La Roche College is a private college in McCandless, a suburb of Pittsburgh in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1963 by the Sisters of Divine Providence as a Roman Catholic college and now sits on an 80-acre (320,000 m2) campus in McCandless within the Diocese of Pittsburgh. The current president, Sister Candace Introcaso, CDP, Ph.D., was installed in 2004 and replaced the previous president, Monsignor William Kerr. Recent additions to the school include the Kerr Fitness and Sports Center in 1993; an annex building for classrooms built adjacent to the Zappala College Center in 2002; and new residence halls, Bold Hall I and Bold Hall II, in 1997 and 2003, respectively.
La Roche College was founded in 1963 by the Sisters of Divine Providence as a private college for religious sisters. It was named in honor of Stephanie Amelia la Roche von Starkenfels, the first Mother Superior of the Sisters of Divine Providence. The first president of the college was Sister Annunciata Sohl, C.D.P., who served until 1968. The college had begun to admit its first lay students by 1965. It continued to grow, and two years later, La Roche expanded beyond its leased space to construct the first College building, the John J. Wright Library.
La Roche encountered financial difficulties soon after its founding. Although closing the college was considered, Sister de la Salle Mahler, C.D.P., president from 1969 to 1975, carried on. The Board amended its charter in 1970 to establish La Roche as an independent, coeducational Catholic institution, while also diversifying course offerings through an affiliation with the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. This partnership made available several new areas of study, including graphic and interior design, which count among the College's strongest programs today.
An enrollment boom made the construction of two new residence halls necessary in the mid-1970s. Under College President Sister Mary Joan Coultas, C.D.P. (1975–80), the College launched its first capital campaign in 1979, garnering enough to construct the Palumbo Science Center, which opened in 1980. During Divine Providence Sister Margaret Huber's eleven-year tenure as president beginning in 1981, the college continued to grow, marking its 25th anniversary in 1987 with the dedication of the $2.5 million-Zappala College Center. The Magdalen Chapel was added in 1990, and in 1993 the college opened the Kerr Fitness and Sports Center.
La Roche's sixth president, Monsignor William A. Kerr, was appointed in 1992 and focused his leadership on raising the College's visibility, while broadening academic, cultural and athletic programs. In 2004, the La Roche College Board of Trustees elected the College's seventh president, Sister Candace Introcaso, C.D.P.
La Roche College teams participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division III. The Redhawks are a member of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse and soccer; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball. La Roche College has won sixteen AMCC Conference Championships including Baseball (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), Men's Basketball (2004, 2011), Softball (2000, 2001, 2002), Women's Basketball (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016), and Women's Tennis (2012). The La Roche College Baseball team also became the first team in AMCC Conference history to win an NCAA Regional Championship after defeating Randolph Macon 4-3 in the NCAA Mideast Regional Championship on May 21, 2016. La Roche advanced to the NCAA Division III College World Series before falling to Keystone 5-4 in the National Semifinals..
The John J. Wright Library was the first building constructed for the college, built in 1967 and renovated in the early 2000s. Two residence halls were built in the mid-1970s, and the college opened the Palumbo Science Center in 1980. The 1,200-seat Kerr Fitness & Sports Center opened in 1993 and has been updated throughout the years. Current athletic facilities include a baseball field, soccer field, softball field, aerobics room, dance studio, gymnasium, indoor track and a weight room. Tennis courts of any sort, and outdoor basketball courts, have both yet to be added to the campus. Residence halls were added and expanded upon in 1997 and 2003 with the dedication of Bold Hall and Bold Hall II. A classroom building introducing electronic classroom technology was added adjacent to the Zappala College Center in 2002.
Beginning in 1993, the Pacem In Terris Institute has brought students from conflict, post-conflict and developing regions of the world to study at La Roche. The program provides scholarships and assistance, to students from 21 different countries. The students are chosen by their countries on the basis of academic and personal potential, and promise to return to their homelands upon completion of their studies to work for peace and prosperity in their regions.
Notable members on the Board of the Institute are Kim Dae-jung, past president of the Republic of Korea; Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, first lady of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; and Janet Museveni, first lady of the Republic of Uganda.