From Tracy BannonAlumnus/a | Friend '84
When it was announced in March of 2017 that Scott would return to the University as President for a second term, I had the honor of delivering a toast to welcome him home. I'd like to share the toast from 2017 as a memorial in gratitude to Scott for being our President, our Pastor, our Leader, our Teacher, and most important, our Friend.
In Mary Oliver’s poem, “It Was Early”, she writes, “Sometimes, I need only stand wherever I am to be blessed”. That’s how I feel every time I stand on this campus and I know that’s the way you feel as well. As our Admissions marketing proclaims, “The University of Scranton is a community so close, we open doors for one another.” Today, we are happy to open our doors and hearts to the Pilarz family. We welcome Joan, Ron and Scott home.
We open our doors and hearts to Scott, our President. Three weeks ago, the Board unanimously voted to bring you home. The Board made a decision that protecting our Jesuit and Catholic identity was paramount to the success of our students and the lives they will live long after graduation. The Board unanimously voted to bring you home as our teacher, our pastor, our leader and our friend.
We open our doors and hearts to Scott Pilarz, our teacher. Our students are challenged every day to live lives of faith. They need you. They need your constant reminder of God’s unconditional love for them and their need to respond to God with profound gratitude. We know that your passion for Jesuit education will inspire them to search and find their God in all things and give them the wisdom to realize that life is best lived by generously serving others. We are confident, Scott, that their lives of faith will be nourished by your attentiveness and tender care.
We open our doors and hearts to Scott Pilarz, our Pastor. We realize that Scranton has not been immune to the uncertainty and unrest on university campuses. Saint Ignatius’s wisdom would prove beneficial, “Be slow to speak, and only after having first listened quietly, so that you may understand the meaning, leanings, and wishes of those who do speak. Thus you will better know when to speak and when to be silent.” We are confident, Scott, that you will listen patiently and respectfully and that healing will take root in this new chapter in the life of the University.
We open our doors and hearts to Scott Pilarz, our leader. You have a personal vision communicated by the example of your daily life. You give people more than they expect and have always done so joyfully. John Quincy Adams said, “You are a leader if your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more”. We are confident, Scott, that your words, actions and example will inspire students, staff, faculty and administration to dream more, learn more, do more and become more.
And finally, we open our doors and our hearts to Scott Pilarz, our friend. For some of us you are already a friend and for some, a friendship is yet to be cultivated, but what we all know is that friendships born on this campus are loyal, fierce, respectful, and honest. On Scranton’s campus, we have each other’s back, we take care of each other, we open doors for one another. As your favorite New Jersey poet, Bruce Springsteen sings, “You can't break the ties that bind, You can't forsake the ties that bind”. We are confident, Scott, that the ties that bind us all to the University will be enriched by your love for this place and all that it represents. So, let’s raise our glasses, We are so happy to open our doors and hearts to you, Scott, our President, our Pastor, our Teacher, our Leader, and our Friend. May God continue to bless you, your family and the University of Scranton. WELCOME HOME!
Rest in Peace, my friend, may our gracious God welcome you Home.