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Saying 'Siempre Adelante' To Scranton's 25th President

Saying 'Siempre Adelante' To Scranton's 25th President

Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., who guided the University through important expansions and implemented a new strategic plan, steps down. 

Upon stepping down from his post as president of the University in June, Rev. Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., was described by his colleagues as: “humble,” “loyal,” “intelligent,” “honest,” “focused,” “direct” and “patient.” His nuanced view of the student experience, and how personal transformation leads to societal transformation, informed his decisions as president.

University Expansion

Under his six-year tenure as the University’s 25th president, Scranton enjoyed national recognition for the value and quality of the education it provides to students. The University experienced a record number of applicants and enrolled some of the largest classes in its history. Academic programs have expanded to include new five-year bachelor’s and master’s programs, and the University added its second and third doctoral programs: the Doctor of Nursing Practice and the Doctor of Business Administration.

“The University has really grown and expanded over the years he’s been here,” said Yohuru Williams, Ph.D. ’93, G’93, a member of the Board of Trustees. “We owe him a great debt of gratitude.”

Fr. Quinn’s work to open the new athletics facility in the south side of the city, which will now bear his name, was a priority during his presidency, an extension of his dedication to a transformative student experience.

“Fr. Quinn has taken a special interest in the promotion of University athletics and support of our student athletes,” said Lawrence R. Lynch ’81, chair of the University’s Board of Trustees. “Furthermore, he strongly advocated for the development of the athletics campus and spearheaded efforts to raise the funds needed to begin construction.”

Along with the addition of The Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., Athletics Campus, campus improvements include the acquisition and renovation of Louis Stanley Brown Hall; the expanded Commons area and creation of the flag pole terrace; the completion of the Loyola Science Center; and the construction of the 117,420-square-foot, eight-story Leahy Hall. The University also completed — through a unique collaboration with outside partners — the renovation of the historic Madison School into an early childhood learning center and graduate housing.

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In addition to blessing many spaces, Fr. Quinn spoke at many dedications and several groundbreakings over the years and, together with the wider University community, celebrated the University’s 125th anniversary year. During the dedication of Brown Hall, Fr. Quinn addressed promoting “peace and justice” throughout the world, reminding the crowd — as he often did — to “find God in all things.”

“The University is proud to dedicate Louis Stanley Brown Hall, which takes a page out of our history books, and brings it to new life on campus and in the greater Scranton community,” said Fr. Quinn at the dedication. “St. Thomas College’s commitment to respecting all individuals in their unique gifts, challenges and needs was quite apparent. That commitment of respect for all is present in everything we do here today at The University of Scranton.”

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 The Plan

Fr. Quinn often spoke about the Strategic Plan 2015-2020: An Engaged, Integrated, Global Student Experience — the development and adoption of which he oversaw. The seeds of that plan were planted as early as his inauguration in 2011.quinnclapping.jpg

“The University of Scranton, a Jesuit university, can and should excel in providing its students an education that is engaged, integrated and global,” said Fr. Quinn during his inauguration. “We can do something special here. Of that I am very certain.”

The Strategic Plan, said Gerry Zaboski ’87, G’95, vice provost for Enrollment Management & External Affairs and member of the President’s Cabinet, is the “showpiece of Kevin’s commitment to students.”

Upon the plan’s publication in 2015, Fr. Quinn wrote, “The plan that we have created together expresses our hopes and dreams for The University of Scranton and answers any who might wonder if Scranton is up to the many challenges that face higher education into the future. Our hard work now is to put the plan into action.”

Read about the progress of his plan, and how his hopes and dreams for the University will live on, here

Jesuit Education

A passionate advocate for Jesuit education who has written nationally on the topic, Fr. Quinn inspired countless students, faculty, alumni, staff and thought leaders.

“Jesuit universities are in a privileged position to provide an education that speaks to the deepest desires of our students and, at the same time, aims to address the most profound needs of our world,” he wrote in America Magazine in May 2016. “Inherited from generations of Jesuit educators and two millennia of Christianity, this is our legacy to preserve and enhance. It is hard for me to imagine more important or rewarding work.”

Students noticed. In an Aquinas article announcing his resignation, student Genny Francis ’17 voiced gratitude for Fr. Quinn for “implementing what it means to have a true Jesuit education.”

His scholarship on Jesuit education, said Rev. Patrick D. Francis Rogers, S.J., director of The Jesuit Center, made an impact not only on Scranton, but on the wider Jesuit community. Fr. Quinn spearheaded the creation of The Jesuit Center at the University to help faculty and staff live out Scranton’s Catholic and Jesuit mission.

Fr. Quinn’s commitment to a transformative student experience involved advocating for expanded community-based learning and living-learning communities for students. In addition, he led several social justice initiatives at Scranton, such as the Living Wage Report for Northeastern Pennsylvania, and has sought support for refugees internationally and regionally.“Being able to take an idea, like the vision that Ignatius had for the University, and being able to implement it, that’s very hard. You have to have a lot of dedication and a lot of vision. And, frankly, a lot of experience of moving things along,” said Fr. Rogers. “I admire his skill and vision.”

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In a Scranton Times-Tribune op-ed, he wrote: “The humanitarian needs are urgent, and our compassion should abound to help men, women and children who have fled their homes in pursuit of safety. As Pope Francis has said, ‘You are your brother’s keeper.’ Welcoming neighbors from distant shores aligns with our American ideals and is a bedrock of our local Scranton history as well.”

The Future

Fr. Quinn’s plans for the University, said Fr. Rogers, will no doubt live on. “I’m looking forward to a great explosion of the ideals that he has espoused for the University over the last six years really coming to fruition and continuing to blossom,” said Fr. Rogers. “The impact will continue for a long, long time.”

Read about what Fr. Quinn is up to now, here.

Click below to see how Fr. Quinn helped student experience improve through The Strategic Plan.

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