a century and a half ago, the spirit of LaSalle came to this burgeoning factory
city on the Hudson. Founded by the Brothers of the Christian Schools, its purpose
was to transform poor immigrant boys into moral, productive, honorable men.
Its method was to teach mind, body and spirit, to give lessons in history and
geometry, literature and physics, to coach teams and instill a sense of God's
presence in the lives of the young men entrusted into their care. Its ultimate
goal--to turn young men's eyes up from the grit of Troy, New York, the tenements
and streets of mills, to seek eternity through a defined path and purpose on
LaSalle immediately prospered. As Troy's industry grew and workers developed unions
to combat the oppressive mill owners, the Brothers quietly and respectfully
taught their lessons and molded their young men to enter the white collar ranks.
A loyal alumni association held its first dinner at the school in 1886. In 1891,
the school was chartered by the New York Regents, and LaSalle immediately attained
the highest Academic Diplomas awarded in New York State.
In 1891 LaSalle also formed its Cadet Battalion with 128 students over
12 years of age who were physically fit to take up the training. Guns were furnished
by the Institute, and each student was provided his own uniform and equipment.
Military instruction was given Monday and Friday afternoons, and soon the marching
Cadets were in great demand, along with the Troy Catholic Asylum Drum Corps
for civic parades.
Trained in the rigors of military drill, accustomed to uniform and a chain of
command, LaSalle men answered the call of their country in each of its wars.
LaSalle graduates have attended the military and naval academies and have become
top ranking officers in the nation's armed services. Nearly 300 LaSalle men
enlisted to fight in World War I, with more than fifty serving as officers.
Nine died in service. A generation later, more than 1,200 former cadets served
in World War II, and 31 died in service. To this day, LaSalle honors Major James
J. O'Donovan, a hero of the infamous Bataan Death March, by conducting its crack
military company under the name of the O'Donovan Rifles. LaSalle men have served
with distinction in the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War and the Gulf War.