DeSales University - Cardinal Newman Society

DeSales University

Year Founded 1964
Number of Traditional Undergraduates 1,736
Location Center Valley, PA
Total Cost (Tuition, Room & Board) $48,800
Net Price (learn more) $27,977
Number of Majors 39
Catholic Students 54%
Catholic Faculty %
Median High School GPA 3.30
Median SAT 1118

See the Q&A for more detailed information!

In 1964 at the request of the Bishop of Allentown, Pennsylvania, the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales founded Allentown College. The nation’s only Oblate college took on the name DeSales University in 2001 to more succinctly affirm its patron and its Catholic identity, as well as its expanding graduate programs.

Since then, DeSales has continued to strengthen its Catholic identity, looking to Ex corde Ecclesiae for its guiding principles. The University’s statement of philosophy says it plainly, “DeSales University is firmly and publicly committed to the principles of Roman Catholic doctrine and morality.”

That commitment is notable at a regional university like DeSales, which does not have the uniformly Catholic student body found at some smaller Catholic colleges. DeSales serves about 1,600 undergraduates and 1,000 graduate students, most of them from Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. The University does not track the percentage of Catholic students, but we know that about a third attended Catholic high schools, while 60 percent attended public schools.

The sprawling campus is located on 520 acres near the city of Allentown, Pennsylvania’s fastest-growing city and its third-largest after Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

DeSales offers 39 majors, ranging from the traditional liberal arts to criminal justice, accounting, and physician assistant programs. The most popular majors are nursing, medical studies, and theatre.

Undergraduates choose up to 16 courses in the general education program, which includes courses in communications, Western civilization, theology, and other liberal arts subjects.

The Oblate religious have a strong presence at DeSales in leadership and faculty positions. The Salesian Center for Faith and Culture promotes the congregation’s spirituality through research, dialogue, and community partnerships that involve both faculty and students. Student opportunities include an honors program, leadership training, writing awards, and participation in Center lectures and events.

Inaugurated in April 2018, Father James Greenfield, O.S.F.S. ’84, is the fourth president and the first alumnus of DeSales to serve in that role. Previously, he served on the University’s board for nearly 15 years.

DeSales’ tuition, room, board, and fees total $50,400 for 2018-19. About 96 percent of the students receive financial aid, including scholarships and federal aid.

The undergraduate programs at DeSales combine a liberal arts program with career-focused specialization. The University is large enough to support more than 30 different majors, honors programs, study abroad opportunities, professional internships, and advanced study programs.

The required 16 courses that satisfy the University’s general education requirements span the usual liberal arts disciplines, allowing students discretion in choosing among a range of options. But the program aims for much more than a random buffet of subject matter. Some of the courses are interdisciplinary, and all follow a sequence designed to help students develop intellectually with an understanding of the relationship among knowledge, culture, and theology.

Other courses include two that develop written and oral communications skills and three courses or activities in physical health—both uncommon requirements that reflect the Oblates’ interest in graduating students who are prepared for careers and for life outside the classroom.

The “cultural literacy” sequence of six courses, taught by either history or political science professors, teaches students about human culture with an emphasis on Western civilization. The unique “modes of thinking” courses help students understand the similarities and differences of learning in literature, mathematics, natural science, philosophy, and social science.

All students are required to take the introductory Catholic theology course, one intermediate theology course, and a Values Seminar. The seminar applies theology and ethics to the student’s chosen major field of study. Although philosophy and theology are combined in a single department, the theology courses are identifiable and faithfully Catholic, and theology professors must have the mandatum to teach. The department offers a unique interdisciplinary major in marriage and family studies, which draws from the works of Blessed Pope John Paul II.

Many DeSales students choose “marketable majors,” and these include a highly regarded undergraduate degree in nursing and a five-year master of science in physician assistant studies. Graduates of the physician assistant program have achieved a near-perfect passing rate on the National Certifying Examination—10 percent higher than the national average.

The Nursing Class of 2018 earned a 98 percent pass rate on the NCLEX-RN, the national licensure exam. This marks the highest pass rate in the nursing department’s history and also exceeds national averages.

DeSales has one of the most extensive drama and performing arts programs at any Catholic college. More than 20 percent of undergraduates major in theatre, film, or dance.

The sports management major in the business department prepares students to hold positions in schools and nonprofits. This is one of only 20 such undergraduate programs endorsed by the Sport Management Program Review Council.

The University recently signed exchange agreements with schools in Japan, Australia, England, Ireland, Spain, Monaco, and Greece, and students regularly study in Rome. DeSales is one of only two schools in the world that offers internships at the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice and the Pontifical Council for Social Communication. 

