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Scranton Awarded $2 Million Economic Growth Initiative Grant

Scranton Awarded $2 Million Economic Growth Initiative Grant
PHOTO: Christopher Dolan and The Times-Tribune

The University was awarded a $2 million Economic Growth Initiative grant for its new eight-story center for rehabilitation education,
which will house the occupational therapy, physical therapy and exercise science academic departments when completed in August.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Office of the Budget administers Economic Growth Initiative grants for the acquisition and
construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects. Read more from the press release here.

Thoughts on the Center for Rehabilitation Education’s “Topping Out” Ceremony 

by Debra A. Pellegrino, Ed.D., 

Dean of the J.A. Panuska College of Professional Studies 

In August, a steel beam carrying an evergreen tree, flanked by the U.S. and University of Scranton flags, was hoisted to the top of the new center for rehabilitation education on campus. The “topping out” ceremony is a cherished custom of ironworkers whenever the skeleton of a bridge or building is completed. “Topping out” is a signal that the uppermost steel beam is going into place, that the structure has reached its full height. As that final beam is hoisted, an evergreen tree or flag or both are attached to it as it ascends. The tradition of the “topping out” might have started in the Scandinavian countries and eventually made its way to Northeastern Pennsylvania, but no one seems to know exactly when or how it started. 

What we do know is what the “topping out” ceremony symbolizes. It commemorates an achievement — the accomplishment of having reached the highest point of construction. While there is still work to be done to complete the structure, the “heavy work” is done. 

As I watched the “topping out” ceremony on our very own campus, I couldn’t help but think how fitting it was to be celebrating this tradition at a Jesuit and Catholic university. As the former Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., has reminded us: “The real measure of our Jesuit universities lies in who our students become.” For every student who passes through these halls, receiving that coveted Scranton diploma is a “topping out” moment. The “heavy lifting” of teaching and learning is done, but there is still much to be achieved. Our students go forth to foster within themselves a virtuous life characterized by personal responsibility, respect, forgiveness, compassion and habits of reflection. 

I’m grateful for the opportunity that The University of Scranton has to help shape the lives of our students. I’m equally grateful to all those who make the educational experience at Scranton one that is in the top tier of universities in national rankings. That evergreen tree atop the center for rehabilitation education stands tall as a symbol of achievement you’ll find across academic disciplines, service and career outcomes at Scranton.

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