Skip top navigation Skip to main content

Lasell: Rich Past, Bright Future


An innovative educational institution for over 170 years, Lasell is an independent coeducational college emphasizing the integration of professional and liberal arts programs leading to bachelor's and master's degrees. The campus is situated in suburban Newton, Massachusetts, eight miles from downtown Boston.

Lasell was among the first private colleges in Massachusetts and a pioneer in post-secondary education for women. The former seminary became Lasell Junior College in 1932. In 1989, Lasell College emerged as a four-year institution and in 1998, became co-ed. In 2002, Lasell College launched the first of its now more than 20 graduate degree programs. In 2000, the institution opened Lasell Village, a vibrant continuing care retirement community with a fully integrated educational focus. Located on the Newton campus, Lasell Village cemented Lasell's place as a leader in intergenerational education. In 2019, Lasell was granted university status.

A commitment to teaching excellence and academic innovation has been at the heart of Lasell from its beginning.  The school is widely recognized for helping students make the connection between classroom lessons and real life through the integration of challenging coursework with practical experience in an environment that fosters lifelong intellectual exploration, active citizenship, and social responsibility.

Today, with an expanding and diverse student body, Lasell is setting enrollment and fundraising records and moving forward with an ambitious strategic plan. 


Torchlight Parade – Dating back to the 1800s, graduating students and underclassmen would gather holding torches for the Flame Speech, when symbolic objects representing “irritating” issues from the past year were cast upon the fire. Also part of the program was a pledge to each senior in the circle, dressed in cap and gown. The last farewell was held commencement day at the Crow’s Nest. Today, the Torchlight Parade includes seniors and underclassmen who march from the Central parking lot to the Crow’s Nest where they give pre-graduation messages to underclassmen and pass off torches to rising seniors.

River Day – River Day, now held each year on Family, Friends and Alumni weekend in October, features canoe races involving family, friends, alums and students. The canoe races at Lasell originally began in 1882 when the first Boat Club was formed. In the 1900s, River Day for many years was held on the first Monday in June, then, later, it was rescheduled for in late May. When the University shortened the length of the spring term in 1972, the races move to a fall date.

Crow’s Nest - A rustic structure built in a Lasell tree in the 1890s – it was a center for class activities and photographs, especially at graduation time. Though destroyed several times by hurricane and fire, it was repeatedly rebuilt. Today it is located near a large tree outside the Yamawaki Art and Cultural Center and is the endpoint for the annual Torchlight Parade.

Class Banners – A Class tradition since the first graduating class in 1854.  The banners were first made by Charles Parker, architect of the Auburndale Congregational Church. He continued that tradition for 20 years. Early banners were usually shields in red, white, and blue with class mottos. Later, some were made of silk and occasionally embroidered. Today, the banners make a colorful display at graduation time for those classes holding reunions.

Boomer – Lasell’s mascot. Created in the spring of 2009, Boomer was named for the industrialists, called “boomers,” who helped found Lasell in 1851. Dressed in Lasell colors, blue and white, Boomer carries the Lasell torch – a longtime symbol for the school.

Seal – The University seal with the motto Repulsae Nescia (ignorant of defeat) was first displayed in the 1908-1909 catalog. The seal is also used on all early Lasell chinaware.