Christian brother and alumnus who served La Salle for nearly 50 years dies

La Salle University Archives

Arthur J. Bangs, FSC, Ph.D., ’53, MA ’54, a brother of the Christian schools and two-time alumnus of La Salle whose university service spanned nearly half a century, is died on December 11. was 89 years old.

Bangs’ main ministry at La Salle supported his students at the University’s Student Guidance Center, where he served as a clinical psychologist and licensed counselor. (He received his doctorate in counseling from the Catholic University of America.) Bangs also taught in the education department at La Salle on several multi-year assignments, beginning in 1969. His career as a teacher and counselor at 20th and Olney ended in 2018 on his retirement after 49 years of service. Along the way, he has contributed to several functions relating to student well-being and the student experience. Notably, from 1979 to 1982, Bangs served as local director in Friborg, Switzerland, as part of the University’s study abroad program.

His greatest satisfaction came from “working with young people in any capacity,” Bangs said in 1999 in an interview with La Salle Magazine. “Teaching and counseling seems more rewarding than ever to me. ”

Portrait of Brother Arthur Bangs from the 90s
La Salle University Archives

Born in Philadelphia, Bangs graduated from what is today known as West Catholic Preparatory High School. Moving from one Lasallian institution to another, he continued his studies at La Salle and obtained an undergraduate degree in Latin in 1953 and an MA in 1954. He then obtained a MA in Classics at the University of Pittsburgh, and Masters and Doctorates in Counseling from Catholic University.

Described by his peers as “a good and kind man” and “a calm and faithful person,” Bangs was a regular at campus functions and masses. He was quick, said Bob Kinzler, FSC, assistant vice president of academic ministry, service and support, a Christian brother who had a prayer ready anytime or event.

Bangs made student mental health and well-being a priority, making appointments with students who needed to talk to someone about their stress, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, and Other problems. His counseling expertise extended to the classroom, where he led an educational psychology course for undergraduate students at La Salle.

“I love seeing my role as a classroom teacher as a mentor, as someone that students can turn to for help for any reason, and as a good listener,” he said. he declared in 2006. in a university newsletter. “I like to find all possible means to help them in their life. … All the pleasure of my life has been working with young people. It’s invigorating. Working with young people tends to keep you young.

To Jim Black, ’84, Ph.D., Bangs was simply “Uncle Art” or “AB,” the initials he used to sign letters or cards to family and friends. Bangs’ influence on Black led him to La Salle – where he met his wife Kathy, in 1985, and studied psychology – and to a career in Lasallian ministry.

Portrait of Arthur Bangs from the 90s
La Salle University Archives

“My uncle knew the importance of listening to those with whom he spoke and maintaining a positive attitude with everyone he met,” said Black, director of the youth services division of the Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. “He was an old school educator who used an overhead projector until his last days in class. Whether AV (audiovisual) or computer (information technology), I’m not sure, but I remember him telling us that he was told it was the last bulb in the overhead projector. de La Salle because, by that time, most teachers had moved to PowerPoint or other styles of presentation. It’s just who he was: the old school.

Bangs possessed an affinity for travel and a knack for music, his colleagues said, recalling his ability to play several instruments, including the piano. Within the Brothers’ Residence, Bangs regularly participated in nightly Scrabble games with two former university presidents Daniel Burke, FSC, Ph.D., and Patrick Ellis, FSC, and Provost Emeritus Emery C. Mollenhauer, FSC , Ph.D., among others.

“Watching him play, you could tell it was as if Art had memorized the dictionary,” said Michael J. McGinniss, FSC, Ph.D., La Salle Honors Program Director and President Emeritus.

“Over lunch he would tell stories about his students,” Elder Mike continued. “That’s what I remember about Brother Art: his dedication to his teaching and his students.

—Christophe A. Vito

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