University to Name Building in Honor of Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.

05/13/11

The University of Scranton’s Board of Trustees announced that the west building of the Mulberry Street apartment and fitness complex will be named Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., Hall in recognition of 24th president’s leadership and service to the Jesuit university.

“The Board of Trustees wished to recognize Father Pilarz for the remarkable contributions he has made to The University of Scranton, its students and its mission as a Jesuit and Catholic university,” said Christopher “Kip” Condron ’70, chair of the Board of Trustees. “His vigilant stewardship, visionary leadership and fervent faith have enabled our University to advance to unprecedented heights – but his focus has always been first and foremost on the students. We are grateful for his service and proud to name in his honor the building that will house the fitness center and student apartments.”

“The heart of the matter for me is our incredible students,” said Father Pilarz. “I am humbled and thrilled that a residence hall will have my family’s name on it. It is where formation happens.”

The announcement was made at the May 10 dinner celebrating the University’s success in surpassing its $125 million Pride, Passion, Promise Campaign goal where Father Pilarz told students present that they were “the inspiration behind this effort.” He said that providing better opportunities for our students motivated him and others to make this campaign a success.

Father Pilarz’s list of achievements at Scranton is extensive – reaching from the fund-raising success of the most ambitious capital campaign in the school’s history to enhancing the University’s reputation on a national stage to being a professor and advocate for Catholic and Jesuit education.

“When you speak to Father Pilarz, the teacher comes out in him. That’s what really shines,” said Brendan Reedy, a junior from Mineola, N.Y.

During Father’s tenure, the University has expanded its international mission and service opportunities, as well as its support for mission and identity programming. More than 60 new faculty members were hired and, through the Pride, Passion, Promise Campaign, five endowed chairs have been established that will ensure the school is able to attract top scholars. The University saw undergraduate applications grow to record levels and its graduate programs expand dramatically through online degree programs and a renewed focus on campus-based programs. For six consecutive years, The Chronicle of Higher Education recognized Scranton as one of the nation’s “Top Producers of Fulbright Students.” The University also earned the highly selective Community Engagement Classification designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Father Pilarz’s impact can also be seen in the transformational changes taking place with the campus buildings and grounds. Campus improvements include the 180,000-square-foot Patrick and Margaret DeNaples Center; the 386-bed, 108,000-square-foot Christopher and Margaret Condron Hall; the 22,000-square-foot John and Jacquelyn Dionne Campus Green; the renovation of The Estate as a new home for Admissions; the high-tech, simulated trading floor of the Alperin Financial Center in Brennan Hall; the renovation of the former Visitor’s Center into to the Chapel of the Sacred Heart; and the 200,000-square-foot unified science center, which represents the largest capital project in the University’s history. Not to mention the 189,000-square-foot apartment and fitness complex on Mulberry Street, of which the west building will bear his name.

“The transition in the campus has been absolutely amazing. Yet, equally impressive is the way in which Father Pilarz integrated the needs of the students into everything he did,” said Carl Kuehner ’62, a former trustee of the University.

Father Pilarz has continued to teach while at Scranton, as well as continue his scholarship of medieval and Renaissance literature. He has also shared his passion for poetry by promoting National Poetry Month on campus and quoting poets often in his remarks. He has received numerous awards for teaching, service and scholarship, including the John Carroll Award from Georgetown University, which is the highest honor bestowed by the Georgetown University Alumni Association. He was awarded honorary degrees from King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, and, most recently, Marywood University, Scranton.

Father Pilarz earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Georgetown University; a master’s degree in philosophy from Fordham University; and a master’s degree in divinity and theology from the Weston School of Theology, Cambridge, Mass. He earned a Ph.D. in English at the City University of New York. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1981 and was ordained a priest in 1992.

Father Pilarz is fifth longest-serving president at Scranton and third longest-serving Jesuit president. He will leave Scranton this summer to serve as president of Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wis.

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