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Remembering Father Pilarz: A Timeline


  1. Scott Pilarz is born in New Jersey.

    July 31, 1959

    Scott Pilarz is born on July 31, on the Feast of St. Ignatius, to the Joan and Joseph Pilarz in Pennsauken Township, New Jersey, a suburb of Camden. He is their first child, preceding his sister, Sue, who would make him a brother-in-law of Joseph Lappin and an uncle of Carly, Joey and Marin.

  2. He graduates from Camden Catholic High School.

    1977

    He graduates from Camden Catholic High School in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and prepares to enter Georgetown University, his first Jesuit institution of higher learning.

  3. He earns his bachelor’s degree in English from Georgetown, and then earns two more master's and a Ph.D.

    1981

    He earns his bachelor’s degree in English from Georgetown, winning three Saint Genevieve Awards for acting and directing, and first enters the Society of Jesus.

    He would go on to earn his master’s in philosophy from Fordham University in New York City, another Jesuit institution, then enter the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Mass., where he would earn two more master’s degrees – in theology and divinity – and eventually earn his doctorate in English from the City University of New York (CUNY).

  4. He is ordained.

    1992

    He is ordained a Catholic priest in the Jesuit order.

  5. He becomes a professor.

    1994

    He becomes a professor of English at St. Joseph’s University, also a Jesuit institution, in Philadelphia.

  6. He returns to Georgetown.

    1996

    Father Pilarz returns to his Georgetown alma mater as an assistant professor of English.

    Among his many accomplishments at Georgetown, he succeeds in a movement to revive Jack the bulldog as the Hoyas’ live mascot. Jack eventually moves to Scranton with Father Pilarz.

  7. He joins The University of Scranton's Board of Trustees.

    2000

    Father Pilarz joins The University of Scranton’s Board of Trustees, under then-president the Rev. Joseph McShane, S.J.

  8. He becomes president of The University of Scranton.

    2003

    He arrives in Scranton as the 24th University President. Father Pilarz begins his first tenure on July 1 and is inaugurated on Sept. 26.

  9. He oversees the launch of the most ambitious fundraising campaign in University history.

    2008

    He oversees the launch of a $125 million fundraising campaign, the most ambitious in University history, affirming his commitment to supporting scholarships and faculty-student research as well as campus transformation.

    The $35 million Patrick and Margaret DeNaples Center, one of his many passion projects, is completed.

  10. On May 14, ground is broken for the Loyola Science Center.

    2009

    On May 14, ground is broken for the Loyola Science Center, the largest capital project in the then-121-year history of the University. The unified science center is an approximately 200,000 square-foot building that required more than twice the investment as the DeNaples Center.

    He receives the John Carroll Award from Georgetown University for lifetime achievement, the highest honor bestowed by the Georgetown University Alumni Association.

  11. Father Pilarz leads a delegation of University officials to Rwanda, and ground is broken at 900 Mulberry Street.

    2010

    Further evidencing his commitment to human rights and to the University as part of a global community, Father Pilarz leads a delegation of University officials to Rwanda to seek potential partnerships with the Rwandan government.

    On June 11, ground is broken for a new $33 million, 189,000-square-foot housing and fitness complex on the 900 block of Mulberry Street, with two- and four-bedroom apartments that will cater to the increasing number of upperclassmen seeking to remain on campus. The 14,000-square-foot fitness center will double the size of the current fitness space.

  12. He winds down his first Scranton presidency.

    May 01, 2011

    The 200,000-square-foot $83 million Loyola Science Center, the largest capital and construction project in University history, is completed. Father Pilarz notes how it will touch every member and every aspect of the University community in some fashion.

    He gives his last Commencement address during his first presidency, thanking students for their fortitude during a period of constant construction. He also repeats his signature line: “Don’t waste love.” 

    The last day of his first term as president is July 1, 2011. He departs at a time when the University is poised to welcome the largest, highest-quality and most geographically diverse first-year class in its history.

    In November, Pilarz Hall is dedicated.

  13. He becomes president of Marquette.

    2011

    Father Pilarz is the 23rd president of Marquette University in Milwaukee, 2011-2013.

  14. He becomes president of the oldest Jesuit high school in the U.S.

    2014

    Having departed Marquette, he becomes president of the oldest Jesuit high school in the United States: Georgetown Preparatory School, a.k.a., Georgetown Prep in Bethesda, Maryland, a place that even gave him his own golf course.

    “If only I golfed,” he would later tell the Scranton community at his second inauguration when he also would explain that Scranton was the only place on the planet for which he’d ever have considered leaving Georgetown Prep.

  15. It is announced that Father Pilarz will return to Scranton as president in 2018.

    2017

    Father Pilarz is announced on March 21 as the 27th president of The University of Scranton, a successor to the Rev. Kevin P. Quinn, S.J.

    He pledges to focus on academic priorities, student experience and faculty work.

  16. He announces the news that he has ALS.

    August 29, 2018

    In August 2020, he first shares the news of his amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) diagnosis. He reaffirms his commitment to shepherd the University he loves, promising to “move forward” and “keep working.” He pledges to continue to "find God in all things."

  17. He is inaugurated as the University's 27th president.

    September 21, 2018

    He begins his tenure on July 1 and is inaugurated for the second time on Sept. 21. During his inauguration, themed ‘Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live,” he states, “I love this place, and I am blessed to be back here with you.”

     

  18. He announces the establishment of the Slattery Center and a new strategic plan.

    2019

    In May, he announces the establishment of the Gail and Francis Slattery Center for Humanities, which will be housed in a grand Victorian home on the corner of Mulberry Street and Clay Avenue.

    In December 2019, Father Pilarz announces plans for a new strategic plan, which is “unanimously and enthusiastically” approved by the Board of Trustees in October 2020.

  19. Father Pilarz leads the University through the beginning, then peak, stages of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

    2020

    Father Pilarz leads the University through the beginning, then peak, stages of the global COVID-19 pandemic. He connects with students, faculty, parents and the larger community through a series of well-remembered video addresses.

    In summer, he announces that the University will welcome students back to campus for both in-person and virtual instruction in the fall, encouraging all to adhere to the Royals Safe Together plan.

  20. He outlines new University goals for diversity and inclusion.

    2020

    In June, he outlines new University goals for diversity and inclusion and remains committed to working toward these goals, including those outlines in the new strategic plan, until his death.

  21. On March 10, Father Pilarz dies at age 61.

    March 10, 2021

    On March 10, Father Pilarz dies at age 61 of complications related to ALS. His Mass of Christian Burial is celebrated on March 13 in the John J. Long, S.J. Center.

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