Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., to Become President of Marquette University in Summer of 2011

Aug 31, 2010
Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.
Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.

Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., president of The University of Scranton, Tuesday was named the 23rd president of Marquette University. He will assume his duties in summer 2011, succeeding the Rev. Robert A. Wild, S.J., who announced in March that he would retire next year after 15 years as Marquette president.

The Marquette Board of Trustees unanimously elected Father Pilarz at a special board meeting Tuesday. Marquette bylaws require that a Jesuit lead the university. Father Pilarz is one of the eight Jesuits who serves on the Marquette Board of Trustees, which he has done since September 2009.

“Given the outstanding success that we have accomplished through Father Pilarz’s leadership, we are not surprised to find that Marquette University has selected him to serve as their next president,” said Christopher M. Condron, chair, Board of Trustees at The University of Scranton. “We know that our loss is their tremendous gain. In the coming weeks, the Board will announce its plans for choosing a successor.”

In announcing the selection, Board Chair Darren Jackson said, “Father Pilarz demonstrates enormous passion for the mission of Catholic, Jesuit education and boasts a record of accomplishment, both as an educator and as a leader, that speaks directly to Marquette’s commitment to excellence. He is the right person to lead our continued growth as one of the nation’s top Catholic universities.”

“My service in Scranton continues to be the most privileged of my Jesuit life. While I look forward to the challenge of a new position, I must admit that leaving this place, leaving our wonderful community will not be easy,” Father Pilarz said in a letter to the campus community. “At the same time, Saint Ignatius was clear in his vision for the Society that ‘…our home is the road.’ I look forward to the challenge of leading this Catholic and Jesuit institution in all its complexity, bringing what I have learned from all of you at Scranton with me to Milwaukee.”

“Marquette enjoys a national reputation for its pursuit of academic excellence and for the way its students, faculty and alumni live out the principles of Catholic, Jesuit education,” said Father Pilarz. “I have tremendous respect for Father Wild and the remarkable accomplishments of the entire Marquette community during his presidency. The opportunity to lead this institution at a time of such momentum and promise is both exciting and humbling. As difficult as it will be to leave the community I have grown to love at Scranton, I am honored to have been chosen.”

A respected teacher and scholar, Father Pilarz, 51, became Scranton’s 24th president in 2003, following his service at Georgetown University, where he spent six years on the English faculty before being asked, in 2002, to serve for one year as interim University Chaplain, a position that included membership in the President’s Cabinet.

During his time at Scranton, the university has earned national recognition for academic quality, community engagement and student success, achieving record admissions and undertaking the largest construction projects in its more than 120-year-history. Guided by a 2005-2010 Strategic Plan – Pride, Passion, Promise: Shaping Our Jesuit Tradition, Scranton constructed a new campus center, sophomore residence hall and campus green space. A new residence hall and fitness center complex and an $83 million unified science center are set for completion in the fall of 2011.

Father Pilarz has provided dedicated support for research by new faculty, developed the President’s Colloquy for Presidential Scholars, and established seminars focused on Jesuit education. The university’s progress has been supported by the Pride, Passion, Promise Campaign, the goal for which was raised in January from $100 to $125 million in response to its success. While at Scranton, he has continued to teach a course each semester.

“Marquette is thrilled to have recruited a Jesuit with Father Pilarz’s academic credentials as a teacher and scholar, his dynamic approach to change and growth and his deep commitment to the importance of the liberal arts in higher education,” said Mary Ellen Stanek, immediate past chair of the Marquette Board of Trustees who chaired the Presidential Search Committee. “I believe we have found in Father Pilarz a superstar who will continue the momentum Marquette has had during Father Wild’s tenure.”

Marquette University, a Catholic, Jesuit university located in Milwaukee, Wis., enrolls nearly 12,000 students in more than 100 undergraduate majors and 35 graduate programs across eleven colleges and schools, including the only dental school and one of only two law schools in the state of Wisconsin. Founded in 1881, Marquette today ranks as one of the nation’s top 100 universities. Its athletic teams compete in the highly competitive Big East conference, and its more than 100,000 alumni worldwide are known for their commitment to the pillars of the university’s mission: excellence, faith, leadership and service.

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