La Salle’s test-free pilot program is a win for access and equity

Editorial

Bianca Abbate, Former Editor-in-Chief

Dear Editor,

Today, I write to you as a proud La Salle alumna. With the news that La Salle University will no longer consider standardized tests for admission or merit scholarships comes the realization that the University is paving a path toward equity in education. The future looks bright. This decision means that La Salle will be following the lead of other universities who will now endeavor a more holistic application process. 

Receiving a merit scholarship to attend La Salle University opened many doors for me. Perhaps the greatest door was having graduated college debt-free. While the experience seems distant, I think back to how I earned that scholarship in the first place. I recall my final days in high school and the anxiety of applying to college. I remember thinking that my grades and involvement would not be good enough if my SAT score could not reach a certain threshold. Even as a 17-year-old kid, I knew that I had more to offer a school than the number I could achieve on a standardized test, but I also knew that I had to surrender to this necessary hurdle for college admissions.   

Ultimately, I performed well on the SAT. However, I assure you that my score had little to do with my aptitude and everything to do with the fact that I had the means to prepare for the test. I had the time to study and the money for tutoring. How many college applicants can say the same? The truth is that these standardized tests are not so standard after all. Like many other standardized tests, the SAT favors the rich and the white. The College Board’s own data reveals that wealthier, Caucasion and Asian Americans who come from more educated families tend to perform far better on the test. In a 2021 study of college admission tests, author Mark Kantrowitz presents three key findings: that male students are 42% more likely to have combined SAT test scores in the 1400 to 1600 range than female students, that white students are three times more likely than Black or African-American students and twice as likely as Hispanic or Latino students to have SAT test scores of 1400 to 1600, and that students with family income of $100,000 or more are more than twice as likely as students with a family income under $50,000 to have SAT test scores of 1400 to 1600. If these shameful results raise not even an eyebrow for those in education, what can we say about the merit of our education system?

Figure 1. Students from higher-income families tend to achieve higher SAT scores

Source. Mark Kantrowitz, Forbes

https://www.forbes.com/sites/markkantrowitz/2021/05/21/how-admissions-tests-discriminate-against-low-income-and-minority-student-admissions-at-selective-colleges/?sh=6078e49f3cc1

It would seem natural for a university to move away from these antiquated metrics for admission. Nonetheless, the news of this pilot program has been met with some criticism. In one LinkedIn post announcing the program, some rejoiced and others lamented, arguing that La Salle’s test-free policies would not prepare students for the “real world” and that it would lower the University’s standards. I cannot blame people for believing that this test might be a good measure of college preparedness and intelligence. After all, this concept has been shoved down our throats for years. Yet, I refuse to believe that La Salle is lowering its standards in this decision. Rather, La Salle is raising its standards for access to higher education. The University will not submit to the standards invented by the College Board to determine who will excel in their schools, an occasion to be celebrated.

I applaud La Salle’s decision to move past these arbitrary markers of college preparedness. Today, I am in a similar position as my 17-year-old self. I am now applying for law school and preparing to take the LSAT for the third time next week. Despite having the skills, the grades and the resume that I believe would make me a successful lawyer, I am subjected to yet another inequitable test which does not favor me as a first-generation student or a full-time employee. Even worse, this time, the test is much more costly and time-consuming, and the stakes are higher. Of course, the $200 test registration fees and thousands of dollars in decent test prep do not include the additional means it will take to submit one’s application. It saddens me to know that to even begin the pursuit of advanced education requires a hefty down payment. For many, the dream of becoming a doctor or lawyer will not be realized, not because they lack the intelligence or the tenacity, but because they lack the funds. The system must change.

Stellar test scores and even great grades can only get one so far in life. The true mark of a Lasallian is his or her character and commitment to community. These traits, not numbers, are what open doors for us and allow us to succeed in the professional world. I say that, as it does with each student it admits, La Salle took a chance on me, and I like to think that it will see a return on its investment. It is my hope as an alumna that La Salle will continue to take chances on students who will enrich the University with their unique perspectives. With La Salle’s new policy, the admissions team will find something special in young people that they may have otherwise overlooked. With the right tools and a nurturing environment, these students will undoubtedly prove the admissions team right in their decision. That’s a win for La Salle.

Upcoming: Global Language Awareness Week (March 23rd-25th)

Upcoming Events

Bianca Abbate, Editor-in-Chief

The Department of Global Languages, Literatures and Perspectives looks forward to its third annual Global Language Awareness Week. The department will host virtual events from March 23 to March 25. Read below for more information.

Tuesday March 23 2021

Register for a talk on foreign languages and career opportunities with Bill Nolte here.

Wednesday March 24, 2021

Join us for cultural presentations. More information on these talks (including times and topics) will be updated on this page at a later date. If you are interested in giving a 10-15 minute presentation about a piece of your culture, contact Bianca Abbate (abbateb2@lasalle.edu).