In an effort to integrate Catholic teaching with all areas of life, the University seeks ways to link academic efforts with student affairs programs. DeSales freshmen participate in Character U, which orients them to several of the “golden counsels” of St. Francis de Sales. Completion is noted on the student’s transcript. An important part of the program is peer mentoring.

Also, each year up to 15 high achieving first-year students are invited to join the Faith and Reason Honors Program that is administered by the Salesian Center. The four-year program includes seminars, cultural events, and a senior thesis. Select students can study executive leadership in the context of Salesian spirituality in the Center’s Leadership Institute. The Center also invites students to participate in regular group discussions and lectures, as well as several activities tied to the University’s theatre and arts programs.

Campus ministry at DeSales is solidly Catholic. It is led by a lay minister but supported by about 10 Oblates, with one serving as Chaplain. They staff campus liturgies as well as student retreats and counseling. The campus ministry sponsors several student groups including a pro-life club, Knights of Columbus, and men’s and women’s groups for faith development.

One unique initiative is a pen-pal program through which students exchange faith-sharing letters with peers at other colleges, modeling St. Francis de Sales who was famous for his written correspondence with many individuals.

Numerous social service projects are co-sponsored by campus ministry and the Center for Service and Social Justice. Alternative spring break trips are among the outreach activities.

Students will find an active Catholic community, albeit a minority of the student body. Sunday Masses on campus are well attended, but daily Masses attract a few dozen participants. 

There are seven Masses per week at the Connelly Chapel and the Oblates’ Wills Hall Chapel: a daily Mass, plus a primarily faculty and staff Mass on Wednesdays, and an evening Mass on Sunday.

Confessions are scheduled once a week and by appointment. There are also Eucharistic Adoration on Friday afternoons, scheduled Rosary times, and some retreats.

Seventy percent of undergraduates live on campus, and they are housed in eight residence halls, a townhouse complex, and on-campus apartments. Two of these are female only, one is reserved for men, and the others are co-ed. Aviat Hall has a chapel.

Co-ed residence halls are segregated by gender in separate wings. Guests of the opposite sex are permitted to visit on-campus residences, including the townhouse complex, only during certain hours.

Students of legal age may have alcohol, but in moderation and under campus guidelines. Specialized “substance-free” housing is offered for students who prefer to live with others who forego all alcohol and tobacco use. Smoking is prohibited in all University buildings including residences.

The Lehigh Valley is a vibrant metropolitan area. Nearby Bethlehem has a quaint downtown area that includes art shops, bookshops, and numerous restaurants. With a population of about 106,000, the neighboring city of Allentown offers a number of economic, shopping, and cultural opportunities. Among these are the Allentown Art Museum, which contains the works of a number of masters, and the internationally known Bach Choir of Bethlehem.

With a strong industrial heritage associated with Mack Trucks and Bethlehem Steel, the area now has a more diversified economy and a more diverse population, straying far from its one-time Pennsylvania German influence. Crime is at or above the national average in various categories, with a notable problem with drugs and gangs, but the DeSales campus is located in a quiet suburban area and is relatively safe. The University has a student escort program, and campus crime violations seem to be for non-violent offenses.

DeSales is located about one hour north of Philadelphia and 90 minutes from New York. The Lehigh Valley International Airport has eight regional commuter carriers, and major airports are located at Philadelphia and Newark.

DeSales has more than 35 approved clubs and societies, ranging from the prayer shawl ministry and The Minstrel campus newspaper to athletic and cultural clubs.

The Pro-Life Club has about 50 members, and many of them travel by bus to the March for Life in Washington, D.C., every year.

There are many clubs and opportunities for volunteer efforts, including the two-day Urban Plunge to serve homeless people in Washington, D.C., Habitat for Humanity, Best Buddies, and tutoring. The Office of Social Outreach encourages volunteer work in the Lehigh Valley. The University also has sponsored a Catholic Volunteer Service Fair for students interested in post-graduate community service.

Among other extracurricular opportunities are intramural and club teams in a variety of sports. For the more competitive athletes, the DeSales Bulldogs compete in 10 women’s and nine men’s sports at the NCAA Division III (non-scholarship) level. These include basketball, baseball, cross country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, and volleyball.

To encourage and to acknowledge student involvement in extracurricular activity, the University issues a co-curricular transcript that identifies involvement in several areas, including campus ministry.

Sometimes a name change is just clever marketing, but not so for DeSales University.  Since 2001, Salesian spirituality has admirably been at the heart of DeSales University—in its campus ministry, its curriculum, its campus life, even its leadership programs.

