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Our Beginnings

A New University for the Future

The significant and successful growth of Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales as an institution of Catholic higher education led to the formulation and adaptation of a strategic plan, adopted by the Board of Trustees in 1999-2000. That plan led to the decision to change the institutional charter to that of a master's level, comprehensive institution, to be known as DeSales University (beginning in January 1, 2001).

Among the other initiatives stated in the plan, the following pertain directly to the continuing mission of DeSales University to provide a teaching and learning experience that fosters an integration of faith and culture in keeping with our Catholic identity in the world of higher education:

  • becoming one of the best small Catholic universities in America
  •  fostering cooperation and collaboration with other institutions in the development and   delivery of outstanding educational programs

  • focusing institutional energy upon the integration of Salesian spirituality and contemporary social problems/solutions so that our many constituencies can more effectively contribute to the betterment of culture

  • increasing student awareness of the international and global dimensions of life in the 21st century

  • implementing a community life program that will encourage greater personal appropriation of the Christian understandings and values that underlie student life policies.   

A New Center

In the Spring of 1999, the Board of Trustees decided to endow the creation of an academic institute in recognition of the long-standing service of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales at Allentown College and as part of the retirement celebration for the Rev. Daniel G. Gambet, OSFS who served as the college's second president for twenty years. During the 1999-2000 academic year, the Rev. Thomas Dailey, OSFS was given an administrative leave to investigate the establishment of such a center and to delineate its character and function. Following this investigation, the Board of Trustees, at its meeting in April 2000, approved the prospectus, budget projections, and developmental plans. Thus, it formally established the new Salesian Center for Faith and Culture.

The Salesian Center for Faith & Culture continues to play a major role in realizing the strategic objectives of DeSales University. Its programs and activities serve as the catalyst for the campus community to be and become who we are ... the only university in the world specifically dedicated to perpetuating the legacy of St. Francis de Sales and disseminating the tradition of Salesian Christian Humanism