DeLaSalle students

DeLaSalle prioritized its endowment to secure the future financial stability of its mission on historic Nicollet Island. The school has more than $15 million in actual and committed gifts and over 50 named endowed scholarships (listed below). Contributions to our endowment are often in the form of cash or securities, but also may include gifts of real estate, appreciated property and planned giving options. Endowment gifts can be paid over a period of years and can be designed for specific named funds and scholarships. Historically, the endowment primarily supports student financial aid but can also be restricted for academics, technology, and extracurricular programming.

A named, endowed scholarship can be established with a gift or pledge of $50,000 or more. Once an endowed scholarship fund reaches $50,000, a $2,500 scholarship can begin to be awarded annually from the interest earned in perpetuity.

Named, endowed scholarships provide opportunities for individuals and/or families to invest in a deserving DeLaSalle student’s education. A gift assists DeLaSalle in shaping a strong future and helping the school fulfill its Lasallian mission in the heart of the Twin Cities.

Scholarship recipients are chosen by the DeLaSalle Advancement Office, which ensures that the student receiving the scholarship meets the established criteria. Benefactors and scholarship recipients are given an opportunity to meet one another at an annual Lasallian Luncheon in May or individually throughout the year.

If you are interested in helping DeLaSalle sustain its’ mission, please contact Patrick Felicetta ‘01 at 612.676.7605.

Barb and Barry Lieske Opportunity Scholarship Fund

Barry Lieske’s first meaningful introduction to DeLaSalle was in the sports arena. A three sport athlete, Barry and his teammates from Mankato West were competing in the state tournament in high school basketball. This year 1975, was the first ever state tournament where public and private schools competed against each other. Along with Mankato West, there was a first year private school attendee, from the city, making quite a splash – DeLaSalle.  Little did Barry know, this would be the beginning of a four decade relationship with the Islanders.

After graduating from Mankato West, Barry made his way up the Mississippi River and attended Hamline University, majoring in biology and education. He continued his passion for athletics by competing  in football and in track and field. It was at this time, he met a fellow Hamline Piper who was also an Islander alumnae, Barb Loso ’78. Barb was also studying education at Hamline and had shared with her classmate that her younger sister’s high school basketball team needed a coach. Barry’s passion for athletics, education, and growing friendship with Barb inspired him to come across the river to Nicollet Island.

This “coaching job” led to Barry’s vocation in the Lasallian mission. Barry has served in many roles on the island – coach, dean, athletic director, guidance counselor, principal, and President. But no matter where he has been on the campus, he has been a Lasallian who understands that at the core it is about meaningful relationships with young people and modeling Gospel values.  

Barb’s vocation as an educator parallels Barry’s. She was a product of the tutelage of the St. Joseph nuns at Ascension and the Christian Brothers at DeLaSalle. These people of faith inspired her to pursue a career in education. After graduation from Hamline, she taught at Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Columbia Heights. Her vocation has led her to the south metro where she has enjoyed a meaningful career in the guidance department of the Lakeville Public Schools district. 

The Barb and Barry Lieske Opportunity Scholarship was established in the spring of 2020. The entire Islander community wanted to express their gratitude to Barb and Barry’s fidelity to the DeLaSalle mission over the last 41 years – the greatest gift being their children, Meredith ‘07, Maddie ‘09, and Morgan’13. This scholarship will be awarded annually to one current DeLaSalle student who just needs a little extra help to have the opportunity of a lifetime – a DeLaSalle education.

John Abdo created the E. John Abdo Family Scholarship Fund to perpetually provide an opportunity for students to access the same DeLaSalle education that he received. The second of nine children of Lebanese immigrants, John was born and raised in Northeast Minneapolis, graduating from DeLaSalle in 1930 as valedictorian, class president, and editor of both the school yearbook and newspaper. While John’s parents primarily spoke Arabic and some English, John became fluent in Arabic, English, and French. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota in 1934 and his law degree from the same school two years later. John received the highest honor in law school by serving as editor of the Minneapolis Law Review from 1934-35. His distinguished career in law, which spanned nearly six decades, began immediately after graduation, when he founded his own practice and served as law clerk for two years for Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Royal Stone. John also taught at the Minneapolis College of Law (which later became the William Mitchell College of Law). Described as a “lawyer’s lawyer” for his rare ability to analyze extremely complex legal matter and distill it to essential and understandable terms, John made multiple appearances on precedent setting cases before the Minnesota and United States Supreme Courts. Former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Douglas Amdahl described John as a “gentle man and a gentleman.” John volunteered for the United States Army as a private in World War II, but he quickly rose to rank of Captain in the Judge Advocate General Corps and served as chief legal officer for enemy prisoner of war affairs, writing many pivotal opinions about the processing and treatment of prisoners of war. A devout Catholic, John served as Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus, in addition to his board membership with the Hennepin County chapter of the American Red Cross and the Minneapolis Athletic Club. John and his wife, Helene, raised seven children, Bob, Dick, Larry, Ken, Janice, Maureen, and Ann Marie. Bob and John founded the Abdo and Abdo, P.A. law practice, which eventually became Lommen Abdo. Ken later joined the practice as partner. Larry continues to be a good neighbor to DeLaSalle with the Nicollet Island Inn that he owns and operates, in addition to his MyBurger restaurant franchise. John credited his perseverance and education as the foundation for his success and established the scholarship as a thank you to DeLaSalle and to continue his belief in education.