DeSales does not serve only faithful Catholics, and its regional reputation and wide variety of majors attracts students for secular reasons. But the University’s leadership has ensured a clear Catholic identity that determines its policies and curriculum.

The solid general education program and authentic theology, combined with specialized programs that may not be available at other Catholic liberal arts colleges, will be attractive to many Catholic families seeking a faithful Catholic education.

Questions & Answers

Answers from the college on the most important questions. Click a topic below to read more.

Is your institution accredited by at least one regional or national education association?


Please identify each accreditor and indicate whether it is approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

DeSales University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation. Individual programs are accredited by specific accrediting bodies.

Please cite evidence of student or alumni accomplishment, such as graduation rate, graduate school placement, job placement, awards, etc.

DeSales’ graduation rate for 4 years is 60.4% and 82% of survey respondents say they are employed after graduation.

Please identify any notable public recognition of your institution’s academic quality in the last three years, such as rankings, awards, etc.

DeSales University is now part of the Common Application for undergraduate admission. The Business department is accredited by the ACBSP (Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs). The physician assistant program has classes that have consistently ranked first in the nation on the national PACKRAT examination, which is a precursor to the National Board, and the students’ National Board Scores have exceeded the 99th percentile for 14 years in a row. The 2018 nursing program graduates earned a 98.06 percent pass rate on the NCLEX-RN, the national licensure exam. This marks the highest pass rate in the nursing department’s history and also exceeds national averages. The University is consistently in the top tier for liberal arts universities in the northern United States in U.S. News and World Report’s rankings.

Are more than half of the current members of your faculty practicing Catholics?

DeSales does not track religious beliefs of its faculty, however all members of the faculty, staff, and administration are expected to be dedicated to the University’s Catholic mission.

Approximately what percentage of your current faculty members are practicing Catholics?

Same answer as above

Are members of your faculty officially informed of their responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of the institution?


Are members of your teaching faculty expected, as a condition of employment, to respect Catholic teaching and comply with Catholic morality in their public actions and statements both on and off campus?


Please identify key undergraduate faculty who are noted experts in their field, have produced important publications, have leadership roles in academic associations, etc. and briefly describe such accomplishments:

Karen Ruggles, assistant professor of computer science, is the founder of the University’s new Esports program and recently 3D printed a prosthetic hand for a girl in Texas.

Dr. Katherine Ramsland, professor of psychology, has published more than 1,000 articles, blogs, book chapters, and reviews, as well as 60 books, and created the forensic track in the psychology program.

Dr. Stephen Myers, professor of English, is the author of a full-length poetry collection titled Memory’s Dog and two poetry chapbooks. He has been nominated several times for a Pushcart Prize and has won one.

Juilene Osborne-McKnight, associate professor of English, is the author of four Irish historical novels: I Am of Irelaunde, Daughter of Ireland, Bright Sword of Ireland, and Song of Ireland. Prior to writing fiction, she worked as a newspaper and magazine columnist and as a freelance writer. Dr. Myers and Osborne-McKnight launched the new MFA program at the University.

Dr. Kathleen Ryan, assistant professor of mathematics, and Dr. Pranshu Gupta, assistant professor of computer science, received a Preparation for Industrial Careers in Mathematical Sciences, or PIC Math, Grant from the Mathematical Association of America (MAA).

Dr. Tahereh Alavi Hojjat, professor and chair of economics, has authored several book chapters and articles in peer reviewed journals of business and social sciences as well as the book Islamic Economy and Social Mobility: Cultural and Religious Considerations.

John Bell, professor of theatre and head of the division of performing arts, is a director, choreographer, and conductor, whose professional credits include the Tony Award winning Old Globe Theatre, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Meadowbrook Theatre, the Orlando Shakespeare Festival, the Virginia Opera, and the Michigan Opera. He has directed, choreographed, and/or conducted over 100 productions throughout the United States. He is a published scholar on the life and work of composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim.

Dr. Greg Kerr, associate professor of philosophy, has been published as chapters in four books from the Catholic University of America Press, including “The Common Things: Essays on Thomism and Education and Beauty, Art, and the Polis.” He has also published in the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly. He often gives presentations at conferences of the American Philosophy Association and the American Catholic Philosophical Association.

Dr. Carol Mest, director of graduate nursing programs and professor of nursing, has, during her more than 20 years at DeSales, has secured more than $1.8 million in grants to support student tuition, to hire and retain faculty, and to purchase three human patient simulators for the Department of Nursing and Health.

