Former University President to Give Principal Address at 2015 Undergraduate Commencement

May 8, 2015

Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., the 24th president of The University of Scranton, will serve as the principal speaker at The University of Scranton’s undergraduate commencement on Sunday, May 31. He will also receive an honorary degree from the University at the ceremony.

 “I am delighted that Scott will serve as our undergraduate commencement speaker and receive an honorary degree from Scranton. We are grateful for all he has done for the University and all that he continues to do for Jesuit education,” said University of Scranton President Kevin P. Quinn, S.J.

Widely respected as an outstanding teacher, administrator and leader, Father Pilarz is currently president of Georgetown Prep in Washington, D.C., the nation’s oldest Jesuit educational institution. He also served as president of Marquette University, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, between 2011 and 2014, and as president of The University of Scranton from 2003 to 2011.

Father Pilarz’s impact at Scranton can be seen in transformational campus improvements. These include the 180,000-square-foot Patrick and Margaret DeNaples Center; the 108,000-square-foot Christopher and Margaret Condron Hall; the 22,000-square-foot John and Jacquelyn Dionne Campus Green; the expansion of the Retreat Center at Chapman Lake; and the 200,000-square-foot Loyola Science Center, which represents the largest capital project in the University’s history; in addition to the 189,000-square-foot apartment and fitness complex on Mulberry Street, of which the west building bears his name.

The leadership skill of Father Pilarz was recognized through his inclusion among the 38 successful individuals profiled by Ronald Shapiro in The New York Times bestseller “Dare to Prepare: How to Win Before You Begin.” As a scholar, Father Pilarz has delivered numerous papers at scholarly conferences on various aspects of medieval and Renaissance literature. He has also lectured and published on topics related to Jesuit education. His book, “Robert Southwell, S.J., and the Mission of Literature 1561-1595: Writing Reconciliation,” was published by Ashgate Press.

He has received numerous awards for teaching, service and scholarship, including the John Carroll Award from Georgetown University, which is a life achievement award and the highest honor bestowed by the Georgetown University Alumni Association. He was awarded honorary degrees from King’s College and Marywood University. In 1998, he received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and he has also received multiple research grants while teaching at Georgetown University.

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 from the Weston School of Theology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 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.

The University of Scranton’s undergraduate commencement ceremony will be held at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, Wilkes-Barre, on Sunday, May 31, at noon.


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