As part of the commemoration of the 300th anniversary of St. John Baptist de La Salle’s passing, The Lasalliana learning space was launched last November 21 at the 12th floor of the Learning Commons. The project emerged as a product of a two-year long collaboration between The Libraries, the Office of the Vice President for Lasallian Mission, and The Museum.
A community grounded in history
The Lasalliana houses a wide range of print, non-print, published, and unpublished works on the life of St. La Salle, the Christian Brothers Schools, and the University. It also features a permanent exhibition with contributions from De La Salle Philippines and various De La Salle schools within the country.
“The learning space is envisioned as a study area for users and visitors who would like to learn more about our founder and his legacy—not only here for De La Salle University but also to the Lasallian schools around the globe,” explained University Chancellor Br. Bernard Oca FSC during his opening remarks.
Oca also shared the story of the tree at the Marian Quadrangle, which was nursed back to health after it was knocked down by a typhoon a few years back. He likened this to the need to preserve the institutional memory of the University through The Lasalliana, saying “This to me illustrates the importance of growing a deep, intricate network of roots firmly anchored to our Lasallian tradition, culture, and core values.”
Honoring Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC
During his time as President of the University, Gonzalez played a key role in shaping its long-term development by enacting innovative programs. Chancellor Emeritus Dr. Carmelita Quebengco AFSC looked back at the years she spent working with Gonzalez. “Even then, he already envisioned De La Salle University as world class—actualizing excellence in teaching, purposive and significant research, fruitful educational innovations, access to education, relevant community services, and expansive linkages with foreign universities,” she narrated.
Quebengco credited much of the benefits experienced by the University today as fruits of the work that Gonzalez began during his time. She recalled how he worked the longest and the hardest out of everyone, later inspiring others to do the same. His work ethic and high standards motivated people to put their best foot forward, especially during times when they were challenged.
Ultimately, the chancellor emeritus hoped that Gonzalez’ legacy lives on through current and future generations of Lasallians through this project. “Change happens so rapidly without passing on previous learnings and best practices that eventually get lost. The establishment of The Lasalliana can help slow down and minimize the loss of our institutional knowledge, otherwise our knowledge base will one day—without our realizing—be gone,” she concluded.
Remembering key moments
The launch of The Lasalliana came at a serendipitous and significant time in the history of the Lasallian mission. On November 21, 1691, St. La Salle, along with Br. Nicholas Vuyart and Gabriel Drolin, took what is now known as the Heroic Vow. The three brothers made this solemn promise to continue their work, even if they would have to beg for alms and consume bread and water alone to survive.
Additionally, this year also marks the 30th anniversary of the Lasalliana collection curated and managed by The Libraries. The memorandum granting for the establishment of the collection was sent by then Signum Fidei Director Josefina Alburo AFSC on February 4, 1988. By June of that year, the memorandum was enacted and the Lasalliana collection was first opened for use by members of the Lasallian community.
Although The Lasalliana study space is now open, work is still ongoing to add more materials and improve the interactive features of the exhibit. The grand launch is expected to be held in April 2019.