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Lectures, Events, DREAMS/Fe

The Salesian Center offers many opportunities for ongoing discussion and dialogue about matters at the intersection of faith and culture.  Including multiple programs that usually feature a single speaker on a given subject, followed by audience participation, programs that involve regular group meetings and/or occasional panel discussions, and programs that focus on "the arts" (film and drama) in terms of production, presentation, and discussion.

Salesian Dialogue Opportunities

  • DREAMS/Fe Programs

    The DREAMS (DeSales Reinforcing Education Among Multicultural Students) Program

    a summer residential program for high school students that offers the opportunity for personal growth through academic enrichment integrated with cultural and social activities. The goal of the DREAMS program is to encourage and support students to stay in school and to look to college as an opportunity that is within their reach. Beyond the summer experience, the DeSales DREAMS program offers students support for the entire year. During the day, high school students take classes and participate in numerous activities. In the evening, they stay in residence halls on campus. DeSales students assist them in classrooms and live with them in the residence halls to give them a true sense of college life. This program is free to any student grade 9 through 12 who applies and is accepted. 

    The Fe (Futuros Empresarios) Program

    A two-part summer initiative consisting of an academic session and an internship program run and administered by the Fé Foundation of the Lehigh Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

    Summer Academic Session: The first part is a one-week college-like experience at De Sales University. The students learn an array of life and office skills that include things such as checkbook balancing and resumé writing to proper office etiquette and interviewing behavior. All of this while getting a taste of the college experience by staying on-campus dorms at De Sales University.

    Summer Internships: Following the week-long course, students are placed into internships with businesses and organizations in the Lehigh Valley. The interests of the students, among other things, are taken into account when deciding where each student will intern. In these internships, students are able to expand on what they have learned during the academic session while also gaining insight into possible career paths and making great connections. As a reward, students receive a stipend upon graduation and will walk away much more prepared for the future. 

  • Annual Joan & R. Wayne Kraft Memorial Lecture

    Feb 24, 2021:
    A Fierce Tenderness: Discipleship as Empathy
    Johnny Zokovitch, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA

    Learn more and register

    The series honors Joan A. & Deacon R. Wayne Kraft. Deacon Kraft worked as an industrial engineer and was appointed professor of metallurgy and material science at Lehigh University. He was a specialist in the fields of physical metallurgy, X-ray diffraction, solidification and crystallography and systems philosophy. In this position he held two patents and authored more than 50 articles and reports in technical and professional journals.  As an adjunct professor in Philosophy at Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales (now DeSales University), Prof. Kraft lectured on, and wrote four books, about the philosophy of Teilhard de Chardin. Kraft was awarded an honorary doctorate of humanities degree in 1984 and received the DeSales Medal in 1988 for his work as a Catholic layman. He served in the Army Corps of Engineers for two years after graduating from Lehigh. Dr. Kraft was a board member of various organizations in the city of Bethlehem and several agencies of the diocese of Allentown, in which he also ministered as a permanent deacon. 

    Joan Kraft was a leader of song; one of the first women lectors; a Eucharistic Minister; a pioneer in church and civic affairs in the Bethlehem area; and served on the pastoral team of her parish. She also served on the parish council, was director of the RCIA program at St. Anne’s and helped found the bereavement committee.  Joan became the first Catholic woman to serve as a volunteer associate chaplain at St. Luke’s Hospital, having obtained a degree in pastoral care. She ministered on the cardiac and oncology wards and helped train new chaplains. She taught CCD at St. Anne’s for many years, and was active in settling Vietnamese refugees hosted by the parish. Joan helped initiate St Anne's involvement with the ecumenical soup kitchen at New Bethany Ministries in South Bethlehem, coordinating volunteers from the parish every fourth Thursday. During her many years in Bethlehem, she was involved in Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Pax Christi, the Green Circle, the Gourmet Club, the League of Women Voters, AAUW, the Jewish-Christian Dialogue and she served on the Board of the Catholic Social Agency and its Social Action Bureau for many years. In recognition of her many church and civic activities, Allentown College awarded Joan an honorary doctorate degree and also the DeSales Medal, and the Jesuit Center at Wernersville awarded her the Pilgrim Award. Joan passed away on December 23, 2015.


