The History of De La Salle Institute
Brother Adjutor of Mary founded De La Salle Institute in 1889. Named for the Founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools the school has grown from a two-year commercial school to a four year college preparatory school. 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.
On June 1, 1888, the State of Illinois issued a charter incorporating the school as a degree-granting institution. The cornerstone was laid May 19, 1889, at the corner of 35th and Wabash.
Brother Adjutor foresaw a school for poor and working class boys. He is quoted as saying: "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." The classes in 1892 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.
In 1985, De La Salle was given national recognition through its designation as an "Exemplary School" by the United States Department of Education. Only 65 private schools of the 6,000 in the country were honored with this award.
De La Salle Institute seeks the student who is interested in a quality education while furthering the development of such ideals as traditional and moral values. This relationship between the humanities and traditional education embraces the school's guiding principle.
De La Salle Institute is committed to the education of an integrated student population, a reflection of the composition of the Chicago community. De La Salle is aware of the importance of a college degree to the future of our students. Currently, nearly 85 percent of our graduates pursue college studies. An Honors Program geared to superior students offers accelerated courses.
In the fall of 2002, De La Salle added another chapter to its rich legacy of excellence in the field of secondary education by opening 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.
By creating the Lourdes Hall facility in conjunction with the main campus that has existed since 1889, De La Salle enjoys the distinction of becoming 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.
"Catholic schools provide a wonderful alternative for parents who seek the best for their children," De La Salle president Brother Michael Quirk, FSC, said. "We will continue to offer a quality education for young men, and we are very excited about the wonderful new possibilities of a De La Salle education for young women."