Celebrating 50 Years


DeSales Celebrates 50th Anniversary

  1. Opening for students in September 1965, DeSales University was originally named Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales.

  2. In March 2000, the Pennsylvania Department of Education approved Allentown College’s name change to DeSales University. The name change became effective in January 2001.

  3. DeSales’ main campus in Center Valley, PA consists of over 400 acres of rolling hills, opulent landscapes, and incredible views of the Lehigh Valley.

  4. DeSales offers two satellite campuses in Bethlehem and Lansdale, and their MBA program is also offered at Immaculata University, and in Peru and Romania.

  5. DeSales offers both semester-long and summer study abroad programs where undergraduates can take classes in countries such as Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, and England.

  6. DeSales holds several on-campus activities for students throughout the year including Fall Fest, Winter Carnival, and Spring Fling.

  7. The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival was founded in 1992 by Rev. Gerard J. Shubert, and provides training and internship opportunities to students in the DeSales Theatre program.

  8. DeSales’ “Spring Fling” held annually in April or May gives students an opportunity to relax before finals and wrap-up the academic year with a barbecue, music, games, and prizes.

  9. DeSales’ annual golf tournament at Brookside Country Club has accumulated more than $2 million for student financial aid.

  10. DeSales University accounting students have volunteered to help thousands of elderly and low-income Lehigh Valley residents file their taxes.

  11. DeSales Performing Arts students host more than 28,000 people annually for shows at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts.

  12. The average class size at DeSales University is 20, and the student-teacher ratio is 14 to 1.

  13. The Criminal Justice program at DeSales have produced alumni working in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), US Secret Service, and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) among other places.

  14. Criminal Justice students at DeSales University have compiled a Mock Trial Team that competes nationally against other colleges and universities, including Ivy League schools.

  15. Graduates of the Mathematics & Computer Science Program at DeSales are employed at places such as Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., and Microsoft Corporation.

  16. In 2013, the Gambet Center for Business and Healthcare Education was completed and is the newest addition to DeSales University’s Center Valley campus. The 77,000 sq. ft. building is a $27 million facility and includes top-notch technology and equipment for business and healthcare students.

  17. 90% of nursing students are employed within 6 months of completion of a Master’s of Science in Nursing at DeSales University.

  18. DeSales University offers the only nurse practitioner program in the Lehigh Valley.

  19. The Doctor of Nursing Practice program is the first doctoral program presented at DeSales and the only offered in the Lehigh Valley.

  20. The Health Care Simulation Lab at DeSales features technology including manikin simulators, integrated simulation management, and audio/video technology which gives students the opportunity to mimic the process of working with actual patients.

  21. Graduates of the Division of Business programs at DeSales are currently employed at places that include Deutsche Bank, PPL Corporation, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Coca Cola Company, IBM, and Goldman Sachs.

  22. DeSales students in the Sports & Exercise Science major are prepared to enter graduate school in Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Master of Science in Sport/Exercise Science, and Master of Science in Athletic Training.

  23. The Officer David M. Petzold Digital Forensics Laboratory of Lehigh County is a fully operating law enforcement facility located on campus and offers students the opportunity to experience how law enforcement facilities and operations work in the fast-changing digital arena.

  24. More than 95% of undergraduate, full-time day students receive some form of financial aid.

  25. Fr. J. Stuart Dooling, OSFS, was named the first President of the College in 1963, and Fr. Daniel Gambet, OSFS, was named the first Academic Dean.

  26. In 1971, the first women students were admitted to the residence halls at Allentown College.

  27. In 1972, Fr. Alexander Pocetto, OSFS, was appointed as the second Academic Dean to replace Fr. Gambet.

  28. In April 1969, Allentown College took part in their first intercollegiate baseball game, defeating LCCC by a score of 5 to 2.

  29. In 1970, the first edition of Allentown College’s yearbook, L’Histoire, was published.

  30. On February 12, 1971, Allentown College students put on their first theatre production, performing The Fantasticks.

  31. On September 25, 1995, Allentown College was ranked as the “best value among regional liberal arts colleges in Northern United States” by U.S. News & World Report.

  32. The Delaware Valley Green Building Council recognized DeSales University in 2011 as the Lehigh Valley Green Campus Sustainability Award Winner.

  33. In the fall of 2010, DeSales University implemented a “green” initiative to develop a campus-wide, single-stream recycling program through a partnership with Waste Management.

  34. DeSales University holds an annual “Dinner Dance” event in Billera Hall on campus. 

  35. The Frank L. Marcon Lecture Series, beginning in 1983, annually brings some of the most prominent communications professionals to DeSales University. Some of these speakers have included Charlie Rose, Tim Russert, Lisa Myers, Katty Kay, and Bryant Gumbel.

  36. DeSales is a member of the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges, which offers cross-registration and interlibrary loan with Cedar Crest, Lafayette, Moravian, and Muhlenberg colleges, and Lehigh University.

  37. DeSales University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the US Secretary of Education and the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation.

  38. Chevy Chase, legendary actor, comedian, and writer, has also visited DeSales to hold a master class on comedy sketch writing. Also, Both Santo Loquasto, one of the world’s most famous designers, and Liz Callaway, an award-winning Broadway artist, have visited DeSales and held Q&A sessions for theatre students. 

  39. For recreation, DeSales University offers three open basketball courts for students, tennis courts, an indoor and outdoor track, as well as equipment for volleyball, tennis, badminton, and softball.

  40. The DeSales Free Clinic is a student run medical clinic that allows students to receive medical care free of charge, and is completely supported by student fundraising efforts and private donations.

  41. DeSales offers a mentor program, Character U, in which incoming and first-year students are able to work with current students to ease their transition from high school to college. 

  42. DeSales University strives to expose students to the virtues and philosophy of Christian Humanism as developed by St. Francis de Sales. A daily weekday mass is held in the Wills Hall Chapel located on campus.

  43. On May 6, 2014, Kate Corcoran, a 2000 graduate of DeSales University and a women’s basketball star, became the first Bulldog in any sport to be named to the MAC Hall of Fame.

  44. Our nurses are amazing. DeSales University nursing students NCLEX - RN pass rates continue to surpass Pennsylvania and National pass rates, and MSN certification pass rates have remained at 100 percent since the start of the MSN Programs. Plus, the majority of nursing faculty members have their terminal doctoral degree or are working on it.

  45. The Mu Omicron chapter at DeSales University was established in 1983, and received its charter in 1990. Since then, Mu Omicron has inducted over 500 undergraduate students, graduate students, doctoral students, and nurse leaders into this prestigious society.

  46. On July 1, 1999, Father Bernard F. O’Connor, OSFS, was named president of DeSales University, then Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales. He is still currently the president of the university.

  47. In 2005, then DeSales junior Gina Lucrezi became the school’s first-ever national champion in an individual or team sport, as she won 1,500-meter race at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships.

  48. DeSales University offers an ACCESS program in which busy adults can obtain a degree and complete classes on weekends and evenings.

  49. The Salesian Center for Faith & Culture, which focuses on the authentic integration of social concerns and gospel values, sponsors 85 programs and activities annually.

  50. Known as “The Gentleman Saint”, St. Francis de Sales’ beliefs, practices, and teachings inspired the naming of DeSales University.