Rev. Herbert B. Keller, S.J., Installed as Interim President at University of Scranton

August 31, 2017

Rev. Herbert B. Keller, S.J. H’06, was installed as Interim President at The University of Scranton at a ceremony conducted at the conclusion of the Jesuit university’s Mass of the Holy Spirit. Fr. Keller, who also serves as rector of the Scranton Jesuit Community, will serve as president through June 30, 2018, when will be succeeded by Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J. H’15, President-elect, at the conclusion of his service as president of Georgetown Preparatory School.

Fr. Keller said he is grateful, humbled and honored for confidence placed in him by the University’s Board of Trustees through this appointment and promised to “devote all of my energy this year in promoting the Catholic and Jesuit mission of this great University.”

In his remarks, Fr. Keller spoke of the transition of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, when he “was moved to lay aside the sword and helmet of a nobleman and offer his heart to God. Ignatius would go on to do great things for God on this earth … He changed his life from someone who was centered almost solely on himself to someone who was committed to the service of his sisters and brothers in this world. His journey took him from selfishness to selflessness.”

Fr. Keller said that is the kind of transformation the University wants for its students. “We want you to leave here not only with that cherished diploma, but also with a heart that desires to use your many gifts and talents in the service of God’s people on this earth,” he said.

Referring to a line from the University’s alma mater, “The legacy of those who’ve gone before – is briefly ours to hold,” Fr. Keller said he is “conscious of that legacy of our predecessors: and not just the legacy of former presidents, but the legacy of faculty, staff, administrators and students who have gone before us; for it is all of them who have passed on the legacy, the mission, the spirit of The University of Scranton.”

Fr. Keller also challenged students, faculty and staff “to think of how we will shape this legacy. If it is ours to hold for four years, or 50 years, or one year: What will we be willing to give of ourselves to make this legacy even stronger for those who will follow us?” said Fr. Keller.

The formal installation was conducted by Lawrence R. Lynch ’81, chair of the University’s Board of Trustees. Also speaking at the ceremony were: Joseph H. Dreisbach, Ph.D., interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs; Msgr. Joseph G. Quinn ’72, J.D., J.C.L., Bishop’s delegate from the Diocese of Scranton; and Rev. Vincent Conti, S.J., socius of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus.

A member of the University’s Board of Trustees, Fr. Keller has served on the Board through various terms for 17 years.

Fr. Keller stepped down in 2015 after a distinguished 18-year tenure as president of Scranton Preparatory School, the longest-serving president in the school’s history. He entered the Jesuit novitiate in Wernersville in 1969. In 1975, he received a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy from Fordham University. He earned a master’s degree with distinction from Weston School of Theology in Boston and a professional diploma in secondary school administration from Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education.

He was ordained a priest in 1981 and has served in Jesuit secondary education for 35 years. Fr. Keller was named principal of Scranton Prep in 1983 and served in that capacity for eight years. In 1991, he was appointed to his alma mater, Saint Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia, where he would serve for six years as both principal and rector of the Jesuit Community.

 In 2006, Fr. Keller received an honorary doctoral degree from The University of Scranton. In 2016, he served as a delegate from the Maryland Province for the Society of Jesus' General Congregation 36.

 An archived recording of the ceremony can be seen at

The University of Scranton held an Installation Ceremony for Rev. Herbert B. Keller, S.J. H’06, Interim President, during the Mass of the Holy Spirit in the Byron Recreation Complex on campus. From left: Rev. Vincent Conti, S.J., socius of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus; Fr. Keller; and Msgr. Joseph G. Quinn ’72, J.D., J.C.L., Bishop’s delegate from the Diocese of Scranton.


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