10:00 AM        “Ruins in my Way: How Romans work around an ancient city”

                        Dr. Susan Dixon 
Join here.

11:00 AM        “The Italian Region That Doesn’t Exist..”

                        Prof. Colavita 
Join here.

1:00 PM          “Russian Study Abroad”

                        Bianca Abbate

Join here.

3:30 PM          Explorer Cafe: Hispanic, Latino, Latinx? What Does It All Mean? 

Dr. Ossa and Yazmin Herrera Galan

Registration Required

5:00 PM          “Cooking Tapas with Vicki”

                        Dr. Ketz  

Join here.

Thursday March 25, 2021

12:30 PM        “Leadership and Global Understanding” – Learn more about the minor

                        Dr. Miguel Glatzer 
Join here.

2:00 PM          “Impressionism to Modernism: French Paintings at the Philadelphia Museum Of Art”

                        Brother Leonard Marsh

Join here.

Full Presentation Schedule and Other Resources

Wednesday March 24, 2021

TimeCountryPresentation Title
10:00 am      Italy“Ruins in my Way: How Romans work  around an ancient city” Dr. Susan Dixon 
**LIVE** Join URL: https://lasalle.zoom.us/j/86872817290   
10:30 am10 Fun Facts about Italy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1D8Adbk8m4Guided Tour of the Vatican https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeTNusuDBg4
11:00 am“The Italian Region That Doesn’t Exist…” Prof. Annamaria Colavita 
**LIVE** Join URL: https://lasalle.zoom.us/j/87156362171
11:30 amVerona https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rn1QRl7bTvMWine Making https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au5gHe6Z9Uo
12:00 pm   Japan Anime https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhPR-qWBaqoFlower Origami https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWsL-_pgmTcHow to Roll Your Own Sushi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40MiH9-FQ5wJapanese Art https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytjhcZwjxGgFun Facts about Japan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URDXZSJZ2MEJapanese Street Fashion https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JpVNjY7PWk
1:00 pm   Russia“Russian Study Abroad” Bianca Abbate**LIVE** Join URL: https://lasalle.zoom.us/j/88946659811
1:15 pmDr. Barbara Allen’s Dramatic Reading https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXSdEvecLD0&feature=youtu.be
1:30 pmSt. Petersburg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-7M1R3I5scWinter Palace https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4ysav25I3g
2:00 pm GermanyFun Facts about Germany https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_F8iHPqiUuYWalking Tour of Heidelberg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOdWJxJ4Tr8Black Forest Tour https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOUqNnd0wUo  
3:00pmLatin AmericaCosta Rica’s Biodiversity https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-CbbmsNvx4
3:30 pmExplorer Cafe: Hispanic, Latino, Latinx? What Does It All Mean? Dr. Ossa and Yazmin Herrera Galan**LIVE** Registration Required
4:30 pmHispanic CountriesArgentine Tango https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXhQNRsH3uc  Leather working Marroquineria https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMMYs_Eo6P010 Places to visit in Ecuador https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nry1SO45RT4La Tomatina (World’s Largest Food Fight) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYfNs9_Lpa4The Fallas of Valencia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qb7g-eqeDLg
5:00 pmSpain“Cooking Tapas with Vicki”Dr. Ketz  **LIVE** Join URL: https://lasalle.zoom.us/j/85863745421

Thursday March 25, 2021

12:30 pm    “Leadership and Global Understanding”Dr. Miguel Glatzer Student Panel
**LIVE** Join URL: https://lasalle.zoom.us/j/81277264867 
1:30 pm  FranceFun Facts about France https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGDcDICQswgMont St. Michel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PhFkGI9_-YChateaux of the Loire River Valley https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LS9ANdUpTuQ
2:00 pm“Impressionism to Modernism: French Paintings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art”Brother Leonard Marsh**LIVE** Join URL: https://lasalle.zoom.us/j/81383240715

The Department is also seeking school-wide participation. You can join in on the celebration of foreign languages by contributing to our collaborative, global song playlist here or by submitting pictures abroad here. The photos will be featured on the Collegian website at a later date.

For more information about Global Language Awareness Week, please contact Department Chair Victoria Ketz via email (ketz@lasalle.edu).

abbateb2@lasalle.edu

The history of Black students at La Salle: Part I (From the 1930s to the Civil Rights Era)

Features

Bianca Abbate, Editor-in-Chief

This article was written with the help of the La Salle University Archives. University archivist Catherine Carey makes the following disclaimer: “It’s difficult to tell the story of Black life at La Salle because of the lack of documentation we have in the University Archives. Most of the information we have about our first Black students or the early years of the Black Student Union is told through records created by the University administration about those people. We have very few records created by those students themselves. We can fill these gaps in the historical record by doing things like oral history interviews, but the fact is that those records were not considered to be as important as other records at that time, and so we are missing important, first-hand accounts.” 