Does the institution have a department of Catholic theology, distinct from “religious studies” and other disciplines?


Are courses in Catholic theology clearly identified and distinguished from other courses dealing with religion?


Does every faculty member in the theological disciplines have the mandatum (or the “canonical mission” for ecclesiastical faculties) approved by the appropriate Church authority, as required by Canon Law?


Do all faculty in the theological disciplines make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?


Does your institution require that all theology courses be taught in a manner faithful to Scripture, Tradition, and the Church’s Magisterium, and also to the principles and methods proper to Catholic theology?


Please identify the theology courses that are included in the undergraduate core or distribution requirements and the professors who routinely teach those courses:

Theology Courses are routinely taught by our full time faculty in the Philosophy and Theology Department including Dr. Brian Kane, Dr. Rodney Howsare, Dr. William Hamant, Ms. Sara Hulse, Dr. Greg Kerr, and Dr. Joshua Schulz.

Please describe the place of Catholic theology in your institution’s undergraduate curriculum and how it is distinct from other institutions.

Theology classes are required of all students and DeSales has a unique Marriage and Family Studies major.

Additional Theology information, clarification or description (optional):

DeSales has a Department of Philosophy and Theology, which is located in the larger Division of Liberal Arts and Social Science.

DeSales University also offers an interdisciplinary degree, with a theological core, in Marriage and Family Studies.

Please identify any course that every undergraduate student must take:

The DeSales University Curriculum is divided into:

• General Education Core (15 or 16 courses)

• Major (12 – 16 courses)

• Electives Or Minor (As needed to complete the required

40 three-credit courses)

General Education Core:

Communication & Thought I & II (EN 103, 104)

PE 100 (Fitness and Wellness) + 2 PE Activity courses

Cultural literacy – 6 courses total:

Four humanities courses

Two semesters of a foreign language or two world cultures courses

Modes of thinking courses – 4 or 5. (The processes by which professionals in literature, math, natural science, philosophy, and the social sciences study and contribute to human learning.

Christian Values and Theology – 3 courses total

Please identity the courses that students may choose from in order to satisfy common curriculum distribution requirements:

The General Education Core consists of a maximum of 16 courses (plus 3 one-credit physical education courses) and is designed to offer each student a broad appreciation for human life and learning. It is structured around four elements:

A. Basic Requirements: 2 courses (Communications and Thought 1 and 2), that develop foundational skills: thinking, reading, writing, speaking, listening, and research; plus 3 physical education courses.

B. Cultural Literacy: 6 courses that develop sequentially an appreciation for human culture, especially our Western heritage.

C. Modes of Thinking: 5 courses that present the processes that professionals in broad domains of intellectual activity (literature, mathematics, natural science, philosophy, and social science) use as they attempt to contribute to human learning. These courses explore issues like: What information is important? What questions are asked? How are data processed? What conclusions can be reached? What are the values and limitations of the discipline?

D. Christian Values and Theology: 3 courses that encourage students to reflect upon the meaning and value of the Catholic faith, to live in a manner consistent with Catholic teaching and tradition, and, in light of that faith and teaching, to evaluate human action and decision, to make moral choices, and to accept responsibility for them. The Values Seminar is a capstone for the General Education Core.

Under the General Education Core each student must complete:

A. Basic Requirements: 1) English 103 and English 104; 2) Physical Education 100: Foundations, plus 2 courses from those designated as “Activities Courses.” (Any dance technique course may be substituted for an activities course requirement. One 3-credit dance course can satisfy both activities requirements.)

B. Cultural Literacy: 1) 2 courses studying a foreign language other than English. This requirement may also be fulfilled in one of the following ways: a) study abroad, b) two world cultures courses; 2) A two-course sequence, Humanities I and II, offered by either the history or political science faculty; 3) 1 course from those designated as “Humanities III: Great Works of Art or Music;” 4) 1 course from those designated as “Humanities IV: Great Works of Literature.”

C. Modes of Thinking (MOT): 1) 1 course from those designated as “Modes of Thinking: Literature;” 2) 1 course from those designated as “Modes of Thinking: Mathematics:” 3) 1 course from those designated as “Modes of Thinking: Natural Science;” 4) Philosophy 109; 5) 1 course from those designated as “Modes of Thinking: Social Science”

D. Christian Values and Theology: 1) Theology 109; 2) 1 course from those designated as “Intermediate Theology;” 3) 1 course from those designated as “Values Seminar” offered by the business, natural science, nursing, philosophy, politics, and theology faculty.

How many credits are required for graduation and what percent are from core / distribution courses?

