The University of Scranton Inaugurates Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., as President
In a celebration of The University of Scranton’s tradition and accomplishments, as well as its future as a leading Jesuit university in the 21st century, the University conducted its Inauguration Ceremony for its 25th president, Rev. Kevin P. Quinn, S.J. Delegates representing nearly 100 colleges, universities and learned societies from across the country joined nearly 2,000 dignitaries, students, faculty, staff and community members for the ceremony held Friday, Sept. 16, in the Byron Recreation Complex on campus.
In his Inauguration Address, Father Quinn said the event marked “a dramatic intersection of the past with the future, of our traditions and accomplishments with our hopes and aspirations. That is why we are here.”
Father Quinn presented a vision of Jesuit higher education in the 21st century founded on the aspiration reflected by Jesuit Superior Generals Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., and Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., and the order’s founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola, which calls for an educational strategy that elicits a “personal transformation” in order to lead to a transformation of society.
“Here lies the key to Jesuit higher education in the 21st century,” said Father Quinn. “What universities claim to be teaching their students – specifically, to think critically, reason analytically, solve problems, and communicate clearly – is necessary, but not sufficient, for Jesuit universities. For a Jesuit university should ask more of its students by challenging them to make Ignatius’ charge – his notion of service – their own.”
“The ideal of a personal transformation requires a rigorous education to prepare students to become ethical and compassionate leaders who will infuse society with faith and justice, informed by knowledge,” said Father Quinn. “For personal transformation to be effective, academic, moral and spiritual experience must be integrated with and enhanced by learning outside the classroom.”
Father Quinn also said “it is not just serving others and learning about people, but learning with and from people who are often excluded from participation in economic, social and political life.” Delivering a transformative education requires “an integration of academic, moral and spiritual learning – the union of mind, heart and soul.”
Father Quinn sees Scranton as well positioned to deliver this kind of education.
“The University of Scranton, a Jesuit university, can and should excel in providing its students an education that is engaged, integrated, and global,” said Father Quinn.
Displayed at the ceremony were more than 100 greetings and citations from government bodies, universities and organizations, including a letter from the fire commissioner of the City of New York Fire Department. Father Quinn remembered in his address his father, the late Patrick Quinn, who was a fire fighter in New York for more than two decades.
The Inauguration included the world premiere of an original composition by renowned conductor, composer, teacher and bassist Lawrence Wolfe based upon one of Father Quinn’s favorite passages from Philippians (4:4-8). Wolfe conducted the piece, entitled “Rejoice in the Lord Always,” which was performed by the University’s Performance Music Choral and Instrumental Ensembles
The ceremony was part of a weeklong series of events commemorating the Inauguration of Father Quinn as president of The University of Scranton. The events began on Friday, Sept. 9, with a daylong celebration of service at which more than 750 students, faculty and staff joined Father Quinn to volunteer at more than a dozen area nonprofit organizations. On Tuesday, Sept. 13, more than 800 attended an Inauguration Lecture by Rev. Frank Brennan, S.J., professor of law at the Australian Catholic University, entitled “A Jesuit Perspective on Making Human Rights and Religion Friends, Not Foes.” On Thursday, Sept. 15, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of the Diocese of Scranton served as principal celebrant at the Inauguration Eucharist and Rev. Michael McCarthy, S.J., executive director of the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education at Santa Clara University, served as homilist. The final Inauguration event will be held on Saturday, Sept. 17, at which the University’s Performance Music Choral and Instrumental Ensembles will perform Wolfe’s original composition and other selections. The Inauguration Concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Houlihan-McLean Center and is free and open to the pubic.
An esteemed professor of law, respected scholar and advocate for Catholic and Jesuit education, Father Quinn served as executive director of the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education and a professor of law at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, Calif., prior to his appointment as president of The University of Scranton. As a professor of law, in addition to Santa Clara University, he taught at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Father Quinn earned a doctorate of philosophy in jurisprudence and social policy and juris doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley. He earned an S.T.L. with a concentration in moral theology and a Master of Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley (now the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University). He is a summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Fordham University. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1973 and was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1985.