It started in 1938 with a letter from a woman named Ethel Lee addressed to the then-archbishop of Philadelphia, Cardinal Dennis J. Dougherty. Lee, the secretary of the Philadelphia chapter of the Federated Colored Catholics of the United States, had originally sent a letter to then-President of La Salle, Brother Edwin Anselm in 1937, but when it was not answered, Lee took the issue to His Eminence. The prior academic year, two Black students had been rejected — seemingly without cause — from La Salle College: James Richardson and Harvey Scott. Lee called on the cardinal to push for the acceptance of Black students into the college in order to preserve Catholic values and reject “communist” ones. “This debarring of Negroes from Catholic colleges is furnishing the Communists with additional propaganda to lure the Negro from the Catholic Church,” wrote Lee. “We direct this plea in the belief that you will make it possible for our Negro youth in this diocese to be given the advantages of a higher education under the auspices of Holy Mother Church, and at the same time protect them from the baleful influence of communism.” Later that year, the Lasallians held a meeting in which they approved the admittance of Black Catholics. Had Lee not brought the issue to the cardinal’s attention, Black students might have started at La Salle at a much later date.

The following fall, the college welcomed its first Black student on campus: a man from Philadelphia named Elmer Brown. A member of the Track and Field team, Brown was an active part of life at La Salle. While there are few official records to indicate the challenges faced by La Salle’s first Black student, Brown’s tenure on the Track team was not always smooth sailing. In fact, at one meet in a Southern state, Brown was barred from competition because of his race. The incident was criticized by the Collegian staff in its editorial section. While Brown is an important part of La Salle’s Black history, Brown was not the first Black graduate of La Salle, however. Brown ultimately enlisted in the army during World War II and did not return to La Salle. 

Elmer Brown is seated third from the left.
Photo courtesy of the La Salle University Archives

Throughout the 1940s and 50s, there would be only a small Black student population. The first Black graduate at La Salle would be Edward Murray in 1946. Following his time at La Salle, Murray would go to medical school and ultimately become a doctor. Warren E. Smith was one of the first Black students to graduate from La Salle’s Pre-Med program in 1954. He would become La Salle’s psychiatrist in 1969 and remain at the institution until 1984 when he retired. While maintaining a private practice, Smith also served on the staffs of Hahnemann University Hospital and Einstein Medical Center. Smith was also a psychiatric consultant to other Philadelphia institutions.

With the acceptance of more Black students, the college needed to address Black issues. In the late-1940s, La Salle became an actor in the Interracial Council — an organization created in order to address issues of race at the local colleges. According to the Collegian’s records, the Philadelphia institutions met at La Salle College for the first time. The organization discussed the work that the institutions had done for the local communities. In the 1950s, members of La Salle College also published the Collegiate Interracial Monthly which addressed issues of race. Black students did not have much of a voice on campus at this time. For this reason, the Collegian has little insight on the unique experiences of Black students or individual events of racism at the time. However, more generally, racial discrimination was pervasive in Philadelphia and across the nation in the 1940s and 50s, and racist attitudes would also exist on college campuses.

The Civil Rights Era brought many changes to La Salle, including greater inclusion and accountability. The 1960s saw a rise in activism and greater civil liberties for Black Americans across the country; that spirit of activism was present also at La Salle University. Firstly, it was at this point that the institution started to track demographic data consistently. The Black Student Union also became a critical presence on campus in the late-1960s. The organization had a sizable impact on the school. Largely because of the activism of the Black Student Union, La Salle began to accept more Black students, hire more Black faculty/staff and incorporate a Black history course into the curriculum. Yet, the Black Student Union faced many difficulties as an organization. Members of the University even labeled the organization as a “threat.”

The Black Student Union was not the only Black organization on campus to face struggles, however. According to the archival work of junior Emily Dorr, “almost every Black student group that has been present on campus was shut down, disbanded or suspended for reasons hidden under bureaucratic pretenses.” Furthermore, these groups were seen by the University as special interest groups. In 1968, then-President of the college, Brother Daniel Burke released an official report in which he stated, “As the diversity of the campus population increases, so do the number of special interest groups and subcultures. Polarization threatens the sense of community that must integrate the College. The problem is a real one at the present time. Our black students must be encouraged in their efforts to promote their self-respect and their cultural pride without separating themselves into an antagonistic relationship with the majority.” 

Photo Courtesy of the La Salle University Archives

Despite the administrative challenges, Black student groups persisted. Without a complete oral history, it is impossible to quantify the unique experiences and struggles of Black students as events during this era unfolded across the country. Yet, the events and publications of these student groups offer a hint into Black culture at La Salle through the 20th century. In 1969, the first Afro-Americans Arts Festival was hosted on campus. A celebration of Black art, the event featured a number of performances. Among the attendees were names like Muhammad Ali and Sammy Davis Jr. 

