Reverend Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., to Serve Again as President of The University of Scranton

Mar 21, 2017
The University of Scranton’s Board of Trustees announced Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., will serve again as president. He served as Scranton’s 24th president from 2003 to 2011.
The University of Scranton’s Board of Trustees announced Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., will serve again as president. He served as Scranton’s 24th president from 2003 to 2011.

The University of Scranton’s 24th president, Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., ’H15 will return to Scranton to serve as the Jesuit University’s president again. Lawrence R. Lynch, chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, made the announcement to the University community today. Father Pilarz will succeed Kevin. P. Quinn, S.J., whose term as president ends in June at the close of the 2016-17 academic year.

“Father Pilarz’s love for The University of Scranton and his steadfast commitment to Jesuit education is well known. He is highly regarded as an outstanding teacher, scholar and visionary leader who is beloved by students. We are fortunate to have him back at Scranton,” said Lynch. “On behalf of the Board, I want to thank the members of the presidential search committee for their diligence and service throughout this important process.”

Father Pilarz referred to Scranton as “…a place that will always be my home, a place very close to my heart” in his 2015 undergraduate commencement address at which the University presented him with an honorary degree. The University also named an apartment and fitness center on Mulberry Street after him in 2011.

“The University of Scranton is a place I love and believe in deeply. There’s nothing in my mind more authentically Jesuit than the mission of the University and the way that mission is lived by the members of that community,” said Father Pilarz. “I am returning to a University positioned well for the future. I thank Father Quinn for the great care, vision and commitment he has given to the University we both cherish and have been privileged to serve.”

“As I said in my spring convocation remarks: ‘As I prepare to leave Scranton, my sadness in departing is eased by my sure and certain hope that our University community will continue to flourish.’ I have no doubt that Scranton will continue to thrive – and it’s Jesuit essence continue to grow stronger – under the leadership of Scott Pilarz,” said Father Quinn.

“I am grateful to the Board of Trustees for the selection of Father Pilarz as the next president of The University of Scranton and will be pleased to mission him to this position in the name of the Society of Jesus,” said Very Rev. Robert Hussey, S.J., Provincial of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus. “I have great confidence in Father Pilarz’s ability to lead the Jesuit and Catholic mission of the University.”

Father Pilarz was selected following a national search, which began in September with the appointment of a broadly representative search committee that included trustees and representatives from the faculty, staff, student body, alumni and administration. University Trustee Philip G. Judge, S.J., served as chair of the search committee.

Father Pilarz is president of Georgetown Preparatory School in Washington, D.C., the nation’s oldest Jesuit educational institution. His accomplishments at Georgetown Prep include leading the community in a celebration of the 225th anniversary of its founding, guiding the development of a comprehensive strategic plan and working to secure the largest gift in the school’s history. In October of 2016, the school announced a $20 million commitment to support building restorations and other strategic plan projects.

“Father Pilarz remains deeply committed to Georgetown Prep and to ensuring a smooth transition of leadership,” said Lynch. “His starting date at Scranton is yet to be determined, as he works through this process.”

He spearheaded a strategic planning process during his tenure as president of Marquette University, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from 2011 to 2013, where he also guided the school into the newly configured Big East conference.

Father Pilarz was the fifth longest-serving president at Scranton and third longest-serving Jesuit president. During his previous tenure, the University earned national recognition for academic quality, community engagement and student success, achieving then record admissions and undertaking the largest construction projects in its history.  He expanded international mission and service opportunities and programs to enhance its Catholic and Jesuit identity. The University also earned the highly selective Community Engagement Classification designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Guided by a 2005-2010 Strategic Plan – Pride, Passion, Promise: Shaping Our Jesuit Tradition, transformational capital projects included the180,000-square-foot Patrick and Margaret DeNaples Center; the 108,000-square-foot Christopher and Margaret Condron Hall; the John and Jacquelyn Dionne Campus Green; the expansion of the Retreat Center at Chapman Lake, the 189,000-square-foot apartment and fitness complex on Mulberry Street; and the 200,000-square-foot Loyola Science Center.

Other accomplishments included dedicated support for research by new faculty, the President’s Colloquy for Presidential Scholars, and five endowed chairs to attract top scholars. The University’s progress was supported by the Pride, Passion, Promise Campaign, the most ambitious capital campaign in the University’s history, surpassing its $125 million fundraising goal.

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 for lifetime achievement, the highest honor bestowed by the Georgetown University Alumni Association. He received the Ignatian Award from Scranton Preparatory School and was awarded honorary degrees from King’s College, Wilkes University, Marywood University and The University of 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 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.

Founded in 1888, The University of Scranton is a Catholic and Jesuit institution located in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Northeast with an enrollment of nearly 5,500 undergraduate and graduate students. Scranton consistently ranks among the nation’s best colleges and universities in publications such as U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, The Princeton Review and others. Scranton is known for the outstanding success of its graduates, enjoying a record of Fulbright fellows that is unmatched for an institution of its size and scope – 155 since 1972. 

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