Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., will return to The University May 31 as an honored guest, honorary degree recipient and speaker for the undergraduate commencement ceremony.
Pilarz served The University from 2003 to 2011 as its 24th president before moving on to Milwaukee as president of Marquette University. In 2014, he became president of Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, Maryland.
The University saw great transformation under Pilarz’s guidance, including the construction of the DeNaples Center, the Dionne Green and Montrone, Pilarz and Condron Halls, as well as an expansion of the retreat center at Chapman Lake.
“I am delighted that Scott will serve as our undergraduate commencement speaker and receive an honorary degree from Scranton. We are grateful for all he has done for The University and all that he continues to do for Jesuit education,” University President Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., said in a statement.
Pilarz said he was surprised and happy to be invited.
“I am thrilled, really thrilled to be coming back,” Pilarz said. “It’s always a great feeling to come back to campus, especially when students are around.”
He said he plans to talk to students about being grateful for their education and knowing it gives them an important role to play in the world.
“I’m honored and delighted” to speak at commencement, he said.
Senior Nicole Mahaffey said she thinks Pilarz will offer inspirational and relevant remarks.
“When he was here at The University, students really loved him, and so I think he’ll really make an impact on our class,” she said.
The University will bestow honorary degrees to Pilarz and alumna Karen L. Pennington, Ph.D., ‘76, G’81, at undergraduate commencement. Pennington is vice president for student development and campus life at Montclair State University in New Jersey and is involved with various higher education organizations.
University alumnus James Cummings, M.D., ‘88, will speak at graduate commencement. Dr. Cummings is director at the Department of Defense’s Global Emerging Infection Surveillance and Response Systems.
Dr. Cummings, who received an undergraduate degree in biology from The University and attended Georgetown University School of Medicine, will receive an honorary degree at graduate commencement.