Lasell University

Lasell University (LU) is a private university in Auburndale, Massachusetts. Lasell offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the liberal arts, sciences, and professional fields of study.

Lasell University
Former names
Auburndale Female Seminary (1851–1852), Lasell Female Seminary (1852–1874), Lasell Seminary for Young Women (1874-1932), Lasell Junior College (1932–1989), Lasell College (1989-2019)
MottoRepulsae Nescia
Motto in English
Ignorant of Defeat
EndowmentUS $44.5 million[1]
PresidentMichael B. Alexander
Location, ,
United States

42.341296°N 71.243356°W / 42.341296; -71.243356
CampusSuburban 54 acres (218,530.2 m2)
ColorsBlue & White         
MascotBoomer the Torchbear


Lasell was founded in 1851 as the Auburndale Female Seminary by Williams College Professor of Chemistry, Edward Lasell, after he took a sabbatical from his job in Williamstown to teach at the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in South Hadley,[2] where the experience inspired him to invest more personally in women's education. He died of typhoid fever during the first semester, but his school proved highly successful as a first-rate educational institution and was soon renamed Lasell Female Seminary in his memory.[3]

Its name later changed to Lasell Seminary for Young Women and, in 1874, governance was given to a board of trustees and Principal Charles C. Bragdon.[4] Bragdon further expanded the faculty to make Lasell renowned as a more academically rigorous institution, a prestigious school with a highly scientific approach to domestic work, art, and music.[2] As an innovative institution, known for a radical approach to women's education at the time, Lasell also administered the Harvard exams and offered law courses for women.[2][5][6]

Lasell also offered two years of standard collegiate instruction as early as 1852 and is cited as having been the "first successful and persistent" junior college in the United States.[7] In 1932, the college changed its name to Lasell Junior College, and the school officially began offering associate degrees in 1943.[8] In 1989, Lasell adopted a charter to become a four-year institution (it no longer offers any two-year undergraduate degrees), and began admitting male students in 1997.[9] Lasell also began offering master's degrees in 2002.

Lasell faced controversy in 2000 when seven former students sued and claimed that the nursing program, which had been discontinued in 1999, had been a sham.[10] The following year, the college built Lasell Village, an elderly education facility in which residents paid to live and attend classes. Although the college argued that the property was in line with its non-profit mission and exempt from property taxes, the city successfully sued the college for not paying property taxes for the property.[11][12]

In September 2010, a settlement was also filed in Suffolk Superior Court stipulating that Lasell would have to pay $191,314 to over 1,000 students over a conflict of interest in their Financial Aid Department. The investigation was done by the office of Attorney General Martha Coakley.[13]

The college explored merging with Mount Ida College, another liberal arts institution located in Newton, in February 2018. The reasons given for the proposed merger were to help keep tuition cost as low as possible and maintaining academic quality.[14]

In 2019, the institution's application to become a university was approved by the State Board of Education and it changed its name to Lasell University.[15]


Lasell has been accredited by the Commission on Institution of Higher Education (CIHE) of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) since 1932[16] and offers bachelor's degrees in the liberal arts and professional disciplines.[17] Through its "Connected Learning" program, students work on off-site projects and assignments.[18] Lasell also offers graduate degrees in education, communication, sport management, athletic training, criminal justice, human resources, marketing, management (MS and MBA), and rehabilitation science.[19]

In 2018, U.S. News and World Report listed Lasell College among only 5 other colleges with having 100 percent of its graduating seniors participate in an internship experience.[20]

According to U.S. News and World Report, Lasell College has been ranked 9th for the category, "Great Schools at Great Prices" and ranked 25th for the "Best Regional College" in the North. [21] Lasell ranked at 123 out of baccalaureate colleges in the United States for the Washington Monthly College Guide, ranking at number 3 specifically on "a combined measure of the number of staff supporting community service, relative to the total number of staff; the number of academic courses that incorporate service, relative to school size; and whether the institution provides scholarships for community service."[22]

Fashion program

Lasell University is known for its emphasis and strength in their fashion program. Prospective students can major in Fashion Communication and Promotion, Fashion Retail & Merchandising, and Fashion Design & Production. The university is one of the few colleges that allow Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors to showcase their garments in the annual undergraduate fashion show in the Spring. Seniors show their final collections on a separate day and showcase eight looks that walk down the runway. The fashion shows are orchestrated by the other fashion students through weekly workshops and back to stage communication.

Lasell Works

Lasell Works is a professionally focused, cost savings undergraduate program created by Lasell University to help lower the burden of higher education tuition. Students enrolled in the program spend their sophomore year living off-campus, taking all of their classes online and working in a part-time job with ongoing mentor support. The program's declining tuition rate offers $22,000 in coast-savings before financial aid is applied (as of 2019 rates).


The Lasell campus covers roughly 54 acres in the Newton, Massachusetts, village of Auburndale, adjacent to the Lasell Neighborhood Historic District. There are approximately 58 buildings, 27 of which are student dormitories.[23] Dormitories include 33 Victorian-era homes (built between 1837 and 1901), suite-style residence halls, and contemporary quad-style halls.

