Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.


On July 1, 2018, Scott R. Pilarz, S.J. became the 27th president of The University of Scranton. 

Father Pilarz returned to Scranton after completing his term as president of Georgetown Preparatory School in Washington, D.C., at the end of the 2017-18 academic year. His accomplishments at Georgetown Prep include leading the community in a celebration of the 225th anniversary of its founding, guiding the development of a comprehensive strategic plan and working to secure the largest gift in the school’s history. In October of 2016, the school announced a $20 million commitment to support building restorations and other strategic plan projects.

During his service as president of Marquette University, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from 2011 to 2013, he spearheaded a strategic planning process and also guided the school into the newly configured Big East conference.

Father Pilarz, who served as Scranton’s 24th president from 2003 to 2011, was the fifth longest-serving president at Scranton and third longest-serving Jesuit president. During his previous tenure, the University earned national recognition for academic quality, community engagement and student success, achieving then record admissions and undertaking the largest construction projects in its history.  He expanded international mission and service opportunities and programs to enhance its Catholic and Jesuit identity. The University also earned the highly selective Community Engagement Classification designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Guided by a 2005-2010 Strategic Plan – Pride, Passion, Promise: Shaping Our Jesuit Tradition, transformational capital projects included the180,000-square-foot Patrick and Margaret DeNaples Center; the 108,000-square-foot Christopher and Margaret Condron Hall; the John and Jacquelyn Dionne Campus Green; the expansion of the Retreat Center at Chapman Lake, the 189,000-square-foot apartment and fitness complex on Mulberry Street; and the 200,000-square-foot Loyola Science Center.

Other accomplishments included dedicated support for research by new faculty, the President’s Colloquy for Presidential Scholars, and five endowed chairs to attract top scholars. The University’s progress was supported by the Pride, Passion, Promise Campaign, the most ambitious capital campaign in the University’s history, surpassing its $125 million fundraising goal.

The leadership skill of Father Pilarz was recognized through his inclusion among the 38 successful individuals profiled by Ronald Shapiro in The New York Times bestseller “Dare to Prepare: How to Win Before You Begin.” As a scholar, Father Pilarz has delivered numerous papers at scholarly conferences on various aspects of medieval and Renaissance literature. He has also lectured and published on topics related to Jesuit education. His book, Robert Southwell, S.J., and the Mission of Literature 1561-1595: Writing Reconciliation, was published by Ashgate Press.

He has received numerous awards for teaching, service and scholarship, including the John Carroll Award from Georgetown University for lifetime achievement, the highest honor bestowed by the Georgetown University Alumni Association. He received the Ignatian Award from Scranton Preparatory School and was awarded honorary degrees from King’s College, Wilkes University, Marywood University and The University of 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 from the Weston School of Theology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 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.