Around this time, La Salle experienced a wake-up call in terms of race relations. La Salle had recently piloted its Open Door Program, which was an initiative to accept more Black students into the institution. The program was a precursor to later support programs at the University. It had partially failed, however, because the institution underestimated the level of support Black students from the local community might need. 

The controversy surrounding the program is an indication that efforts of Black students to bring to light the issues of racism on and off campus created a dialogue about race at La Salle. From this discourse, it was clear that there was a disconnect on campus. In an October 1969 issue of the Collegian, a sociology professor wrote about racism and La Salle in a commentary article. In the article, he defended La Salle as a school which promoted equality for the Black community and criticized those who questioned the program, saying, “The style of disrespect will not advance interracial justice.” The article was in response to another letter to the editor titled “No Compromise,” in which the author — who signed the article “Frustrated Black Student” — called out the University for the program which the student saw as a band aid solution. The student wrote, “It is rare, if ever, that Whites in positions of solving racial problems really ever want to get right down to the real nitty gritty and deal directly with the crux or the reality concerning such matters.” The student ended with a call to action: “The seeds are being sowed by whites with power, and only they can change the situation, not only mine, but my people many of whom feel just as I.” Black members of the Lasallian community were demanding change, while White members were applauding La Salle’s efforts.

The decade would end with these dynamic insights about race on campus, and a new decade would begin with La Salle opening its doors to its first Black women students…

The sequel to this article will feature Black students at La Salle from the end of the Civil Rights Era into the 21st century. To contribute your voice, please contact the author.

abbateb2@lasalle.edu

From nights in Kiev to lessons in Kant: featuring Anastasia Kershaw, ‘21

Features

Bianca Abbate, Editor-in-Chief

In 22 short years, La Salle senior Anastasia Kershaw, or Nastya, as she is known around campus, has accomplished a lot: she’s spent summers in her childhood at a convent, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for charity and even endured the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. Through it all, her adaptability has enabled her to succeed in intricate environments time and time again.

Pictured above is Nastya off of I-95. (Courtesy of Anastasia Kershaw)

Kershaw is a biology and philosophy double major. Since the age of 7, she dreamt of being a doctor, hence the biology track. Her pursuit of philosophy was inspired by a general education course she took freshman year, in which she realized how applicable the content was to her day-to-day life. One philosophy professor who had an immense impact on Nastya as a student was philosophy professor Cornelia Tsakiridou: “It’s something about the way that she lectures or the readings she assigns, but she helped me incorporate this cool thing I’d learn in University into my everyday life. You read about life and then you live life.” Kershaw also admires that Tsakiridou is quick to hold students accountable: “She helped me step out of myself and observe my thoughts and biases. It made me a better thinker and a better human.” She particularly enjoyed a class on ethics and the death penalty with said professor. Kershaw is also the recipient of this year’s Department of Philosophy award, which is given to an exemplary student from the department each year.

La Salle wasn’t always on Kershaw’s radar. In fact, the graduating senior saw herself at a large school, particularly in Boston, just 4 short years ago. Her aunt and uncle, who met as Explorers, encouraged her to apply to the school, and after Kershaw received a good deal from the University, the rest was history. In her time at the University, Kershaw has held multiple jobs, played rugby and currently edits for the Collegian (something she always wanted to do). She has also conducted research with Chair of the Biology Department David Zuzga; the research entailed finding a biological marker to determine a relapse in colon cancer.

Pictured above are Nastya and her father. (Courtesy of Anastasia Kershaw)

Philadelphia is the beloved home of Kershaw, but the biology-philosophy double major has her roots in Kiev, Ukraine, where she was raised. The daughter of a Ukrainian mother and American father (who met at a bus stop in Kiev where her father was stationed), Kershaw is somewhat of a global citizen. She’s traveled to places like Italy, Qatar and Tanzania, leaving her mark across the globe. This is something Nastya talks a great deal about with her dad, being “rootless.” “It feels like I’m too Ukrainian to be American and too American to be Urkainian,” she tells me. Because Kershaw has always attended international schools and has American relatives, it throws many people off that Kershaw has no Ukrainian accent. Kershaw remarked that this common misconception is often a source of frustration for her.

Still, her Ukrainian roots are an important part of Kershaw’s identity. She recalls with great nostalgia her Ukrainian upbringing, of which her grandparents were a large part. She spent many summers of her childhood at a convent in the country with no electricity or running water where she would tend to cows (her favorite having been named “Fly”) and fetch water from wells. She also worked in a kitchen, ultimately inspiring her love of cooking. Kershaw keeps in touch with her Kiev roots by going to the Ukrainian markets in Northeast Philadelphia, chatting with Ukrainian family members, watching Ukrainian/Russian TV shows and enjoying Ukrainian memes on the internet. She also loves borscht, a staple Ukrainian soup made with beetroots. When asked what the secret was to a good borscht recipe, Kershaw quickly replied, “Have your grandmother make it.”

