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DeSales University
DeSales University Marketing Logo.png
Motto"Be Who You Are and Be That Well"
Religious affiliationCatholic Church (Oblates of St. Francis de Sales)
Endowment$80.1 million (2017)[2]
PresidentRev. James J. Greenfield, OSFS ’84, Ed.D.
Academic staff126 full-time, 198 part-time[3]
Undergraduates2,345 (2017)[3]
Postgraduates970 (2017)[3]
LocationCenter Valley, Pennsylvania, U.S.
400 acres
Former namesAllentown College of Saint Francis de Sales
ColorsBlue and Red          

DeSales University (DSU) is a private Catholic university in Center Valley, Pennsylvania. The university offers traditional, online, and hybrid courses and programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Named for St. Francis de Sales, the university was founded in 1964 as "Allentown College of Saint Francis de Sales" by the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales.


File:Trexler Library at DeSales University.jpg

The entrance to Trexler Library at DeSales University.

Planning for the new college by the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales began in April 1962, and the charter for Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales, with full power to award the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees, was granted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on May 27, 1964. Classes began for freshmen in September 1965. Allentown College was fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools during the 1969–1970 academic year. In September 1970, the college became a co-educational institution. ACCESS, the college's continuing education department, was established in the fall of 1977. In the spring of 1988, the college opened the Easton campus, an extension of its ACCESS evening degree program.

The college's course offerings continued to grow. A Master of Science in Nursing degree was introduced in 1984; the Master of Science in Management Information Systems in September 1988; and an M.Ed. program in the summer of 1989. In August 1991, the college began its MBA program which has now grown to be the second largest MBA program in the state of Pennsylvania.[4] In the fall of 1998, the college became the first Catholic college in the country to offer a major in marriage and family studies.

On March 1, 2000, Allentown College received official notification from the Pennsylvania Department of Education that its application for university status had been approved. In addition, the department approved the use of the name "DeSales University"; (DSU). The college's board of trustees voted in favor of these changes on April 13, 2000.

Rev. James J. Greenfield, OSFS, took over as the university's fourth president on January 1, 2018.


File:Gambet Center for Business and Healthcare at DeSales University.jpg

The main entrance to the Gambet Center for Business and Healthcare at DeSales University.

The student-faculty ratio at DeSales University is 13:1, and the school has 58.7 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. The most popular majors at DeSales University include: Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services, Health Professions and Related Programs, Psychology, Visual and Performing Arts, and Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 81 percent. [2]

More than 95% of undergraduate, full-time day students receive some form of financial aid. [5]

File:Trading Room in Gambet Center.jpg

The trading room in the Gambet Center at DeSales University.

File:Hurd Science Center at DeSales University.jpg

The front of the Hurd Science Center at DeSales University.

File:DeSales University Center.jpg

The main entrance to the DeSales University Center.

University Rankings

The 2019 edition of Best Colleges from US News & World Report ranked DeSales University as 55th in the "Regional Universities North" and 43rd in "Best Value Schools".[2]


DeSales is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). The Physician Assistant Program also holds accreditation from the Commission on the Accreditation of Allied Health Programs (CAAHEP). Business and business related programs are accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). DeSales University's Doctor of Physical Therapy program has received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Financial planning programs are CFP Board Registered Programs.[6]

Salesian Center for Faith & Culture

Established in 2000, the Salesian Center for Faith & Culture is the first center for research and development at DeSales University. On campus, the Salesian Center sponsors annual events for students, including the Heritage Week celebrations, the Center Valley Forum series, the Ruggiero Lectures, and the John Paul II Arts & Culture series. Students can also become members of the Salesian Center through enrollment in the Faith & Reason Honors Program or the Ryan Leadership Institute. Students may also participate in special research projects directed by the center.[7]

The Salesian Center administers the Forum for Ethics in the Workplace[8] whose mission is "to provide opportunities for people to come together for study, reflection, conversation, and action on ethical issues in the workplace, especially in the Greater Lehigh Valley." The Societas Award is awarded annually to one or more companies that demonstrate responsible business conduct. This award program honors those employers who meet the needs of others through the production of goods and services, the organization of good and productive work, and the creation of sustainable wealth distributed justly. The 2017 award winners were BerkOne (large company), Concannon Miller (mid-size company), and KMRD Partners (small company).[9]


The main DeSales campus is located on over 400 acres in the middle of the Lehigh Valley.[10]


Dooling Hall is named in honor of Fr. J. Stuart Dooling, OSFS, first president of Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales. Dooling Hall is the main academic building consisting of four wings and a central area and is home to the majority of liberal arts classrooms.[7]

The Gambet Center for Business and Health Care Education includes simulation laboratories, globally integrated classrooms[clarification needed] and administrative operations for undergraduate and graduate health care and business degree programs. This building is named for Fr. Daniel G. Gambet, OSFS, president emeritus of DeSales University.[7]

The Hurd Science Center is a 36,000 square foot facility located on Station Avenue (on the Brisson Campus side). The center is named in honor of Mrs. Priscilla Payne Hurd, a generous benefactor of numerous buildings and programs throughout the Lehigh Valley. The building features 24-seat laboratories designed specifically for the various science disciplines offered at DeSales, a 99-seat lecture hall, conference rooms, faculty offices, and small individual laboratories for faculty and student research.[7]