120 credits     40%

Is every undergraduate student required to take one or more courses in which they are taught authentic Catholic doctrine and practice?


If yes, please describe them generally and note how many courses are required?

Three courses are required:

1. Theology 109: Introduction to Catholic Theology;

2. 1 course from those designated as “Intermediate Theology;”

3. 1 course from those designated as “Values Seminar”offered by the business, natural science, nursing, philosophy, politics, and theology faculty.

Is every undergraduate student required to take one or more interdisciplinary courses relating theology or philosophy with other disciplines?


List the major, minor and special program areas that students may choose for specialization while pursuing an undergraduate degree:

Majors: Accounting*; Biochemistry-Molecular Biology; Biology; Business Administration*; Chemistry; Communication; Computer Science; Criminal Justice*; Dance; Economics, Education: Early Childhood and Elementary Education; English; Finance*; Health Communication; Health Science (Physical Therapy); Healthcare Administration; History; Homeland Security*; International Business*; Law and Society; Liberal Studies; Management*; Marketing*; Marriage and Family Studies; Mathematics; Media Studies; Medical Studies (Physician Assistant Program); Nursing; Nursing RN-to-BSN; Pharmaceutical Marketing*; Philosophy; Political Science; Psychology; Spanish; Sport and Exercise Physiology; Sport Management*; Supply Chain Management*; Theatre; Theology; TV/Film; Undeclared (Exploratory Studies) 

*Optional 5-Year Master’s Program

Minors: American Studies; Behavioral Neuroscience, Biology; Business; Chemistry; Computer Science; Creative Writing; Criminal Justice; Design/Tech Theatre; Digital Art, Dramatic Literature; Economics, English; Ethical Leadership, Forensic Science and Criminalistics; French Studies; Italian Studies; Journalism; Law and Society; Management; Marriage and Family; Mathematics; Music; Neuroscience; Philosophy; Political Science; Professional Communication; Psychology; Secondary Education; Spanish; Sport Management; Theology; TV/Film

Pre-Professional: Dentistry; High School Teaching; Law; Medicine; Optometry; Pharmacology; Podiatry; Veterinary.

What are the three most popular majors or specialty disciplines for undergraduate students, and about what percentage of undergraduate students specialize in these disciplines?

Medical Studies, 10.4%

Nursing, 10.2%

Biology, 7.7%

Does each undergraduate degree program require Catholic ethical formation related to the student’s major field(s) of study?


Does your institution regularly provide academic events to address theological questions related to specialized disciplines?


If yes, please describe:

Both the University’s campus ministry program and Salesian Center for Faith and Culture offer speakers, panel discussions, debates, and essay competitions that address theological questions. For example the Barazano Society of the Salesian Center addresses ethical questions in science and medicine, while the Forum for Ethics in the Workplace has topics related to business.

Does your institution require cooperation among faculty in different disciplines in teaching, research and other academic activities?


If yes, please describe.

Faculty collaborate on many interdisciplinary research projects. Additionally, faculty participate in four university wide colloquia. On the first day of each semester, faculty participate in a discussion, the Dies Academicus, based upon a commonly read academic article.

Does the local bishop (or other competent ecclesiastical authority) select or approve the appointment of your chaplain?


Does your institution offer Mass on campus at least on Sundays and other days of obligation?


On average, about what percentage of undergraduate students attend Sunday Mass (including the Saturday vigil Mass) during the academic year? 


Does your institution offer daily Mass to students?


On average, about how many undergraduate students attend daily Mass during the academic year?


Does your institution offer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass to students at least weekly?


Are all of the Masses celebrated on campus reverent and in accord with liturgical norms and directives?


Are the altar servers at your institution’s Masses male only or both male and female?

Male and female

Please list the schedule of Masses, noting the following for each Mass: the day and time, the Form or Rite of the Mass, and the style of music, if any (chant, traditional, contemporary, etc.):

Mo 12:00 p.m.

Tu 12:00 p.m. 

We 12:00 p.m. 

Th 12:00 p.m. 

Fr 12:00 p.m. 

Su 10:30 a.m. & 8:00 p.m. 

The Rite of Mass is the Revised Roman Missal, Roman Rite [Ed. Note: Ordinary Form]. Music is a mixture of chant, traditional, and contemporary. No Praise and Worship variety of music is used.

Does your institution offer Confession on campus at least weekly?


List the schedule for Confession by day and time:



We 3:00 p.m.





Other: ANYTIME that is convenient for priest and penitent

Does your institution offer Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at least weekly?


List the schedule for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament by day and time:

Once a month, time varies

Please identify regularly scheduled devotions on campus for students such as the Rosary and prayer groups:

Stations of the Cross during Lent.

