Our Story

History & Milestones

Our Founder - Brother Joseph McNally

The late Brother Joseph McNally (10 August 1923 – 27 August 2002), founder of LASALLE College of the Arts, was one of Singapore’s champions of the creative arts and arts education. Irish by birth, Singaporean by choice, Brother Joseph left his adopted country a body of achievements that continue to inspire new generations of artists and educators of the arts.


Journey Towards Excellence

Brother Joseph McNally established the St Patrick’s Arts Centre, which offered a diploma education in Painting, Ceramics, Sculpture and Music.


27 students graduated as some of the country’s first diploma holders in the creative arts.


An agreement was formalised with Australia’s RMIT University for its Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts to be awarded to graduates of the College’s Fine Arts programme.


The first cohort of BA(Hons) Fine Arts degree students graduated with degrees conferred by RMIT.


Dr Tony Tan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, announced the government’s plans to upgrade Singapore’s arts institutions. With the upgrade, the College receives financial support from the Ministry of Education.


Awarded Accredited Institution status by the Open University, UK. With this, the College could now offer degrees designed and developed in Singapore to support the creative industries in Singapore.


The first cohort of students graduated with BA(Hons) and MA degrees developed by LASALLE and validated by The Open University, UK.


The Puttnam School of Film is launched by Academy Award-winning film producer, Lord David Puttnam. It offered the first BA(Hons) Film Programme in Singapore. In this year, the MA Art Therapy Programme was launched – the first of its kind in South-east Asia.


Launched the MA Asian Art Histories Programme – the first of its kind worldwide.


Awarded both EduTrust and Enhanced Registration by the Council for Private Education.


In February, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong presided over the ceremony to mark LASALLE’s historic partnership with Goldsmiths, University of London, to launch 14 publicly-funded undergraduate arts degree programmes. LASALLE launched the Public Lecture Series with the aim of creating a platform for distinguished and future-looking leaders to engage with the arts community in Singapore. In the same year, LASALLE Senior Fellow and former Dean of Fine Arts Milenko Prvacki is awarded Singapore’s highest arts accolade, the Cultural Medallion.


The first cohort of students graduated with BA(Hons) and MA degrees developed by LASALLE and validated by Goldsmiths, University of London. In the same year, the MA Arts Pedagogy and Practice Programme was launched; the College now offers a range of 30 programmes (Diploma, BA(Hons) and MA).


Celebrated 30 years with a gala event in November, where Guest of Honour, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, delivered an inspiring speech about the growing importance of the arts in Singapore.


The first local homegrown institution to be awarded the EduTrust Star, Singapore’s highest mark of recognition for excellence in private education. It is also the first local education institution ever to be granted all four categories of internationally benchmarked Business Excellence Certifications by SPRING Singapore, for overall quality, service, people, and innovation.


Adopted a schools-based academic structure, with eight Schools and a new cross-disciplinary position of Dean of Learning, Teaching and Research, to further the College’s strategic growth. In the same year, the MA Creative Writing Programme was launched, Southeast Asia’s first taught Masters in Creative Writing.


Awarded the EduTrust Star, Singapore’s highest mark of recognition for excellence in private education, for the second time running.


Singapore’s first publicly-funded private university of the arts, the University of the Arts Singapore (UAS), is formed by an alliance between LASALLE College of the Arts and the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. UAS will open its doors for its first degree intake in 2024.

The Campus

The St Patrick’s facility was complemented by a second campus at Telok Kurau to cater to increasing enrolment. The institution was renamed LASALLE College of the Arts.


LASALLE’s first gallery, the Earl Lu Gallery, was inaugurated. It quickly establishes itself as a leading venue for contemporary art and art discourse.


Minister of State for Finance and Foreign Affairs (former) Mr George Yeo was conferred as Patron of LASALLE.


The Goodman Road campus was opened, housing the Schools of Fine Art, Music and Drama.


Singapore Airlines contributed S$15 million to the construction of new buildings to unite the College’s diverse activities under one campus. The College was renamed LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts.


The College undertook development of a new city campus that will grow to accommodate over 2600 students in 30-plus programmes.


The Earl Lu Gallery was re-named Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, dedicated to exhibition and research activities of international and Asian contemporary art.


LASALLE moved to its new city campus at 1 McNally Street. The Institution is re-branded LASALLE College of the Arts.


Awarded two architectural awards: The prestigious Building of the Year award at the 9th Singapore Institute of Architects’ Design Awards and the President’s Design Award.


Official Opening of the city campus. It also received its third architectural award, the PUSH Award 2009 conferred by the Singapore Institute of Architects.


The Ngee Ann Kongsi Library, named in recognition of the organisation’s generous donation to the College, is officially opened by Finance Minister Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam.


Additional school premises were acquired; 5,000 sq m of studios and workshop spaces at Winstedt Campus complement core teaching at McNally Campus.


The Ngee Ann Kongxi donates $50 million to the development of a new building at the McNally campus which consolidates all LASALLE’s activities into a world-class infrastructure to nurture the next generation of young talents.