Celebrating 125 Years
Gratitude for the past and confidence in the future were the main themes sounded as the University's 125th anniversary year officially began with a Eucharistic celebration on Aug. 12.
More than 400 people, including community leaders, Trustees, faculty, staff, alumni and students, attended the anniversary Mass in the McIlhenny Ballroom.
Frank X.J. Homer, Ph. D., professor emeritus and University historian, set the tone for the day with a quasqicentennial proclamation touching on the highlights of the University's history. Dr. Homer paid homage to the faith and vision of the past, exemplified by Bishop William G. O'Hara, who blessed the cornerstone in 1888 and all the faculty, staff and students he inspired, but also encouraged belief in future greatness as he concluded with words taken from the Alma Mater, “God be ever at our side and goodness fill our days.”
Kevin Quinn, S.J., University president, delivered the homily in which he urged the university community to “acknowledge our storied past but also consider our bright future.” Fr. Quinn noted that it is the University's Catholic identity that allows it to hope in the face of great odds, saying the 125th anniversary provides a “precious time to stir up the gifts given us.”
Faculty and staff helped celebrate the Mass. Ellen Casey, Ph.D., faculty member, offered the first reading, and Tara Seeley, coordinator, Office of the President, and Michael Knies, collections librarian, presented the offertory.
A luncheon followed on Dionne Green. First to address the guests was Brother Joseph Grabenstein, FSC, representing the Christian Brothers. The Christian Brothers served St. Thomas College and The University of Scranton for 45 years before entrusting the school to the Jesuits in 1942. Brother Grabenstein complimented the remarkable growth of the University under the Jesuits and observed visible signs of the Brothers' influence that remain today – including the residence hall named for Brother Denis Edward (president from 1931 to 1940) and the five-pointed star, the seal of the Brothers, that is part of the University's coat of arms and honors the Brothers for their half century of service to Scranton.
Thomas Grech '84, Alumni Society president, delivered remarks on behalf of the Alumni Society, while Donald Castelluci, student government president, represented the student body; Mary Elizabeth Moylan spoke for faculty; and Meg Cullen-Brown, Staff Senate president, delivered greetings from staff.
Rev. Bernard McIlhenny, S.J., who served the University for 31 years, was among the guests gathered on the green. He said the anniversary provides an opportunity to reflect on the dedication of people like Dolores Pisarski, who worked for 35 years in the University's Admissions Office and was seated with Fr. McIlhenny for lunch. He noted the human side of the university story, saying the anniversary is a time to celebrate “the people who made this university possible. As Fr. Pilarz (president from 2003 to 2011) often said, we stand on the shoulders of all who came before us,” Fr. McIlhenny said.