Rosary is said weekly.

Devotions depend on student interest and Campus Ministry seeks to accommodate every request.

Does your institution offer retreat programs available to all Catholic students at least annually?


Please describe any formal programs to foster vocations to the priesthood and religious life:

The Campus Ministry Office is available to assist students interested in pursuing a life of consecration in Religious Life and the diocesan priesthood. Contacts with appropriate Vocation Directors can easily be made through the Campus Ministry Office. Two student groups have been formed, one for men and one for women, who are considering consecrated life.

If your institution has formal vocation programs, about how many students participate in them each year?

Approximately 20 students per year.

Are you aware of any graduates from your institution (not including seminary students, if any) who are ordained to the priesthood or have entered religious life? Please describe.

Yes. Approximately 15 students.

Please describe options for students to reside on and off campus:

Most DeSales University students live on campus in one of nine residential communities. Most resident halls have suite-style rooms—two bedrooms that each have two students and a shared bathroom. There are also townhouse style buildings and on campus apartments for students who have demonstrated themselves to be both academically and behaviorally successful during their time at DeSales and are traditionally reserved for juniors and seniors.

Community living at DeSales is deeply rooted in the Salesian tradition of the institution and the principles of Christian Humanism.  It is also an essential part of the development and education of the whole person.  Community members each bring their individual gifts and talents, serve as active and engaged citizens, and promote respect for their peers.  Living on campus at DeSales provides the opportunity for students to learn self-awareness, self-advocacy, accountability, communication, trust, cooperation, perseverance, love, patience, hope, and forgiveness.

University policies and residence hall regulations are designed to ensure a high quality of daily life and to prevent behavior that is an infringement on the rights of others, detrimental to personal growth and the common good, or in basic discord with the mission of the University.  Because communal living requires self-sacrifice, open-mindedness, maturity, and commitment, it is a truly rewarding experience that often builds students of great integrity and character who are prepared to be engaged citizens on campus and beyond.

By choosing to reside at DeSales University, students actively live the teachings of St. Francis DeSales:

“Let us be who we are and be that well.”

“Be patient with everyone, but above all with yourself.”

“Bearing with the imperfections of our neighbor is one of the chief characteristics of our love for him.”

“Do all by love and nothing by force.”

“Consider what God is doing and what you are doing.”

“Don’t lose heart, be patient, wait, do all you can to develop a spirit of compassion.”

Does your institution offer only single-sex residence halls? No

Your institution offers single-sex residence halls for (please put an “X” in front of any that apply):

All students
Any Student who wishes
No students
All freshmen (only if not “All students”)
Only freshmen
X Other
Most freshmen, then others who choose.

What percentage of students living on campus live in single-sex residence halls?


If your institution offers co-ed residence halls, how are students of the opposite sex separated (choose all that apply):

By wing or by floor

When are students of the opposite sex permitted to visit common areas of residence halls?

Common areas of certain resident halls are open to both genders only in the case of halls that are separated by wing. Other residence halls follow the University’s visitation policy.

Freshmen residence halls/floors: Sunday through Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.; Friday and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.

Upper class residence halls/floors, including the University Heights: Sunday through Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.; Friday and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.

Are students of the opposite sex permitted to visit students’ bedrooms? (Not including irregular (once or twice a semester), “open house” events.)


If yes, when?

Freshmen residence halls/floors: Sunday through Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.; Friday and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.

Upper class residence halls/floors, including the University Heights: Sunday through Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.; Friday and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.

If students of the opposite sex are permitted to visit students’ bedrooms, does your institution have an “open bolt” policy? Please describe.

No, students do not have to keep the door open to their room if students of the opposite sex are visiting.

How does your institution foster sobriety and respond to substance abuse on campus, particularly in campus residences?

DeSales University does not encourage the use of alcoholic beverages and is concerned about alcohol abuse. It recognizes, however, that individuals of legal age must be given the individual freedom to choose to drink. The University expects that individuals will make responsible decisions about the use of alcoholic beverages.

Responsibility for obeying laws and University regulations concerning alcohol and drugs rests directly with each individual. Any student, faculty, or staff member found in violation of federal, state and/or local law, or who violates the University‘s alcohol and drug policies, is subject to University disciplinary procedures, as well as criminal arrest and prosecution. Possible disciplinary sanctions include, but are not limited to, residential suspension, expulsion, participation in an alcohol or drug rehabilitation program, and dismissal. Sanctions may also apply to registered student organizations and to off-campus conduct involving activities sponsored or authorized by the University.