Nastya tells me her grandfather is a “big storyteller.” (Courtesy of Anastasia Kershaw)

Before coming to La Salle, Kershaw did spend most of her time in Kiev. However, Kershaw is quick to recall a 3-month stint in the suburbs of Pennsylvania back in 2014. 2014 was the year of the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine, which culminated in the ousting of the Ukrainian President and the overthrow of the Ukrainian government. As civil unrest unfolded throughout the region, Kershaw’s mother, then pregnant with one of Kershaw’s younger siblings, decided to take her children to the States. There, Kershaw experienced one of the greatest culture shocks of her life. A time when she truly had to channel her adaptability, the young teen entered Catholic school for the first time in the middle of the school year and faced unique challenges as a student. After 3 months, Kershaw returned to Ukraine. Though disruptive, that time period brought Kershaw closer to her grandmother.

The last semester of college has offered Kershaw a great deal of time to reflect on her past experiences. If there were one thing she could tell her younger self, it would be: “Just go for it.” She continues, “I’ve had weird phases of being timid in my life — they still come and go — I wish I could tell myself to just go for it. What’s the worst that can happen?” Now, she’s taking her own advice and running with it. Despite her childhood dream of becoming a doctor, Kershaw no longer feels tethered to this goal. “I kind of want to do everything,” says the senior, who is currently pursuing other career options. Big things are to come for Anastasia Kershaw.

When she isn’t engaged in her studies, cooking her signature soy ginger salmon for her roommates or jogging through the City of Brotherly Love, Kershaw is serving tables and tending the bar at an upscale joint in Olde City called Marmont Steakhouse. For readers over the age of 21, Kershaw recommends trying Marmont’s Market Street Wino cocktail.

There are many simple pleasures Kershaw misses from a pre-Covid world, but one of the greatest is the ability to go home and see her Ukrainian family. The global citizen is staying strong, however. She lives by the mantra frequently embraced by her grandmother: “This too shall pass.”

abbateb2@lasalle.edu

What I wish I knew as a freshman

Commentary

Bianca Abbate, Editor-in-Chief

As graduation looms, I think back to my freshman self, partly with embarrassment and partly with nostalgia. I think back to the Eagles’ Super Bowl win. I also think back to the death of a classmate. I found myself in countless unprecedented situations and yet, here I am. When I was a freshman, I had the privilege of being surrounded by upperclassmen and professors whose mentorship enabled me to thrive in college. With an almost entirely virtual college experience, this year’s freshman class may not be so lucky. To the class of 2024, I may never meet you, but I see your struggle and I hope the advice to follow can guide your college experience as it did mine.

Never be a Jack of All Trades; be a Master of One. What makes a great student? We know it’s more than grades; it’s also extracurriculars (among a host of other attributes). I was that student in high school who wanted to be involved in everything: sports, theater, student government, etc. I thought that doing well in these endeavours was enough to land me a spot in an ivy league school. It wasn’t. Truth be told, I may have done well in these activities, but all I really needed was to be the best at one of them. In college, I took a different approach by involving myself in fewer extracurriculars. There were three things to which I wanted to dedicate my time: the newspaper, my Russian studies and mock trial. Though — like for many anxious overachievers — the idea that I could be doing more loomed, I no longer wanted to be a member of every club; I wanted to be the president of one. Diverting all of my energy into these areas enabled me to excel in these endeavours. I wrote consistently for the paper my freshman year, took over the commentary section sophomore year, assumed the managing editor role my junior year and finally became the editor-in-chief my senior year. The time and dedication that the editors and I have put into the Collegian has brought us a great deal of opportunities, new connections and pride. When I immersed myself in my Russian studies, I ultimately earned a State Department scholarship which landed me in Russia for a summer. For these reasons, people associate me with the paper and with Russia, and I have assumed that identity for my own professional development. An important piece of advice I would have for freshmen is to make a name for yourself in one big way: be the student who does one thing and does it exceptionally well.

Quit things. Of course, in order to have a niche, one must find it. This will require a great deal of trial and error. If you would believe it, I was once a D1 athlete (well, for a couple months) in my college days. My freshman year, when I saw that the rowing team was recruiting members, I walked onto the team bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. The 5 a.m. practices and hours on the erg machines were a valiant challenge at first, but it was not long until I was so exhausted from my morning practices that I would skip classes later in the day. I was drained emotionally and physically from the commitment of being an athlete, but I was reluctant to quit because I thought it made me a weak person. Nonetheless, a tragic event in the university community brought me to my senses. I put aside my ego and ultimately abandoned the D1 lifestyle. Not everyone was supportive. An assistant coach at the time even texted me to tell me that “people were right about me.” That’s the thing, though; many people fear quitting because of what others will think about them. What is more valuable to you: your time, energy and sanity or the opinion of others? I chose the former every time. Never feel stuck in a college activity. At the end of the day, it’s a college activity. One of the thrills of adulthood is the freedom to choose one’s own path. If your current path is not serving you, ditch it.

