MAY 10, 2011

Thank you, Patrick.

Thank you all – board members, donors, key volunteers, administrators and staff members – for being here tonight for this special occasion.  I’d like to welcome in a special way my longtime friend and your next president, Rev. Kevin Quinn of the Society of Jesus, who is here this week getting to know the University.  

When I accepted this job back in 2003, then chair of the Board, Frank McDonnell, who is here with us tonight, assured me that there was little need for which to raise money.  

Nonetheless, in 2006 we started the quiet phase of the Pride, Passion, Promise Campaign.  After two years of solid activity, we publicly launched this campaign with two priorities.  First, we aimed to transform our campus into a 21st century living and learning environment through the building of the DeNaples Center, Condron Hall, a unified science center, the Mulberry Street apartment and fitness complex, and many other smaller projects.  Second, we wanted to secure our future through investments in scholarship and academic endowments and through increased giving to The Royal Fund.  We announced  a bold goal to raise first $100 million, then $125 million, for these efforts.  Given what we had been able to raise as a University to that point, you could argue that we “jumped off a cliff” in support of this University.  And, I took all of you with me.

Well, I am thrilled to tell you tonight that – with God’s grace – we have landed safely.  I am proud to announce to you that the Pride, Passion, Promise Campaign has surpassed its $125 million goal, having raised to date $128 million in support of our priorities.  $62 million dollars raised for capital projects.  $45 million raised for endowment.  $20 million raised in annual money.   This number represents a 28 percent increase over our initial goal. 

It is one and a half times more money than all of the capital campaigns raised at the University … in its history!  

This capital campaign was the collective effort of so many people.  First and foremost, I’d like to thank our national co-chairs, Kip & Peggy.  As you may have noticed, Kip & Peggy could not be with us tonight to celebrate this accomplishment.  Kip is recovering from an illness.  While he is expected to make a full recovery, he is convalescing and couldn’t make the trip.  Never in my experience have two people been more committed to a cause than Kip & Peggy have been to our cause.  I miss them dearly tonight because this achievement is their achievement.   

In addition to our national co-chairs, I’d like to thank our entire Campaign Executive Committee.  The CEC met 18 times over the past five years to plan and to prod, to plead and to promote this effort.  Their guidance and their generosity made this effort successful. 

Next, I would like to thank all of our significant donors to this campaign.  Though this campaign will end up with 25,000 unique donors, we kept this event intentionally small so that we could thank the people who really made a difference and who helped us achieve our audacious campaign goal.  Many of the donors in this room made six- and seven-figure commitments to this campaign. In fact, the Pride, Passion, Promise Campaign had 109 commitments of $100,000 or more.  109!  I don’t know what to say, except thank you.      

Next, I would like to thank the administration and staff members who worked so diligently on this campaign from start to finish.  I know this was a labor of love for you.  You are the stewards of our Jesuit mission, and you are stewarding it so well.  Thank you.

Finally, I would like to thank all of the students who are here tonight.  You may not realize this, but you were the inspiration behind this effort.  Providing better opportunities for our students has always been the motivation behind our work - whether as a donor, a volunteer, or a staff member.   You are the heart of the matter.  Would all of the students assembled here tonight please stand and be recognized?  

As I have said many times during the last eight years, serving as the president of The University of Scranton has been the great privilege of my Jesuit life.  Working with all of you on this capital campaign has been an essential part of that privilege.  Thank you.

We Jesuits have always depended on close collaborators to carry out our mission of developing men and women for others.  One of the privileges of working on this campaign has been the friendships that I have created with these collaborators on the Campaign Executive Committee (CEC).  Among them is my close friend, John Mariotti, a Scranton alumnus who always answers the call to support his alma mater. I’d like to invite John to join me on stage to provide remarks on behalf of the CEC.  John.

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