In addition to the policy (stated above) the University has many events and programs to promote alcohol awareness as well as the consequences of irresponsible behavior involving alcohol. Before students arrive on campus as freshmen, each student must complete a 1-hour, online alcohol awareness program. At freshman orientation, students hear presentations that discuss destructive decisions, including those involving alcohol. Programs sponsored through the University’s Wellness Center raise awareness throughout a student’s enrollment. A student presentation, entitled “It’s Not an Accident, It’s a Choice” described the effects of impaired driving. And if alcohol violations do occur, mandatory counseling is required.

How does your institution foster a student living environment that promotes and supports chastity, particularly in campus residences?

The Campus Ministry Office sponsors and presents a program entitled: “Off the Hook: The Hook-Up Culture and Our Escape from It.” This program has been presented to another Catholic college. A follow-up program, also sponsored and presented by Campus Ministry is entitled: “Single and Ready to Mingle: Campus Dating 101.” This program is a guide for students to learning about proper dating.

Does your institution have formal programs to foster Catholic prayer life and spirituality in campus residences?


If yes, please describe:

Resident Advisors are encouraged to work with campus ministry to offer one spiritual program per semester.

Please identify and briefly describe officially recognized student clubs and activities at your institution that…

…foster spiritual development:

Liturgical Ministries (Lector, Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, Music Ministry); Retreat Leaders; Knights of Columbus; Catholic Basics/RCIA; Theology of the Body Discussion Group;

Assistance at Local Parishes: Assist with teaching CCD and other youth services at Assumption BVM, our home parish as well as other parishes in the area, most notably Sacred Heart Church in Allentown.

Catholic Men’s and Women’s Bible Study

Knights of Columbus

CRS Ambassadors

Prayer Shawl Ministry

LIFT (Ladies in Faith Together) A student-led, student only group for women desiring to mature in their Catholic faith through spiritual, religious, catechetical and social experiences and support.

Men’s Spirituality and Service A student-led, student-only group of men, who through social, educational and spiritual activities, strive to live as men of faith and virtue.

Be Fed: A lunch and spiritual sharing group during Advent and Lent

Agape Latte: A discussion with a speaker about faith and spirituality

Salesian Spirits: A speaker series about faith and spirituality

…engage in corporal works of mercy:

Alternative Break Trips: Students travel to locations to assist communities with service works.

Best Buddies Program: This group pairs college students with people with mental and physical challenges

Habitat for Humanity

The Lions Club International

Tutoring Programs: Students visit local elementary schools to tutor


…address sexual issues (including birth control, abortion, homosexuality):

Pro-life Club

…address issues of social concern:

Colleges Against Cancer; Friends of Rachel Club: Promotes a safe environment for learning; National Security Club

…address particular academic interests:

Creative Writing Club; The Minstrel (Newspaper); L’Histoire (Yearbook); Accounting and Finance Club; Criminal Justice Association; Delta Epsilon Sigma (National Honor Society); Delta Mu Delta (Business Honor Society); Mathematics Club; Model UN; Natural Science Club; Physician Assistant Student Society; Psychology; Sport Management Society; St. Thomas More Pre-Law Society; Student Nurses Association; TV/FILM Club; XTE (Dance Honor Society).

…address particular cultural interests:

Ballroom Dancing Club; Anime Club; Bulldog Band; Creative Exploration Organization; Irish Step Dancing Club; Music and Entertainment Student Association (MEISA).

…provide opportunities for athletic pursuits:

Varsity Sports: 20 teams play in the Division III Mac Conference; Intramurals; Ski and Snowboarding Club; Bocce Club; Disc Golf Club; Dance Team; DSU Strength and Conditioning Club; Exercise in Medicine Club; Outdoor Adventure Club.

On the varsity level, students can compete on one of our 20 intercollegiate varsity sports teams—9 for men, 10 for women, and one co-ed team.

• Men’s Sports: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Tennis, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
• Women’s Sports: Basketball, Cross Country, Field Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball

Co-Ed Sport: Esports

If applicable, in which athletic Division and Conference does your institution compete? (Please specify NCAA, NAIA, etc. as well as Division Level.)   

All varsity teams are members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III, the Middle Atlantic Conference Freedom (MAC Freedom), and the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC). 

What athletic teams are offered for men and women?  

On the varsity level, students can compete on one of our 19 intercollegiate varsity sports teams—9 for men and 10 for women.

  • Men’s Sports: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Tennis, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field
  • Women’s Sports: Basketball, Cross Country, Field Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball 

How do you help develop the mind, body, and soul of student-athletes?

