Born in Reims, France, in 1651, St. John Baptist de La Salle was ordained to the priesthood in 1678. Shortly after his ordination, the young French priest, along with Adrian Nyel, began to develop a plan to educate boys from the working and lower classes who would not otherwise have access to an education. The first school was immediately successful, and La Salle soon found himself supervising teachers in seven schools. Eventually this small group of teachers would become a religious congregation known as the Christian Brothers. When Brothers began arriving in the United States to help staff and administer the developing network of parochial schools, they were also invited either to open or take over institutions of higher education. Today, there are six Lasallian colleges and universities in the United States: Manhattan College, New York City; La Salle University, Philadelphia; St. Mary’s University, Minnesota; St. Mary’s College, California; Lewis University, Illinois; and Christian Brothers University, Memphis. Bethlehem University on the West Bank in Palestine is also connected to the American network of Lasallian schools. Although they are similar to other faith-based colleges and universities in many respects, Lasallian institutions also share some distinctive qualities, including a commitment to ensuring that students who are poor and marginalized are given an opportunity to graduate from college. In 2019, as the Lasallian world commemorates the 300th anniversary of the death of the patron saint of teachers, this essay offers an overview of Lasallian higher education in the United States.


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pp. 91-109
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