  • The Hesburgh Lecture

    This series is sponsored by the Notre Dame Club of the Lehigh Valley/

    These events are free and open to the public. No tickets are required for this event.

    Previous events:

    2019 featuring Thomas F.X. Noble, Ph.D.

    2018 featuring John C. Cavadini, Ph.D.

    2017  featuring James McKenna, Ph.D.

    2016  featuring Luis Ricardo Fraga, Ph.D.

    2015  featuring Gilberto Cardenas, Ph.D.

    2013  featuring Rev. David Link, J.D.

    2010  featuring Robert P. Schmuhl, Ph.D.

    2009  featuring Prof. Donald Kommers

  • Ruggiero Lecture on Catholic Education

    Initially begun to commemorate the canonization of St. Leonie de Sales Aviat, this series was renamed in 2005 in memory of Anthony J. Ruggiero, an adjunct faculty member who taught the philosophy of education and helped supervise the student teacher program at DeSales University. 

    Mr. Ruggiero worked in the Bethlehem Area School District for 32 years, serving as a social studies teacher, assistant principal, and principal at Liberty High School.  He earned his master's in education from Lehigh University and completed post-graduate work at Georgetown University.

    Upon his death in 1994, he bequeathed to the college a significant gift, which now forms the bulk of the endowment for this lecture series.  The Ruggiero Lectures focus on topics in the realm of Catholic education. 
    These events are free and open to the public. No tickets are required. 

    Previous events:

    2017 - Dr. William Thierfelder, President, Belmont Abbey College, North Carolina.

    2016 - Ryan Topping, D. Phil., Fellow at Thomas More College of the Liberal Arts in New Hampshire.

    2015 - Michele Quigley, creator of numerous tools and resources for Catholic homeschooling mothers, including the popular Catholic Daily Planner and Mater Amabilis, a rigorous, living books curriculum for home school education

    2014 -  Anthony Esolen, Professor of Renaissance English Literature at Providence College

    2013 - Samuel Casey Carter, Chief Executive Officer, Faith in the Future Foundation

    2012 - Rev. James Heft, S.M.., President of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies

    2011 - Dr. Anthony Cernera, President of the International Federation of Catholic Universities

    2010 - John T. James, Ed.D., Assistant professor and director of Catholic Leadership Programs at Saint Louis University

    2009 - John Staud, Ph.D., Director of the Alliance for Catholic Education University of Notre Dame

    2008 - Mother Françoise-Bernadette Beuzelin, O.S.F.S., Mother General of the Oblate Sisters of St. Francis de Sales successor to St. Leonie de Sales Aviat

    2007 - Sr. Mary Berchmans Hannan, V.H.M.., President Emerita - Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School

    2006 - Dr. John J. Convey, Provost & St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Professor of Education - The Catholic University of America

    2005 - Michael Guerra, United Nations delegate - International Office of Catholic Education

    2004 -  Fr. Jack Podsiadlo, S.J..  Executive Director of the Nativity Network

    2003 - Sr. Rose Marie DeCarlo, I.H.M., General Superior of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

    2002 - James J. Cusimano, Esq., Secretary of Education (retired) - Diocese of Allentown, PA 

  • Pilgrimage

    Occasionally, DeSales sponsors a sacred pilgrimage to places associated with the history of Salesian Spirituality. 

    2012 - pilgrimage to Troyes & Paris, France

    Pilgrimage 2012

    2007 - pilgrimage to the land of Savoy

    on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Florimontane Academy (1607-1610)

    Pilgrimage 2007



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The Center for Faith & Justice at DeSales University