The cornerstone of De La Salle Institute, named for the founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools - St. John Baptist de La Salle -, was laid on May 19, 1889, less than a year after the State of Illinois issued a charter incorporating De La Salle as a degree-granting institution on June 1, 1888.
De La Salle’s initial champion was Brother Adjutor of Mary who foresaw a school for poor and working class boys: “I made up my mind to leave nothing undone in the direction of fitting the boys of the masses for the battle of life, morally as well as educationally.”
De La Salle Institute has long been committed to the education of an integrated student population, a reflection of the composition of the Chicago community. The classes in 1892 were inclusive before their time: they did not discriminate on religious grounds – two of the first nine students were Jewish. This philosophy of nondiscrimination has guided De La Salle throughout the 20th Century. Now, students from throughout Chicago and approximately 20 surrounding suburbs attend De La Salle. They come from all ethnic, racial, economic and religious groups: 1/3 Caucasian, 1/3 African-American, 1/3 Hispanic-American.
In 2001, De La Salle became the first school in Chicago to introduce 1-to-1 tablet computers with a technology-infused curriculum.
In the fall of 2002, De La Salle opened a campus for young women in collaboration with the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis at 1040 W. 32nd Place in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood. De La Salle enjoyed the distinction of being the only high school in the United States to offer a high-quality education to both young men and young women in separate single-gender environments.