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University’s 27th President Inaugurated

The University of Scranton community celebrated the Inauguration Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., as the 27th president.
September 24, 2018
By: Phyllida Whittaker ’19, student correspondent

The University of Scranton celebrated the Inauguration of our 27th president, Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., the morning of Sept. 21 in the Byron Center. Father Pilarz, who also served as the University’s 24th president, was welcomed by a University community elated for his return.

More than 1,000 members of the University and local communities filled the Byron Recreation Center to watch the academic procession usher Father Pilarz onto the stage. Following the procession, Father Pilarz and the audience were treated to a surprise. Wycliffe Gordon H’06, award winning trombonist, played his original composition “Me, We.”

Next, everyone viewed a short video welcoming Father Pilarz back, which featured Scranton students, faculty, staff, Scranton Mayor Bill Courtright and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. The video highlighted the University’s anticipation of Father Pilarz’s Inauguration, calling it “the return of a great leader.”

Joshua Rosenblum conducted the world premiere of his original piece “Don’t Waste Love,” commissioned specially for Father Pilarz’s Inauguration and performed by The University of Scranton Band and Choir. Rosenblum’s inspiration for the lyrics, which included the past speeches of Father Pilarz, other prominent Jesuits, and Pope Francis, set the tone for an Inauguration focused on love.

When Father Pilarz began his remarks, he said he only had one thing to say.

“I love this place and I am blessed to be back here with you.”

Of course, he joked, the Board of Trustees might be disappointed if he only said one thing, so he went on to call on the University community to act out of love more than ever now.

“We cannot be complacent,” he said. “Communities everywhere are under stress … We must be a source of hope for the local community going forward.”

The way forward, he said, is clear. To lead the way, and to ease the stresses and division of communities both great and small, The University of Scranton must further commit itself to liberal arts and humanities, Father Pilarz said. Members of the University community must be agents for positive change in the world.

“The humanities teach us not to waste love,” Father Pilarz said.

Even those students, faculty and staff who do not primarily work within the humanities benefit from their liberal arts courses, he said.

“What sets aside a good doctor or nurse?” Father Pilarz asked. “A deep understanding of the human condition.”

To better enable its students to be men and women for others, Father Pilarz announced a $1 million commitment to a new center for the humanities from Betsy and James Slattery ’86, who is co-vice chair of the University’s Board of Trustees. 

Also at the Inauguration, Father Pilarz received important symbols of his presidency. Judee Bavaria G’72, co-vice chair on the Board of Trustees, entrusted Father Pilarz with the Charter. Slattery gave Father Pilarz the Presidential Medallion. Rev. Herbert B. Keller, S.J., H’06, the 26th President of the University, presented Father Pilarz with the Mace.

A reception on the Dionne Campus Green immediately followed.

Phyllida Whittaker ’19, Dimock, is an English major and member of the undergraduate Honors Program at The University of Scranton.
Phyllida Whittaker ’19, Dimock, is an English major and member of the undergraduate Honors Program at The University of Scranton.
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