The college opened it Science and Technology Center (STC) in the fall of 2017. It covers 47,000 square feet of space and includes seven labs designed for anatomy and physiology, chemistry, physics, exercise science, and math.

Lasell's campus includes a day-care facility (the Barn), Rockwell Preschool, and Lasell Village - a senior living community focused on lifelong learning designated as an Age-Friendly University (AFU).

The campus is located about half a mile from the Auburndale Commuter Rail station on the Framingham/Worcester Line, and about one mile away from the Riverside MBTA Station on the Green Line's D train, which takes commuters into the downtown Boston area. A shuttle runs regularly between the campus and Riverside Station.[24]

Student life

Of the 1,600 students that attend Lasell, 73% live on campus, 40% come from out-of-state(undergraduate students), and 22% are students of color.[25] Roughly 36% of students at Lasell are male.[26]


Lasell University is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division III athletics. The Lasell Lasers compete as members of Eastern College Athletic Conference, the North Atlantic Conference, and the Great Northeast Athletic Conferences[27] in baseball, basketball, volleyball, soccer, cross-country, field hockey, softball, lacrosse, and track and field as inter varsity sports.[28] In 2009, a mascot was introduced: Boomer the Torchbearer, named for the industrialists who sponsored Lasell's founding.[29] Additionally, the school has a popular women's and men's rugby club, and has intramural sports such as flag football in the fall, as well as basketball in the winter.


The student newspaper is called the 1851 Chronicle in reference to Lasell's founding year, and the student yearbook is called the Lamp. Polished Magazine is made by Lasell students/[30] A student-run online college radio station began operation in the fall of 2004;[31] in 2016, the radio station began broadcasting on FM as WLAS-LP (102.9).[32]

There are social justice, service-oriented, religious, and multicultural organizations: Umoja Step Team, Fashion and Service Society, Hope for Humanity, Hillel Club, Multicultural Student Union, Niños de Veracruz, Students Against Drunk Driving, and Students Advocating For Equality.

There are also academic organizations (Accounting/Finance, Fashion, Graphic Design, Hospitality, Psychology, Sports Management, and TV/Media) and athletic organizations (Cheerleading, Crew, Dance, Roller Hockey, Rugby, Skiing and Snowboarding, Tennis, and Wiffle Ball clubs).

Notable people




  1. As of February 1, 2019. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-12-14. Retrieved February 10, 2010.
  2. Christian work: illustrated family newspaper, Volume 63. 1897. p. 206.
  3. Crane, Ellery Bicknell (1907). Historic homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of Worcester County, Massachusetts with a history of Worcester Society of Antiquity, Volume 3. Lewis Pub. p. 44.
  4. The American kitchen magazine, Volumes 7–8. The Home Science Publishing Co. 1897. p. 221.
  5. Early days in Auburn Dale: a village chronicle of two centuries, 1665–1870. Auburndale woman's club. 1917. pp. 79–85.
  6. Journal of pedagogy, Volume 17. Albert Leonard, William Henry Metzler, Jacob Richard Street. 1904. p. 252.
  7. The rise and demise of the Hershey Junior College: an historical-descriptive study of the Hershey Junior College, Hershey, Pennsylvania, 1938–1965. Stiegel Print. 1973. p. 29.
  8. "1943 Chap. 0552. An Act Authorizing Lasell Junior College To Grant The Degrees Of Associate In Arts And Associate In Science". Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  9. "Lasell College: Rich Past, Bright Future". Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  10. "Former Nursing Students Sue Lasell College Program Was A Sham, Women Allege". Boston Globe. December 31, 2000.
  11. "Lasell tax-case ruling is one for the textbooks". Boston Globe. December 28, 2003.
  12. (PDF) Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. "". Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  14. Krantz, Laura (2018-02-25). "In effort to save money, two small colleges move toward merger". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
  15. "Welcome to Lasell University". Lasell University. 2019. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  16. NEASC: Lasell College
  17. "Undergraduate Majors and Minors". Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  18. "Our Approach: Connected Learning". Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  19. "Graduate & Professional Studies". Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  20. Kowarski, Ilana (January 16, 2018). "10 Colleges Where Students Usually Get Internships". Archived from the original on 2018-01-20. External link in |website= (help)
  21. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-05-19. Retrieved 2011-05-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. "Baccalaureate College Rankings 2010 – Washington Monthly". Archived from the original on 2015-09-10. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  23. "Lasell at a Glance". Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  24. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-10-09. Retrieved 2011-04-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. "Lasell at a Glance". Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  26. "USNews and World Report Best Colleges: Lasell College". Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  27. "Lasell". Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  28. "Varsity Sports". Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  29. "Boomer". Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  30. "Polished Magazine". Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  31. "Lasell College Radio – Free College Radio Station Directions". Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  32. Fitzgerald, Ryan; Ritchie, Taylor (September 23, 2016). "WLAS broadcasts FM, offers internship program". The 1851 Chronicle. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  33. "Catherine Priscilla Jarvis's Obituary on Fosters". Fosters. Retrieved 6 February 2018.

Further reading

  • Donald J. Winslow (1987). Lasell: a history of the first junior college for women. Lasell Junior College. ISBN 0-9619720-0-9.
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