After five years of constant leadership from its highest administrative position, The University will enter the 2017-2018 school year with a new president.
In an email to The University student body sent on Aug. 22, the official start date of the new school year, University President The Rev. Dr. Kevin Quinn, S.J., officially announced his resignation, effective June 1, 2017. The delayed resignation date, shortly after graduation in the spring, is intended to provide the Board of Trustees of The University ample time to find the next president.
Although this decision came as a great surprise to many in the campus community, Quinn assured the student body that he had given it a great deal of thought. According to his email, Quinn engaged in “prayer and reflection that would make Father Ignatius happy,” signifying his commitment to discerning what the best course of action was both for himself and The University community.
Throughout his announcement, Quinn also voiced a great deal of thanks and appreciation to everyone in the Scranton community, especially with regards to the creation and implementation of The University’s strategic plan for 2015-2020. In addition, he expressed “great hope and enthusiasm” for the upcoming year, promising leadership and support during preparation for the Middle States Self-Study, which will begin construction this fall, according to The University website.
Despite only becoming the president of the University in July of 2011, Quinn has overseen a drastic transformation to multiple aspects of both academic and spiritual life at The University. Multiple academic buildings, including the Loyola Science Center and Edward R. Leahy Jr. Hall, were officially opened and dedicated during his tenure, serving students in both the College of Arts and Sciences and the Panuska College of Professional Studies.
Expansion of The University included acquiring and renovating the building that would become Louis Stanley Brown Hall, as well as creating both a preschool and graduate apartments on Quincy Avenue. In addition, Quinn established the Jesuit Center, which according to The University’s website is meant to “empower faculty and staff to share in The University’s mission” through Jesuit values.
In a letter to The University community from Lawrence R. Lynch, the chair of the Board of Trustees, the board thanked Quinn for “all that he has done” for The University. The board has announced that it will soon begin the process of searching for a new University president, and that it welcomes input from all in The University community.
Quinn’s accomplishments at The University during his tenure as president have not gone unnoticed. The Princeton Review includes The University among its lists of the top colleges in both the Northeastern region and the nation. In addition, The University ranks among the top 20 colleges nationally in science lab facilities, campus food, college dorms and, in keeping with the school’s Jesuit values, student engagement in community service.
Upon hearing the news of Quinn’s resignation, much of the student body initially reacted as expected, with feelings of surprise. However, many students have also expressed appreciation for all Father Quinn did during his tenure. Occupational therapy graduate student Genny Francis voiced gratitude for Father Quinn “implementing what it means to have a true Jesuit education”, while also wishing him “all the best for his future endeavors.”
Father Quinn leaves behind a University that has embraced the movement into the 21st Century and is looking for ways to better serve its students, faculty, and staff. It is clear that the University would not be the place it is today without Quinn’s leadership and constant vision of emphasizing Jesuit values in all aspects of campus life.