayor and La Salle graduate Jim Kenney, Victoria Ketz, Ph.D. president of the faculty senate, dean of students TiRease Holmes, MBA, Robert. and Christine Mancini, parents of four la salle students/alumni, and Joseph Markmann Ph.D., MBA, president of the alumni association.
Then a video of students was shared during the inauguration. Students in this video offered congratulations, personal anecdotes, excitement, and messages of hope to Dr. Allen. Following this video, Student Government Association president Michaela Craner offered a greeting to Dr. Allen as well.
James Collins, president of Loras College which is Dr. Allen’s alma mater, formally introduced Dr. Allen as La Salle’s 30th president. Collins shared stories of his relationship with Dr. Allen while he was in college from his time playing college basketball to his meeting his wife.
Finally, Dr. Allen opened his speech with a joke about shooting three-pointers and continued with a light-hearted but genuine speech. Dr. Allen then pivoted to a more emotional and serious thank you to Collins. Dr. Allen continued to encourage the community to embrace the unknown while thanking the people around them. Dr. Allen then thanked some of these special people in attendance. Allen reflected on his catholic education that began when he was in first grade and continued through each of the degrees he received. Allen spoke about his call to come to La Salle as well as St. John Baptist de la Salle’s call to educate. President Allen then discussed a few goals of La Salle University and hope for a successful future for the community and students including discussions of new graduate degree programs and the launch of the $10 million initiative called the Charter Challenge. La Salle students were extremely. Ending his speech in a light-hearted, but kind way like how he began, Dr. Allen put on a Philadelphia Phillies hat.
The inauguration ceremony ended with a closing prayer by brother James Gaffney and the alma mater. The La Salle Community then enjoyed a celebration on the Hansen Quad with music and lunch. On Sunday evening, Archbishop Perez celebrated mass in the day la salle chapel to end the weekend.
Editor’s note: I would be remiss to not offer my personal excitement and congratulations to Dr. Allen. I wish Dr. Allen both success and the best of luck in this role. I hope he continues to find this LaSallian community here the way I and so many others have. I have been lucky enough to have spoken with Dr. Allen a few times and I can truly tell he is a Lasallian and will do great things for this community.