A Year of Celebrations is Winding Down

The University of Scranton Programming Board (USPB) formed the numbers 125 during an anniversary celebration on August 29. Father Quinn served birthday cake.

As our academic year comes to a close, we also are winding down a yearlong celebration of our 125th anniversary.

On August 12, 1888, Bishop O’Hara laid and blessed the cornerstone of the College of St. Thomas’ first building, which would stand next to St. Peter’s Cathedral and the Bishop’s residence on Wyoming Avenue. The laying of the pink cornerstone was a citywide celebration, featuring a parade, musical performances by the Cathedral choir and a local orchestra, and a sermon by Bishop O’Hara.

Exactly 125 years later, on August 12, 2013, The University of Scranton rekindled the spirit from that day, and kicked off a yearlong celebration with an Anniversary Eucharist attended by diocesan priests, Christian Brothers and Jesuits, all crucial to our mission and history.

President Quinn led the 125th Anniversary Eucharist. In his homily, he said:

“It is a precious time to stir up the gifts given to us. The holy people of God—faculty, staff and students at The University of Scranton—can dream of renewed birth because God’s Spirit dwells in us, powering us to always try anew.”

These meaningful words resonated with members of our community, many of whom took the time throughout the year to attend dozens of events and participate in various activities dedicated to honoring our incredible history. These included: lectures, city tours, concerts and even a traditional birthday party

In typical Scranton fashion, students took it upon themselves to contribute over 1888 hours of service in honor of our anniversary, as well contribute in other creative ways such as helping to design residence hall bulletin boards.

We also received video messages from our much beloved, former University presidents, Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., Joseph M. McShane, S.J., H’04, and William J. Byron, S.J.  They, too, are an incredible part of the Scranton story.

The 125th Anniversary Celebration Committee had a hand in planning each detail. The Committee is chaired by Gerry Zaboski, vice president for External Affairs, who noted the importance of the cornerstone, blessed in 1888. 

“The cornerstone was removed and displayed during events throughout the year,” he said. “We will soon find a new home for that cornerstone, but – this year – it was a signature element to our anniversary events.”

Zaboski also noted the importance of the recently-released book about The University of Scranton, A Legacy to Hold, a Future to Build, which draws on our history as written by Frank X.J. Homer, Ph.D., professor emeritus of history, and is thanks in large part to the University’s past and current archivists (who recently digitized 100 years of Scranton news for this anniversary). 

“This book is a tribute to the regular work and collaboration that happens every day at the University,” he said. “The details make our story rich, and those details are now available to everyone.”

The book is available for purchase online and in our bookstore.

On May 16, 2014, Father Quinn invited faculty, staff and students to the 125th Anniversary Eucharist – The Culmination of a Year of Celebration.  

“On this day of celebration, continuing our year of celebration, we acknowledge our storied past, but also must consider our bright future,” he said.

Although the celebrations continue this summer (at Reunion, for example), the Scranton community is already looking forward the next big celebratory year, perhaps in 2063.

To The University of Scranton’s bright future!

The 125thscranton.edu website includes a timeline of our history, a place to share your Scranton story, news from the past year, a photo gallery, videos and more.


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