University Dedicates Building in Honor of Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.
“Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live,” a quote etched above an entrance of the DeNaples Center, echoes the legacy that remains at The University of Scranton of its 24th president, Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.
Beloved by students and known for accomplishing transformational projects at the Jesuit university, Father Pilarz, the new president of Marquette University, returned to Scranton Nov. 18 for the dedication of the west building of the Mulberry Street apartment and fitness complex that will forever bear his name.
“During his tenure as president, Father Pilarz led unprecedented growth at Scranton that goes beyond bricks and mortar, skillfully nurturing our genuine care for students and the unique attributes that each brings to our community,” said Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., president of The University of Scranton. “His contribution has – and continues to – transform lives. We are grateful for his visionary leadership at Scranton and, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, are proud to dedicate Pilarz Hall in his honor.”
The University’s Board of Trustees announced in May the naming of the hall in recognition of Father Pilarz’s contributions to “The University of Scranton, its students and its mission as a Jesuit and Catholic university,” said Christopher M. “Kip” Condron ’70, chair of the Board of Trustees.
“The heart of the matter for me is our incredible students,” said Father Pilarz when the naming of the building was first announced. “I am humbled and thrilled that a residence hall will have my family’s name on it. It is where formation happens.”
The fifth longest-serving president at The University of Scranton and third longest-serving Jesuit president, Father Pilarz’s list of achievements at Scranton is extensive – reaching from the unprecedented fundraising success the Pride, Passion, Promise Campaign to enhancing the University’s reputation on a national stage to transformational capital projects on campus.
During Father Pilarz’s tenure, The University of Scranton expanded its international mission and service opportunities, as well as its support for programs to enhance its Catholic and Jesuit identity. More than 100 new faculty members were hired and, through the Pride, Passion, Promise Campaign, five endowed chairs were established to attract top scholars. The University saw undergraduate applications grow to record levels and its graduate programs expand dramatically through online degree programs and a renewed focus on campus-based programs. The University also earned the highly selective Community Engagement Classification designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Father Pilarz’s impact can be seen in transformational campus improvements. These include the 180,000-square-foot Patrick and Margaret DeNaples Center; the 386-bed, 108,000-square-foot Christopher and Margaret Condron Hall; the 22,000-square-foot John and Jacquelyn Dionne Campus Green; the expansion of the Retreat Center at Chapman Lake; the renovation of The Estate as a new home for Admissions; the renovation of the former Visitors’ Center into the Chapel of the Sacred Heart; the 200,000-square-foot Loyola Science Center, which represents the largest capital project in the University’s history; and the 189,000-square-foot apartment and fitness complex on Mulberry Street, of which the west building will bear his name.
Throughout his presidency, Father Pilarz remained a teacher and scholar of medieval and Renaissance literature. He shared his passion for poetry on campus – often quoting poets in his remarks and in etchings on buildings and walkways. He has received numerous awards for teaching, service and scholarship, including the John Carroll Award from Georgetown University, which is a life achievement award and the highest honor bestowed by the Georgetown University Alumni Association. He was awarded honorary degrees from King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, and Marywood University, Scranton.
Father Pilarz earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Georgetown University; a master’s degree in philosophy from Fordham University; and a master’s degree in divinity and theology from the Weston School of Theology, Cambridge, Mass. He earned a Ph.D. in English at the City University of New York. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1981 and was ordained a priest in 1992.
Father Pilarz now serves as the 23rd president of Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis.