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New Alumni Society President: Retired Army Col. Richard H. Breen Jr. ’77

New Alumni Society President: Retired Army Col. Richard H. Breen Jr. ’77
Col. Richard H. Breen Jr. '77

With more than 49,000 members, Scranton’s Alumni Society is a powerful network that spans generations — and the globe. As the new Alumni Board president, retired army Col. Richard H. Breen Jr. ’77 wants to ensure that each of those members sees the value of a continued connection with the Scranton community. 

Breen, who has served on the board since 2006, before taking the reins from outgoing president Martina Martin ’80 in May, assisted with a recent large-scale transformation of the organization to better represent the Society’s membership. Changes included both a new name (originally the Alumni Society Board of Governors to the Alumni Society Advisory Board) and priorities that more directly align with the efforts of University Advancement, which supports the University’s strategic plan. 

Breen said he is happy to serve in the role of president because Scranton holds an important place in his heart. “I love the University,” he said. “I love being the product of a Catholic and Jesuit institution, and I have lived its values.” 

Breen, who retired from the Army after 30 years, said service is part of his core being, and he’s thrilled to give back to Scranton, which gave him so much. 

He outlined three main goals for his term: refining and building “the raw mission and impact” of the board to Scranton and its alumni; widely communicating the value of being a Scranton graduate and giving individuals continued opportunities to remain involved; and supporting the University through philanthropy, volunteering and student engagement programs. This year, he will work closely with Michael Short ’99, the board’s new vice president.

“I’m honored and humbled for this opportunity to lead the Alumni Society and am looking very much forward to working with Fr. [Kevin P.] Quinn, the Trustees, and Gary Olsen and the entire alumni team going forward,” he said.  

During his term, Breen added that he will often be thinking of his college roommate, Thomas Coveleski ’77, who passed away earlier this year after an illness. “He was an amazing example of selfless service to others,” said Breen. “The impact he made was profound. I will dedicate my two years (as president) to his memory.” 

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