Be your own advocate. Many barriers which seem to exist between students and professors and between students and the University are not actually there. Coming into college, we think that, if we get a bad grade on an assignment, we get a bad grade. We think that, if the University bills us a fee, we pay the fee. What they don’t want you to know (well at least one of those groups) is that there are nuances in this little system of ours and that, in order to get what we want from our college experience, we need to find the loopholes. We must be our own advocates. Grades and deadlines are not as final as one may think. The biggest tool one has in succeeding in college is using his voice. Communicate with your professor. So many times have I reached out to my professors to explain why my life situation may be affecting my coursework at that time. Almost every time the professor has been understanding in those situations. In other situations, I email the professor before the semester even starts: “Look, I want to give my best effort in this class, but this semester, I am working full-time and may not be able to give my 100 percent every class.” I have also said things like, “I will be applying to law school in the future and I want my transcript to be competitive. What are some things I can do to achieve an A in this course?” It speaks to one’s character and seriousness as a student to be able to communicate openly about their needs and capabilities. Keep it real with your professors, and they will return the respect. The University too is more accessible than people think. Sending an email or making a call to voice one’s concerns goes longer than a student may think. Many times, he will be able to get out of that one parking ticket or avoid that late fee by simply leveling with another human. Speak up for yourself and don’t be afraid to give some pushback. After all, you are the consumer.

Your college years will flash before your very eyes. Everyone will tell you that. Not everyone will tell you that it takes a bit of finesse and grit to actually be successful in that short amount of time. The aforementioned pieces of advice have served me well in my time on Broad and Olney, and yet there are a million more tidbits I could share. Put yourself out there. Be unconventional. Make a name for yourself. When you leave, do your alma mater proud. But most importantly, write for your favorite student publication, the Collegian.

abbateb2@lasalle.edu

The rise and fall of the La Salle football team

Features

Bianca Abbate, Editor-in-Chief

This article was made possible in large part by the help of Catherine Carey from the La Salle University Archives.


For many college graduates, memories of football games are among the most prized of them all. An American tradition, college football is a culture immersed in family, tradition and even tribalism. Yet, for La Salle grads, most cannot relate to the nostalgic feeling of fall football games. In fact, many students at the University today may be surprised to know that — at different points in history — La Salle had its own football team that dates back to the 1930s. This week, the Collegian is looking at the chronology of the football team at La Salle and why the Blue and Gold no longer put their hats in the football ring. 

A Letter from Notre Dame

In Dec. 1930, legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne addressed a letter to Brother Francis de Sales of La Salle. In the letter, Rockne recommended that his former football team captain, Tom Conley, become the first football coach for La Salle College. A Philadelphia native, Conley was the captain and star end on the 1930 championship team at Notre Dame and was set to graduate in the spring. The college took Rockne’s advice and welcomed Conley back to Philly. Two months after signing the letter to Brother Francis, Rockne was tragically killed in a fatal airplane crash in Kansas. 

Conley, Brill and Victory

Practice for the La Salle College football team under the young Coach Conley commenced in Aug. 1931. Sep. 26, 1931, in front of a crowd of 3,000 at the old Baker Bowl (former home of the Philadelphia Phillies and the Philadelphia Eagles) on Broad Street, La Salle defeated Brooklyn City College (26-0). The same year marked the beginning of the Collegian newspaper on campus; while the paper reported on the victory, the tenderfoot journalists did not report a date for this game. Oct. 17, 1931 marked the first home game in La Salle’s first varsity football season. The Blue and Gold (not yet the Explorers) came out victorious over Moravian College (18-6). Due to heavy rain, not many fans were able to witness the game. Nonetheless, the team was off to a great start, and for these newcomers, anything was possible. 

In March 1932, former Notre Dame star Marty Brill was signed as head coach of the football program. Come fall of 1934, the College registered an undefeated football season. Beating neighboring teams, such as St. Joe’s and Villanova, the La Salle football team was regarded as a premier program in the state of Pennsylvania.

The home of the Blue and Gold would be the Baker Bowl until the McCarthy Stadium opened in 1936. Named after a generous friend of La Salle College, John A. McCarthy, the stadium is a venue for sports at La Salle to this day.