The Labuda Center is home to the theatre, dance, and TV/film departments. The Labuda Center has three stages, a dance studio, and a TV/Film studio. The production facilities include two dressing rooms, a scene shop, costume shop, and an electric shop. The Iacocca Studio has television and film equipment. The Main Stage Theater is the primary performance space for the theater and dance programs. Its auditorium seats 473 in an orchestra and balcony arrangement. The Schubert Theater is a 200-seat, black-box performing space that offers a non-proscenium experience[clarification needed] with the furthest seat no more than 25 feet from the stage. The Labuda Center was named for Monsignor Felix Labuda, pastor of Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church in Bethlehem, who was the major contributor for the building. The dedication and first production were held on February 26, 1982. The Albert M. Iacocca TV/Film Studios were named in honor of Albert M. Iacocca, the late co-owner of Yocco's restaurants and benefactor of the university.[7]

The Trexler Library, dedicated to the memory of local industrialist Harry C. Trexler, is located in the center of campus. Built in 1988, the 36,000 sq. ft. facility hosts the 55-seat theatre-style Air Products Room, two computer classrooms, the McFadden Room which houses the Salesian collection, and ten group study rooms. The collection includes over 141,000 paper books and 130,000 electronic books, 265 newspaper and paper journal subscriptions, access to over 12,000 full text online journals, and over 8,000 educational streaming videos. The Trexler Library serves as both a university and a community library.

Student life

First-year students participate in Character U to facilitate the transition to college with events and peer mentoring. There are several student clubs and organizations and a student programming center to plan activities (games, movie nights, bus trips, etc.) for the students of DeSales University.


Varsity Sports
Men's sports Women's sports
Baseball Softball
Basketball Basketball
Cross country Cross country
Lacrosse Lacrosse
Golf Volleyball
Soccer Soccer
Tennis Tennis
Track & Field Track & Field
Esports (co-ed) Field Hockey
† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor.

Billera Hall is an 82,500 sq. ft. recreational facility with a fitness center with weights and aerobic areas, a gym with 3 full basketball courts, a running track and roll down curtains that can separate the large space into 3 smaller stations as needed for basketball, volleyball, or tennis. As one large space, the courts can be used for lacrosse, baseball, or track practice. Outdoor facilities include a soccer field, turf field for lacrosse field, softball field, baseball field, and track.

DeSales has 18 varsity athletic teams.[11] They compete in NCAA Division III within the MAC Freedom of the Middle Atlantic Conferences. Club sports include: swimming, tennis, cheerleading, the dance team, equestrian team, men's and women's rugby, men's ice hockey and men's volleyball.[12]

In 2017, DeSales women's basketball earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III tournament.[13]


Since 2001, the mascot has been a french bulldog, and varsity athletic teams have used the nickname "Bulldogs".

Before 2001, the mascot for Allentown College was a centaur, and teams had the moniker "Allentown College Centaurs".[14]

Student media

The Minstrel is the university's only student-run newspaper. WDSR is the university's internet radio-only station.


DeSales is a private, four-year Catholic university for men and women administered by the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. It is endorsed by The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College. DeSales is also a member of the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges (LVAIC), which offers cross-registration and interlibrary loan with other Lehigh Valley-based institutions.

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival

The Division of Performing Arts hosts the annual Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival and features a 473-seat theater commercially operated by students.[15]

Kamran Afshar Data Analytics Center

The DeSales University Division of Business hosts the Kamran Afshar Data Analytics Center (KADAC).[16]

DeSales Free Clinic at Allentown Rescue Mission

A student-run, student-funded clinic provides completely free primary and acute care, laboratory services and medications to the men seeking shelter or enrolled in a recovery program at the Allentown Rescue Mission. [17] [18]

Notable people


  • Father Jim Chern, Catholic priest and co-host of "The Catholic Guy Show" on Sirius XM Satellite Radio
  • Peter Augustine Lawler, member of President Bush's Council on Bioethics and award-winning professor, author, and lecturer.
  • Joseph F. Leeson Jr., a judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
  • Marnie Schulenburg, actress.


  • Wayne Turney, Emmy Award-winning writer and co-host of Hickory Hideout[21]
  • Brennan Pursell, historian and author[22][23]
  • Katherine Ramsland, true-crime author
  • Chuck Gloman, cinematographer


  1. University, DeSales. "The History of DeSales University".
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "US News - DeSales University". Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "College Navigator - DeSales University". Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  4. "Archived copy".
  5. University, DeSales. "Facts - Figures".
  6. "Find an Education Program".
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 "Archived copy".
  8. Culture, The Salesian Center for Faith and. "Forum for Ethics in the Workplace".
  9. Call, The Morning. "Allentown Central Catholic updates logo and guidelines, and other company news".
  10. "DeSales Campus info". Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  11. "DeSales Athletics".
  12. "DeSales University Club Sports".
  13. "Women’s Hoops Earns At-Large Bid Into NCAA Tournament -".
  14. "Mascot change has some alumni barking foul".
  15. University, DeSales. "The Labuda Center - Act 1 Productions - Showtimes - DeSales University".
  16. "The Kamran Afshar Data Analytics Center at DeSales University – market research • customer satisfaction surveys • economic analysis".
  17. "Archived copy".
  18. "DeSales Free Clinic lets students, homeless learn together".
  19. "Tenafly High grad stars in Fox pilot" Archived 2008-10-07 at the Wayback Machine, The Record (Bergen County), March 4, 2008. Accessed March 4, 2008.
  20. "Archived copy".
  21. "Gospel of Mark takes stage at St. David's". Glenview Announcements (Glenview, IL). 2010-04-22.
  22. "Brennan Pursell - Crisis Magazine".
  23. "Dr. Brennan Pursell: Former Neo-Pagan - The Coming Home Network".

External links

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Coordinates: 40°32′24″N 75°22′37″W / 40.540°N 75.377°W / 40.540; -75.377