At DeSales, athletics embraces the concept of the student-athlete. That means that participating in a sport and excelling in the classroom go hand-in-hand. As a student-athlete, you’ll have the chance to grow personally, athletically, and academically. 

DeSales athletes pride themselves on being good sportsmen, and other people are noticing. Since the MAC began giving sportsmanship awards in 2003, the DeSales men have won the Freedom Conference Men’s Sports Sportsmanship award 8 times, and the women have won the award 8 times. 

And athletes are fully a part of campus life outside of athletics including campus ministry. 

Does your institution require all student clubs and activities, including those listed above, to operate in accord with Catholic teaching?


How does your institution address student clubs and activities that may conflict with Catholic teaching?

DeSales has no official policy as we would address situations on a case-by-case basis.

Does your institution require student services like health care, counseling and guidance to conform to Catholic ethical and moral teaching and directives?


Has your institution’s diocesan bishop (or other competent ecclesiastical authority) officially recognized the institution as Catholic?


Do your institution’s governing documents include or reference the General Norms and Particular (United States) Norms of Ex corde Ecclesiae?


Do your institution’s governing documents or institutional policies require conformity to the General Norms and Particular (United States) Norms of Ex corde Ecclesiae?


What is your institution’s mission statement:

It is the mission of DeSales University to provide men and women with quality higher education according to the philosophy of Christian humanism as developed by Saint Francis de Sales and his spiritual heirs. The University imparts knowledge about, and develops talents for, personal, familial, and societal living. DeSales University enriches the human community and enhances the dignity of the individual through its educational endeavors. In its work, the University fosters a vital and respectful dialogue between Roman Catholic faith and human culture.

Does your institution have a written policy regarding speakers and honorees that at a minimum meets the standards established by the United States bishops in “Catholics in Political Life?”


How does your institution address student and faculty invitations to speakers and honorees who have publicly opposed or acted contrary to Catholic moral teaching?

It is the opinion of DeSales University that the exchange of divergent opinions is essential to the intellectual development and social awareness in our students.
Speakers whose publicly stated views are in contrast with fundamental moral principles of the Catholic Church will be considered under the following circumstances:
a. If his or her topic is different from the area where his or her views are in conflict with the Church’s teachings.
b. If the event format provides for the Catholic position to be presented fairly and accurately.
No University honors (ie, honorary degrees) will be bestowed on any speaker who takes a public position in defiance of fundamental moral principles of the Catholic Church.

Describe the makeup of your institution’s undergraduate student body with regard to sex, religion, home state/country and type of high school (public, private, homeschool):

Total number of undergraduates: 1,736

Male: 43%  Female: 57% 

Catholic: 54.2%  Other Christian: 30.1%
Jewish: 1.7%  Muslim: 0.8%  Other: 13.2%

Number of states represented: 25 

Top three states: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York

Students from top three states: 91.5% 

Catholic HS: 33% Homeschool: 2%
Private HS: 5% Public HS:  60% 

Most up-to-date information provided by the University

Editor’s Note: Campus safety and security information for most colleges is available via the U.S. Department of Education website here.

Are prospective and current members of your institution’s governing board(s) informed of their responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of your institution?


Are more than half of the current members of your institution’s governing board(s) practicing Catholics?

Yes (One third of the members of the Board of Trustees must be priests of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, per the school’s charter.)

Do Catholic members of your institution’s governing board(s) make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?


Is your institution’s president a practicing Catholic?


Does your institution’s president make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?


President's Note

A message from the president.

Dear Prospective Students and Parents: 

Our patron saint, Francis de Sales, was convinced that God sees humanity as a great and varied garden—each person beautiful in his or her uniqueness. Thus, St. Francis de Sales approached people with genuine respect and gently guided them to recognize the unique path they would take in life. 

At DeSales University that is our mission—to recognize the individuality of students and to guide them to the path they will take after graduation as responsible Christians who bring the rich tapestry of Catholic social teaching to their life’s choices. 

Our classroom teaching, student life, extracurricular activities, and residence life are all designed to draw out your talents and shape your thinking—not only to be excellent in your career or graduate studies, but to excel as an ethical person in all aspects of your life. 

St. Francis de Sales believed the twin virtues of gentleness and humility are necessary to proclaim the message of the Lord in a loving way.  Cultivating these virtues helps us reverence the activity of God’s grace in our world and in all our sisters and brothers. Come join us at DeSales University! 

Yours in Christ, 

Fr. Jim Greenfield, OSFS 

Contact DeSales University


2755 Station Avenue
Center Valley, PA 18034

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