The man - Jean Baptiste de la Salle - was born to a wealthy family in Rheims, France on April 30, 1651. The dream - education of the poor, for Jean Baptiste de la Salle believed that education gave hope and opportunity for men to lead better lives of dignity and freedom, lives which all men deserve as children of God.
De la Salle was a man of refined manners, a cultured mind, and great practical ability, in whom personal prosperity was balanced with kindness and affability. He lived in times not unlike our own, where society is characterized by great disparity between the rich and the poor, and where the few who are rich control the lives of the many who are poor, helpless, hopeless, and powerless.
Disturbed by the disparity he saw and felt around him, and firmly believing that all men and women ought to live lives more fitting for them as children of God, de la Salle devoted himself to the education of the poor, starting with recruiting young men who out of work, training them to become good Christian teachers right in his own home, and later on transferring to other sites when his family and friends refused to accepts his "recruits" into their homes.
Convinced that he could serve God more devotedly and concentrate on his mission more dedicatedly as a religious, de la Salle consecrated himself to God and finally became a priest at the age of 27.
Despite the strong objections and criticism from his family and friends, he pursued his mission with relentless perseverance and determination and unflagging faith and zeal, leading him to found the brothers of the Christian Schools in 1684, when he was only 33 years old. Through this congregation of young men dedicated to serve God through the education of the poor and the Christian formation of the youth, de la Salle led the way in establishing charity schools and teacher training colleges all over.
Today, after over 300 years, the La Salle Brothers number approximately 11,000 serving the youth in schools, colleges, universities and other endeavors in 80 countries throughout the world.
The Brothers first came to the Philippines in 1911, when they were invited by the Archbishop of Manila to set up a Catholic school for the children of the upper classes in the country's capital. The archbishop was concerned then about the growing number of American protestant schools in the country and he sought the help of the brothers to stem the tide of this growing influence among the children of the country's leading families.
Although the Brothers found themselves in a situation where the providing education for the children of the elite, they endeavored to remain true to their mission by inculcating in their students a deep concern for the plight of their less privileged countrymen. It was hoped that their Lasallian education would encourage them to utilize and develop their talents and resources in serving their nation, as they were bound to succeed their father in taking the helm of the Philippine economic, political, and cultural life.
As the Brothers in the Philippines grew in number, and as their successes allowed, they gradually established more La Salle schools in the country, schools more directly serving the needs of the poor and underprivileged through education.
In 1946, an opportunity for the Brothers to set up a second La Salle school in the country came when then Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Montelibano, Sr., offered them a ten-hectare lot (where the University stands today) for the purpose.
In 1952, La Salle-Bacolod was established through the guidance and efforts of its three founding fathers, Bro. Felix Masson, Bro. Hugh Wester, and Bro. Dennis Ruhland, the first director of the school.
La Salle-Bacolod opened with 175 male students from Prep to Grade 5, under seven faculty members. The school building was unimpressive, built amidst sprawling muddy grounds and bordered by canfields of adjoining lands.
The following decade saw the expansion of La Salle from Grade School to College. This was made possible through pledges, donations, and fund drives actively supported by parents, alumni, and benefactors.
In 1996, the year the Dona Corazon Locsin Montelibano Chapel was built, La Salle-Bacolod opened its doors to the first of female college students whose influence on campus activities increased as more and more ladies enrolled in the once-male exclusive school.
During the February Revolution of 1986, La sale-Bacolod students did their share in conducting prayer rallies, for a and symposia on issues, and participating in street demonstrations and in the National Movement for Free Election chapters in the province and in the city.
From 1987-2003 the following major constructions were built on campus through externally funded grants/donations solicited by the office of the Brother President.
Today, the University continues to make its distinct presence felt as it consistently produces leaders and key actors in the fields of agriculture and industry, banking and finance, sports and education, communication and performing arts, and most notably, in government service.
Known for its academic excellence, social research dynamism, and active community involvement and service, the University rises to the challenge of the times - the need to exercise the leadership role in the social transformation of Negros through a relevant and Christian education of the Negrense Youth.
As it was then, the University of St. La Salle, fired by its Founder's vision, endeavors to develop Christian men and women who are committed to excellence, competent in their professions, and actively involved in the service of their fellowmen towards a more peaceful, just, and humane Filipino society.