The University of Scranton’s Newest Building Will Bear Familiar Name

August 19, 2015

The University of Scranton’s Board of Trustees announced the new building on the corner of Linden Street and Jefferson Avenue will be named Edward R. Leahy Jr. Hall, in honor of the late son of long-time University benefactors, Patricia and Edward Leahy ’68, H’01. The University will dedicate the $45.7 million, eight-story building at a 10 a.m. ceremony on Friday, Sept. 18.

As the 116,360-square-foot home of the Panuska College of Professional Studies, Leahy Hall will house the departments of physical therapy, occupational therapy and exercise science. The modern facility has 25 state-of-the-art laboratories, nine traditional and active-learning classrooms, nine group study rooms, more than 50 faculty offices and multiple simulation environments, which include a hospital patient room for acute and long-term care and a streetscape for rehabilitation education with an apartment, street corner, garage, car and grocery store. The new building is designed to facilitate research, expand service-learning projects, and put the best simulation environments, applied-science laboratories, equipment and technology directly in the hands of students and faculty.

“The University of Scranton and greater Scranton community have benefited enormously through the heartfelt call made by Patricia and Ed Leahy to use our talent to care for the needs of those in our area,” said University of Scranton President Kevin P. Quinn, S.J. “They understand and model the call by St. Ignatius ‘to love and serve in all things.’ The new facility aligns well with the spirit of faculty, student and community engagement that is at the heart of programs the Leahys have initiated and generously supported for decades.”

In 1995, the University renamed Jefferson Hall the Edward R. Leahy Jr. Hall in recognition and appreciation of the Leahy family. The new facility is on the same ground as the former Leahy Hall and connects to McGurrin Hall, which houses the other departments in the Panuska College of Professional Studies, as well as the 4,000-square-foot Leahy Community Health and Family Center and the Edward R. Leahy Jr. Center Clinic. The center and clinic also honor Edward R. Leahy Jr.

“We founded this Center in 1994 in memory of our son, Edward, who was a wonderful, happy child, with multiple disabilities, who passed away in 1993, just before his ninth birthday. Throughout his short life, Edward was helped enormously by doctors, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, and many other health professionals. In their honor, and in Edward’s memory, we wanted, in some small way, to bring that same quality healthcare to the people of Lackawanna County, through the efforts of the multitalented faculty and staff at The University of Scranton,” said Mr. Leahy at the dedication ceremony of the clinic in 2008. “It is not enough today for a University merely to teach – to talk the talk. Rather, it is more important than ever to put our teaching to the practical test; to implement our learning within our community for the wellbeing of all – University and residents alike.”

True to his words, Mr. Leahy and his wife have spearheaded numerous initiatives through the University’s Panuska College of Professional Studies and the Leahy Center to bring academic research and expertise to benefit area residents. The Leahys have served as honorary chairs of the annual Northeastern U.S. Conference on disAbility since it began 14 years ago. The conference brings to the region nationally respected experts to discuss issues, legislation, successful collaborations, best practices, research and other topics in order to positively influence the care, quality of life and wellness of individuals and families living with disabilities.

Programs offered through the Leahy Center actively engage faculty and students in service “to and for others.” In addition to the free medical clinic, programs offered through the Leahy Center include physical therapy and counseling services offered by graduate students and faculty; the University of Success, a multi-year program for high school students designed to develop the skills needed to successfully gain entrance to college; the Peace Makers program, an afterschool program for children aged 9 to 13 that explores the meaning, history and vision of peacemaking, also supported by graduate students and faculty; and the student-run Alice V. Leahy Food and Clothing Pantry, which is named in honor of Mr. Leahy’s mother.

A University of Scranton alumnus, Mr. Leahy is a native of Mahanoy City. He served as past chair of the University’s Board of Trustees and was honored by the University with the Alumni Achievement Award for Distinguished and Exceptional Attainment, given in 1993, and with an Honorary Degree, bestowed in 2001. Also, in 2003, he was named the first Sir Maurice Shock Visiting Fellow at University College, Oxford, U.K., where he was also a member of the faculty of law.

Mr. Leahy is co-founder and managing partner of Solsuus Investment Advisors and Strategic Partners, which focuses on doing business in the Middle East. He earned his law degree from Boston College. He served in the U.S. Army and, early in his career, also served as a law clerk to Justice William J. Brennan of the U.S. Supreme Court. Previously, he served as managing partner of AEG Capital, LLC, in Washington, D.C., for six years.

Patricia Leahy worked for 18 years on Capitol Hill and spent six years as a special assistant for legislative affairs in the U.S. Department of Education. She is currently director of public policy and legislative affairs for the National Rehabilitation Association in Washington, D.C. A native of Boston, she majored in English at Boston College.

The building will open for classes on Monday, Aug. 24, and will be formally dedicated on Sept. 18. Tours of the facility will be conducted immediately following the dedication ceremony.

The dedication will also begin a yearlong series of events under the theme “Embracing the Call to Care,” which will give the community opportunities to experience the facility firsthand.

To read more about the new building, visit the Leahy Hall website.

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