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Philosophy, Vision, & Values

Mission Statement

DeSales is a Catholic, Salesian university that inspires transformative learning through the liberal arts and professional studies by energizing students to be who they are and be that well.

  • Our Philosophy

    DeSales University is firmly and publicly committed to the principles of Roman Catholic doctrine and morality. It also fully recognizes that the search for truth requires an atmosphere of intellectual freedom and that love demands an openness to all that is good. 

    DeSales carefully distinguishes between the free pursuit of truth - which it guarantees every member of the campus community - and its own commitment to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

    For DeSales University, Christian humanism means that every aspect of human experience is capable of enlightenment by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This Gospel brings light to each dimension of personal existence (physical, intellectual, social, moral, aesthetic, and religious) and every environmental domain (natural world, social institutions, cultural achievements, historical periods, and religious societies). 

    The encounter between the Word of God and the concrete world of the human person makes a fully meaningful existence possible. DeSales University strives to teach the student what it means to be Christian in a Salesian way, what it means to embrace one's own life, and what it means to bring this Good News to the human family.

  • Our Vision

    We aspire to be a learning community where innovative teaching, mentored professional practice, and ethical preparation expands the minds, the talents, and the hearts of curious students to construct new ideas and lead lives of impact.

    To accomplish this vision, we will strive for continuous improvement through a coordinated set of strategic initiatives defined by the following elements:

    • Mission-forward actions
    • Keenly focused enrollment growth
    • Online learning throughout our programs
    • A developed nexus between career and alumni development
    • Effective utilization of our campus resources
  • Our Values

    • Gentleness
      Salesian gentleness challenges us daily, from how we text and email to the way we drive, vote, and relate to our friends, family, foes, and colleagues.
    • Humility
      With Salesian humility, we are grateful for the gifts given to us, crediting God for them and blessing the world with our expression of those gifts placed at the service of others.
    • Gratitude
      Our ability to give thanks to God emerges from humility and prompts us to pray and, in turn, share the bounty of our blessings with others. 
    • Hospitality
      During a time in our world when countless peoples are exiled from their homelands, rejected and forced to live on streets, precluded from quality education, or marginalized in any way, Salesian hospitality seeks to accept others by honoring their human dignity and empowering them to be who they are and be that well.
    • Wisdom
      Francis de Sales wrote: “Knowledge is the eighth sacrament.”  Francis also developed the centrality of the heart as the locus of love for the human person.  Thus, knowledge must not remain in the mind but touch the heart to be transformed into a wisdom that informs life’s choices and impels the disciple to love and serve.

Wisdom

As a Salesian community of learning, we champion the knowledge we receive through inspired instruction, transformative relationships, and graced activities of art, sport, service, and prayer to develop our minds, stretch our hearts, and strengthen our hands to serve the common good through the Catholic intellectual tradition.  Francis de Sales wrote: “Knowledge is the eighth sacrament.”  Francis also developed the centrality of the heart as the locus of love for the human person.  Thus, knowledge must not remain in the mind but touch the heart to be transformed into a wisdom that informs life’s choices and impels the disciple to love and serve. 

Come, Holy Spirit, inspire our minds with your truth, stretch our hearts with your love,
and strengthen our hands to serve those in need of our help. 
May the knowledge we attain transform us into wise people
who can read the signs of the times and join our neighbors
to celebrate in joy and hope and to provide care in their grief and anguish,
especially those who are poor or afflicted in any way.
Amen.

BeWise-web
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Humility

While gentleness was the antidote to the ills of Francis’ day, humility brought him to a renewed understanding of the tireless way that God loved him.  The word comes from the Latin word meaning “from the earth.”  For Francis, humility calls the disciple to give thanks for the grace of God that creates, sustains, and moves us forward to love, grow, and flourish.  All gifts come from God, and we are called to cooperate with grace to use our gifts to advance the Kingdom that Jesus inaugurated with his life.  With Salesian humility, we are grateful for the gifts given to us, crediting God for them and blessing the world with our expression of those gifts placed at the service of others.

Giver of all gifts, you never stop stirring your grace within and among us. 

We remain humbled by your presence and action in our lives,

 and we return to you our gratitude. 

We also ask for a spirit of generosity and creativity to discern wisely

how to place our gifts at the service of our neighbors, especially those most in need of our help. 

May your Spirit continue to keep us humble,

always aware of your goodness and the call to share our blessings.

Amen

Gentleness

As a bishop in the 17th century, Francis de Sales faced tremendous violence where Christians were killing Christians over theology.  This church leader was both incredulous and disheartened over such evil and turned to the Word of God.  Matthew 11:29 deeply touched Francis’ aching heart, as he heard Jesus say, “Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart.”  For the young bishop, gentleness was more than just a simple virtue.  In the context of vast violence, gentleness became an orientation and disposition by which a disciple could identify with Jesus and engage the world with counter-cultural life behaviors.  Today, Salesian gentleness challenges us daily, from how we text and email to the way we drive, vote, and relate to our friends, family, foes, and colleagues. 

All-powerful God,

you express your power with gentleness, giving life to us through love and grace.

Empower us, through your Spirit, to be women and men of strong gentleness and gentle strength

to counter the violence of our world and advance the rich peace 

the life of your Son, Jesus, brought to the world.

May our gentleness deepen the human dignity of all people and

inspire a lasting respect for the beauty of all creation.

Amen.

BeGentle-web
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Hospitality

When Francis de Sales and his chief collaborator Jane de Chantal founded their religious community known as the Visitation of Holy Mary, women committed to deep charity and faithful prayer as the means to holiness, they welcomed those who were physically disabled and were deemed unacceptable by the religious communities of their day.  The willingness and openness of these two eventual saints to welcome the unwelcomed highlights the essential dimension of hospitality for disciples.  During a time in our world when countless peoples are exiled from their homelands, rejected and forced to live on streets, precluded from quality education, or marginalized in any way, Salesian hospitality seeks to accept others by honoring their human dignity and empowering them to be who they are and be that well. 

Father in heaven, your son Jesus tells us,

“Come to me, all who are burdened and find life burdensome.” 

May we follow his example to welcome those who struggle. 

May our acceptance of our neighbors

reinforce their dignity and strengthen their hearts. 

Enlighten us to marvel at your unconditional acceptance of us

so that we may mirror that grace to others. 

Amen.

Photo: Dorothy Day has a Hospitality spot in the Center for Faith and Justice. Grab a bag and take what you need, the space is open 24/7.

Gratitude

In response to the amazing grace of God that creates us and provides us with the countless gifts of family, faith, community, talents, work, and love, we return thanks.  Our ability to give thanks to God emerges from humility and prompts us to pray and, in turn, share the bounty of our blessings with others.  Salesian gentleness grounds us in a radical equality that illustrates that we are all graced and uniquely blessed.  Our shared human dignity calls us to a rich respect for all people, as we are one human family with one Divine Parent. 

God of abundance, we thank you for all that you have given us,
especially today for (name a blessing). 
May our gratitude continue to bring us to share from our bounty
to ease the burdens of those who struggle. 
Humbled in gratitude, O God, we ask for one more gift: a grateful heart.

Amen.

Photo taken at the 2019 DUCsgiving celebration. Learn more about our other Core Values below. 

How will you be grateful today?

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Office for Mission
Chappuis Hall