The Beginning of the End 

No one knew that La Salle’s victory against the Pennsylvania Military College (12-2) Nov. 22, 1941 would be the University’s last official football game for 56 years. The grave events in American history to follow this game would be what ultimately pulled the plug on La Salle football. Dec. 7 1941 marked the attack of Pearl Harbor; the United States would enter World War II the following day. The University dropped the football program for the duration of the war. In its 11-season run, La Salle had a composite record of 51-34-8. 

A Fleeting Revival

In 1967, after a long absence from the campus, football unofficially returned to La Salle College via a club football team. In the season opener, Sat., Oct. 14, under the coaching of Frank Garfolo, the Blue and Gold defeated St. Francis College (20-0) in front of 3,000 fans. Of the five games in that club season, this game was the sole victory.

The Boys are Back in Town

Sep. 6, 1997, after a 56-year hiatus, the La Salle football team officially returned to the field, competing in NCAA football, Division 1-AA (non-scholarship). In that Saturday game, La Salle faced Fairfield University. At halftime, the Blue and Gold held the lead against Fairfield (10-7), but ultimately lost in the second half with a final score of 34-10. Nonetheless, the Explorers played for a crowd of 6,600 in the McCarthy Stadium stands. In its 1999 season, La Salle officially joined the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Football League (MAAC). 

Nov. 19, 2007, the La Salle administration announced that the University would discontinue the football program due to the collapse of the MAAC Football League (at which point only La Salle, Marist and Iona remained). The University did not have the resources to move La Salle to another conference due to traveling expenses. This announcement marked the conclusion of the La Salle football team in the modern era. So, while the Explorers are no longer attending tailgates before kickoff, they would be remiss to forget football was once a part of life at La Salle.

abbateb2@lasalle.edu

La Salle lets it snow

Features, Uncategorized

Bianca Abbate, Editor-in-Chief

Class may still have been in session, but snowfall on campus for the past two days has brought a playful air to 20th and Olney. Alumni and students share their Lasallian snow days flicks of past and present with the Collegian:

abbateb2@lasalle.edu

La Salle President to leave; three administrators to follow

News
La Salle University
 From Left to Right: Colleen Hanycz, Joe Meade, Dawn Soufleris, Kevin E. Dolan. Four administrators are leaving the University; meanwhile, the Board has created an executive vice president role.

Bianca Abbate, Editor-in-Chief

This story is developing.

The recent announcement that La Salle President Colleen Hanycz would leave La Salle University for Xavier University left many in the community with questions; now, one source has revealed that departing with Hanycz are Chief of Staff Joe Meade, Vice President of Strategy and General Counsel Kevin E. Dolan and Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Dawn Soufleris. 

During an opening meeting Jan. 14, it was announced to faculty that the three administrators would be leaving the University for new roles. Dolan and Meade are to leave in February; Soufleris is to leave in April.

Chief of Staff and Executive Director of Government and Community Affairs Joe Meade is set to assume the role of vice president of community relations and government affairs at Comcast Spectator. Meade will begin his new role leading the company’s strategy and program development efforts Feb. 22; according to the Philadelphia Tribune, his main objective at Comcast Spectator will be to grow the game of hockey within the greater Philadelphia area. In his current position at the University, Meade’s responsibilities include personnel operations, financial management and coordination with senior leadership, as well as lobbying for public funding opportunities for the University. In 2018, Meade was named to Philadelphia Business Journal’s “40 Under 40,” after which he told University Communications, “I am appreciative in being given the opportunity to serve in such a significant capacity under the leadership of President Hanycz. Momentum is upon us, and I am thrilled to be a part of the remarkable La Salle community.” Meade’s position at La Salle will not be filled at this time.

Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Dawn Soufleris will assume a new role in New Jersey at Montclair State University April 5, 2021. In her new role, she will oversee 22 departments with nearly 300 employees and some 700 student workers. Soufleris joined La Salle in 2016 after serving at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) as associate vice president for student affairs. Since 2016, Soufleris has re-envisioned Public Safety and Career Services and developed a week-long student orientation program for incoming freshmen. She is also the institution’s deputy Title IX director. Soufleris told Montclair State University, “Providing students with support, positive engagement, and ample opportunities to find their niche and to shine have been my central tenets throughout my career in higher education…To be able to continue this work as a member of the Red Hawk family is such an honor…I look forward to meeting students, the SDCL staff and the campus community and to learning more about the exceptional educational experience Montclair provides to its students.” To date, the University has appointed former Assistant Vice President of Strategic Communications and Marketing Angela Polec to the role of vice president of enrollment, marketing and communications, effective Feb. 8. 

La Salle University
Pictured above is new Vice President of Enrollment, Marketing and Communications Angela Polec.

Vice President of Strategy and General Counsel Kevin Dolan is set to leave in February for a role as partner of a law firm, Mullen Coughlin, in which he will handle data privacy. In his current role at La Salle, Dolan oversees legal issues and strategic initiatives at the University. He also serves as secretary to the Board of Trustees. Before joining La Salle in 2015, Dolan worked in the private law sector as partner at the Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith firm in its Data Privacy and Network Security practice group. Effective Feb. 8, former Associate General Counsel Sean Corgan will oversee both of Dolan’s current roles. 

