Why I Picked Scranton

Mary Ellen Taggart Ford ’76, Karen Pennington, Ph.D.’76, G’83, and Carolyn Schumacher Esgro ’76, G’81 recall what led them to Scranton 40 years ago, shortly after the University's decision to go coed.

Karen Pennington, Ph.D.’76, G’83. Mary Ellen Taggart Ford ’76. Carolyn Schumacher Esgro ’76, G’8.
Karen Pennington, Ph.D.’76, G’83. Mary Ellen Taggart Ford ’76. Carolyn Schumacher Esgro ’76, G’8.

Karen Pennington, Ph.D.’76, G’83

"I had done well on the National Merit Scholarship Test and I started receiving letters from all kinds of colleges and universities. But my guidance counselor didn’t know anything about this university in Montana that was heavily recruiting me, so they sent me over to Monsignor Bonner High School, the boys high school, and their guidance counselor. I was told that they were having a college fair that night and that I should come. And I ended up talking to Father McIlhenny from The University of Scranton. And as they say, the rest was history.

"Scranton was not my first choice. But I received a Presidential Scholarship and my mother made it obvious that that’s where I was going. I vividly remember my mother saying, ‘Try it for a year, if you really don’t like it, I will find the money to send you where you want to go.'

"But after my second day at Scranton, you weren’t getting me out of here."

Mary Ellen Taggart Ford ’76

"I found out about Scranton from my guidance counselor in high school. I was interested in statistics and I was really interested in data. There weren’t a lot of schools that offered them. In fact, I ended up being a math major. 

 "Scranton wasn’t my first choice. My first choice was actually Rutgers, and they were also going coed that year. I got wait-listed at Rutgers and accepted to Scranton. Then the financial aid package came and my father said, 'You will love Scranton. No, no, you will love Scranton.' And he actually sent in the response saying 'yes.'"

Carolyn Schumacher Esgro ’76, G’81

"When I was high school, I helped out in my high school guidance office. One day, when I was going through things for one of the counselors, I saw a brochure from the University. It said that they would begin accepting coeds for the first time. We came up to the area – we lived in Princeton Junction, N.J. – to go to an interview at Wilkes. We got lost coming home and I saw a sign for the University. I asked my dad if we could go up and look at the school. It was a rainy Sunday in Scranton and Father McIlhenny happened to be in his office. Father Mac spoke to my parents and they were really impressed with the school because it was Jesuit. When I accepted, it was a no-brainer that’s where I was going to go." 

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