Dear La Salle Academy Family – alumni, friends and beyond,
La Salle Academy is mourning the passing this week of our beloved family member, friend, mentor, guidepost and educator extraordinaire, Brother Thomas J. Scanlan, FSC. Brother Tom was President Emeritus of Manhattan College, but his leadership has left an indelible imprint on our La Salle as well. For new members of our community who may not have met or known our Brother Tom, he was also a long-time member of La Salle Academy’s Board of Trustees and only retired from our board six months ago. In many ways, he was a singular instrument for our school’s survival in difficult times. He guided La Salle Academy through extraordinarily challenging times for many years alongside his friend and former Board Chair Valentine Lehr ‘58. Brother Tom is also responsible for tapping our present Board Chair Salvatore LaRocca ‘82 as our next Board Chairman, leaving a continued legacy of love and leadership long after he would be gone. Brother Tom led with surgical precision and a wisdom that had few peers. His mark has been made deeply on our school, and he will be remembered with an abiding love and a fond recall of his wry and knowing smile.
Board Chair LaRocca commented: “Brother Tom was a devoted member of the La Salle family. His contributions and guidance went far beyond his time of service on our Board. He was a friend and role model to all of us that knew him. He will be greatly missed by our community.”
Added former Board Chair Lehr: “Greatness requires a smart person in the right place at the right time. Tom fit that description.”
Pictured: Brother Thomas Scanlan, F.S.C. (third from left) with fellow members of La Salle Academy Board of Trustees and administrative leadership.
As President for the last four years at La Salle, I have heard so many of you talk in hushed, emotional tones about various Brothers who taught you and changed your lives in profound ways when you were boys. I often wondered to myself what kind of men could impact a thirteen-year-old boy so much that he still gets emotional talking about him sixty or seventy years later. But then, I began to know Brother Tom. I am new to the Lasallian ethos, but everything I care to know or understand about the Christian Brothers as an Order, as a mission-based group of Christ-centered servants, and as teachers, I believe is found in the life’s work of Brother Tom. He was the very best of them, and La Salle Academy will always remain grateful for his time with us.
The first time I met Brother Tom was as part of my initial interview for the President’s job at La Salle. He was Chairing the Search Committee. After I gave a particularly verbose and (shockingly) emotional and intense answer to one of his questions, he pushed his Chair back, focused his gaze for a split second to the ceiling (a classic Tom move), smiled cagily and said to me: “You’re something else, aren’t you?”
No, Brother Tom, you are. Something else. Something else, completely. Your likeness, I suspect, will never come this way again. We will miss you.
Dr. Catherine Guerriero
President, La Salle Academy