The Larry and Naomi Crepeau Endowed Scholarship Fund was established in 2019.  Larry and Naomi grew up in the neighborhoods of Northeast Minneapolis, Larry’s family from the parish of Holy Cross and Naomi’s family from Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  During his years at De, Larry dated his high-school sweetheart, Sharry Gozola, and quite frequently double-dated with another classmate who was dating Naomi. After marrying Sharry in 1963 and enjoying a fulfilling 25-year marriage, Larry’s beloved Sharry died in early 1988 following a lengthy breast-cancer illness.  Larry and Naomi subsequently reconnected and married in late summer 1989.

While attending De, Larry was drawn to accounting by the record-keeping classes taught by Br. Ignatius and Br. Oliver.  He still remembers Br. Oliver requiring all homework to be done in ink with no erasures, therein teaching Larry a discipline for paying attention to detail.  His accomplished career as a CPA is primarily due to the education and inspiration received from the teachers at DeLaSalle.

As Larry and Naomi grew up Northeast, their upbringing instilled in them a desire to share with others whenever they could.  They have never forgotten the people who made a difference for them on their journey and are grateful to contribute to current DeLaSalle students.  The endowed scholarship they have created will support a DeLaSalle student with a demonstrated need and will ensure that generations of Islanders have the same opportunity to thrive as Larry and Naomi did in their youth.

The Dr. Jon and Cynthia Falkowski Endowed Scholarship Fund was established in 2019.

Jon was born and grew up in Northeast and North Minneapolis.   He was baptized at All Saints Church and attended St.Bridget’s School in North Minneapolis. Moving back Northeast in 8th grade, he attended and graduated from DeLaSalle in 1967. Upon graduation, Jon entered The University of Minnesota, continuing on to the UofM School of Dentistry, where he earned his dental degree.

Today, Jon and Cindy have four children and thirteen grandchildren, around which their lives revolve. Just about the time Jon considered retiring from dentistry, their son, Jonathan, graduated from dental school and joined Jon in their family practice ~ The Dental Health Center – Falkowski Dentistry. Working side-be-side with his son, Jon still enjoys his career after forty-five years.

No biography about Jon would be complete without mention of his lifelong dedication to health and exercise. For him, no day is complete without a workout. Mountain or road biking, hiking, running and golf sustain him to this day. Coupled with Cindy’s ‘hobby’ of healthy cooking, they enjoy each day to the fullest.

Upon reflection of their many Blessings, Jon and Cindy are passionate about giving back and paying forward.  As Jon attributes DeLaSalle with having had a major impact on his life, they would like to provide the opportunity for a young person to experience an education at this amazing institution.  Their desire is to offer this scholarship to an individual who shows an aptitude for and wishes to pursue the sciences, perhaps entering the health field. They welcome the chance to support an individual who fits these criteria, but has significant financial need.

The LeRoy T. Grones ’46 Endowed Scholarship was created in 2013. LeRoy’s son, Tom ‘70, and his wife, Janet, established the scholarship to honor LeRoy’s memory and to perpetuate their lifelong connection to the history and traditions of DeLaSalle.  This scholarship is awarded annually to a current student who has an affiliation with a ministry in North Minneapolis – St Anne’s Parish, St Bridget’s Parish, Ascension School, and Sacred Heart School.

LeRoy grew up in North Minneapolis, and attended St. Bridget’s School. Like many of his classmates, he made his way to Nicollet Island and attended DeLaSalle. A graduate from the Class of 1946, LeRoy declared in his senior yearbook that his favorite quote was from William Shakespeare’s play Taming of the Shrew “I’ll not budge an inch.” In many ways LeRoy was true to form. He and his wife continued to keep residence in North Minneapolis where they raised their family.

In his professional career, LeRoy worked at Dale Tile Co. for 25 years and then as a real estate agent until his retirement. Upon retirement, he and wife enjoyed their winters in Arizona and traveling the world where they created many great memories.

LeRoy died in February 2017. His great sense of humor and perseverance made a lasting impression while at DeLaSalle and beyond. His memory lives on every year at DeLaSalle through the recognition of a student who receives this scholarship – who is known as a “Grones Scholar”.

John J. “Jack” and Cindy McGirl established their Endowed Scholarship Fund in 2009 for students who need a little financial help to attend DeLaSalle.

Jack was born and raised in South Minneapolis and attended St. Albert the Great School before becoming an Islander in 1949. Jack went to De for his freshman and sophomore years before graduating from Cathedral High School in Duluth, which has since closed. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served three years. Jack earned his undergraduate degree in history from the University of Northern Iowa in 1959 and his law degree from the University of Minnesota in 1962.

Jack practiced law with two large Twin Cities law firms for 45 years, specializing in Commercial Litigation, and Labor and Employment Law.

Cindy was raised in New Market, Minnesota and attended Bethlehem Academy in Faribault. She later continued her education at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, earning Bachelors and Masters degrees in Theology.

The McGirl’s maintain a home in the Twin Cities during the summer but primarily live in Scottsdale, Arizona.