The University Commemorates 125th Anniversary of Cornerstone Blessing


Most Rev. William O'Hara, the first Bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, blessed a single block of granite as the cornerstone of the new College of St. Thomas of Aquinas on the afternoon of Sunday, Aug. 12, 1888. The University of Scranton recognized the blessing ceremony with a Mass and luncheon on campus Aug. 12.

University President Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., served a principal celebrant and homilist at the Mass.

“It is a precious time to stir up the gifts given us,” said Father Quinn. “The holy people of God – faculty, staff and students at The University of Scranton – can dream of renewed birth because God’s Spirit dwells in us, powering us to always try anew.”

At a luncheon following Mass, Brother Joseph Grabenstein spoke on behalf of the Christian Brothers, who taught and administered St. Thomas College for 45 years, from 1897 until 1942. He spoke of a leap of faith by the Jesuits, who during World War II, took charge of the University, along with its debt and a “bankbook, which listed a balance of only $57.14.”

He also spoke of several notable alumni who went on to exceptional careers of service to others, including Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle, Archbishop of Washington, D.C.

Also speaking at the luncheon were, Jean W. Harris, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Political Science Department; Rev. Thomas M. Muldowney, vicar general of the Diocese of Scranton; Thomas Grech ’84, president
 of the Alumni Society; Donald Castellucci III ’14, president of Student Government; Meg Cullen-Brown, president of staff senate and assistant dean of the College of Graduate and Continuing Education; and Mary Elizabeth Moylan G’90, faculty chair of the Weinberg Memorial Library.

In addition to the luncheon speakers, Frank X.J. Homer, Ph.D., professor emeritus of history, prepared and read a Quasquicentennial Proclamation prior to the start of the Mass. The proclamation stated: “In looking back upon our past we not only celebrate the achievements of the men and women who have in some way touched or been touched by the University over the past 125 years, but we also recognize the manifold blessings of Divine Providence that have been bestowed upon us. Thus, we can look forward with confidence to the future with a prayer echoing the words of our Alma Mater that ‘God be ever at our side and goodness fill our days.’”

The University will kick off the campus community’s year-long celebration of its 125th anniversary with a Mass celebrated by Most Rev. Joseph Bambera, D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, Thursday, Sept. 5, at 11:30 a.m. in the Byron Recreation Complex.

For additional information about the 125th anniversary celebration, visit



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