La Salle University
Pictured above is Sean Corgan.

Also coming to La Salle under the role of executive vice president is Tim O’Shaughnessy, ‘85, who is a graduate of the business school. Before joining La Salle, O’Shaughnessy served as the chief financial officer for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 2012-2019. According to one source, O’Shaughnessy was hired in October without the faculty’s knowledge or consultation. The Faculty Senate heard about the appointment on Feb. 1 and were not familiar with the appointee. The executive vice presidency did not exist prior to O’Shaughnessy’s appointment.

La Salle University
Pictured above is Tim O’Shaughnessy, ’85.

With the President and three of her executive cabinet members on their way out, the task to find new employees, including the chief of staff, may be difficult, given the University’s financial struggles. Over the summer, the University laid off 53 employees (nearly 7 percent of the full-time workforce) and cut salaries or hours for 48 others. Another 51 vacant staff positions were eliminated. Hanycz told the Philadelphia Inquirer in June that, amid the pandemic, La Salle faced millions in losses and additional expenses. Hanycz added that institutions like La Salle (“lightly endowed” and “highly dependent on tuition, room and board”) would face “a dire financial outlook” if students would not return to school in the fall. Following these statements, students would carry out the fall semester remotely and some, but not all, would return to campus for the spring semester.

While the news was announced to faculty Jan. 14, the University has not yet notified the student body of these departures; one source claimed that the University is to send students an email detailing the departures in the near future. The University did publicly welcome those filling new roles on its website Feb. 2.

abbateb2@lasalle.edu

La Salle alumnus, William J. Burns, nominated by President Biden to head CIA

News, Uncategorized

Bianca Abbate, Editor-in-Chief

Philly Voice
Burns is a well-known figure in the diplomatic world.

La Salle alumnus, William J. Burns ‘78, has been chosen by U.S. President Joe Biden to become the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In a video announcing Burns’ nomination, President Biden said of the career diplomat, “He knows how to lead — and lead with integrity.”

Ambassador Burns graduated from La Salle in 1978 with a degree in history. In his time at La Salle, Burns was an Honors Program student known by his professors as a dynamic and insightful presence in class. Through his classes, he developed an interest in the Middle East that would later aid his career. Burns continued his education as La Salle’s first Marshall Scholar at Oxford University where he pursued his M.Phil and D.Phil degrees in International Relations. In 1997, Burns received an honorary doctor of law degree from La Salle University. 


President Biden on Ambassador Burns: “He knows how to lead — and lead with integrity.”


In 2011, Burns emphasized to The Inquirer that his professors played a major role in his education: “I was lucky to have some really fine teachers there, Jack Rossi, George Stow…Studying history gives you a perspective. History doesn’t exactly repeat itself, but you can learn from the challenges that leaders have faced. There are a lot of lessons to be learned.”

                La Salle University Digital Commons

Burns is pictured above in the University yearbook.

Following his education, Burns embarked on a 33-year career in diplomacy. Speaking Arabic, Russian and French, Burns has served as ambassador to Russia and to Jordan and special assistant to Secretaries of State Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright. In 2011, during the Obama administration, Burns was confirmed as deputy secretary of state directly under Hillary Rodham Clinton. Before taking on the role of deputy secretary of state, Burns reflected on his time at La Salle in an interview with The Inquirer: “La Salle for me was a very grounded place, with lots of people with common sense…If you can’t explain the policies that an administration is embarking on in a way that makes sense to people…then there’s probably something wrong with your policy.”
The career diplomat has engaged in more than foreign relations. In 2014, Burns retired from diplomacy to head the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He also has several publications, including his memoir, “The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal.”


The nomination is big news for the La Salle community. Professor of political science Mark Thomas, who formerly held a career in government, remarked, “Ambassador Burns’ nomination to Director of CIA is a testimony to the efforts of his La Salle professors and the foundations which the Christian Brothers laid in encouraging us to use our skills and talents in service of the public good.” He added, “Biden has trust in Ambassador Burns to present him with the facts and unbiased analysis of the facts as far as they are known.  Ambassador Burns also has the finesse and diplomatic skills to rebuild relations with other leaders of the intelligence services, both at home and abroad.” “La Salle’s History department congratulates Bill on his CIA director nomination under President-elect Biden,” Stuart Leibiger, chair of the history department added. “We would also like to thank him for the assistance he has provided to our faculty and students over the years. Our department has a rich tradition of nurturing intellectual growth and molding successful leaders in countless professions. We take pride in the accomplishments of our alumni and are confident that Bill will continue to represent La Salle and the Department of History well in his new position.”

abbateb2@lasalle.edu