A Commemorative Year Comes to a Close

On this day of celebration, continuing our year of celebration, we acknowledge our storied past, but also must consider our bright future.” — Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., President of The University of Scranton

On Aug. 12, 1888, Bishop William G. O’Hara, the first Bishop of Scranton, laid and blessed the cornerstone of the College of St. Thomas’ first building, which would stand next to St. Peter’s Cathedral and the Bishop’s residence on Wyoming Avenue. The laying of the pink cornerstone was a citywide celebration, featuring a parade, musical performances by the Cathedral choir and a local orchestra, and a sermon by Bishop O’Hara.

Exactly 125 years later, on Aug. 12, 2013, The University of Scranton rekindled the spirit from that day, and kicked off a yearlong celebration with an Anniversary Eucharist attended by diocesan priests, Christian Brothers and Jesuits, all crucial to the University’s mission and history.

The Rev. Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., University president, led the 125th Anniversary Eucharist. In his homily, he said, “It is a precious time to stir up the gifts given to us. The holy people of God — faculty, staff and students at The University of Scranton — can dream of renewed birth because God’s Spirit dwells in us, powering us to always try anew.”

These meaningful words resonated with members of our community who, throughout the year, attended dozens of events and participated in various activities dedicated to honoring our rich history. Events included lectures, city tours, concerts and even a traditional birthday party. 

In typical Scranton fashion, students volunteered their time. One group of student and adult volunteers at the Leahy Community Health and Family Center gave over 1888 hours of service in honor of our anniversary. Others contributed in different (very creative) ways, such as helping to design residence hall bulletin boards featuring information about the University’s history. 

We also received video messages from our much beloved former University presidents, Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., Joseph M. McShane, S.J., H’04, and William J. Byron, S.J., H’84. They, too, are an incredible part of the Scranton story.

The 125th Anniversary Celebration Committee had a hand in planning each detail this year. Committee Chair and Vice Provost for Enrollment Management & External Affairs Gerry Zaboski ’87 G’95, noted the importance of the cornerstone blessed in 1888. “The cornerstone was removed and displayed during events throughout the year,” he said. “We will soon find a new home for that cornerstone, but — this year — it was a signature element to our anniversary events.”

Zaboski also noted the importance of the recently released book about The University of Scranton, "A Legacy to Hold, a Future to Build." The hardcover book presents the University’s history as written by Gayle White with Frank X.J. Homer, Ph.D. ’64, professor emeritus of history. The History Book Committee owes a debt of gratitude to the University’s past and current archivists (100 years of Scranton news was digitized for this anniversary). 

“This book is a tribute to the regular work and collaboration that happens every day at the University,” Zaboski said. “The details make our story rich, and those details are now available to everyone.”

On May 16, 2014, Fr. Quinn invited faculty, staff and students to the 125th Anniversary Eucharist — The Culmination of a Year of Celebration. “On this day of celebration, continuing our year of celebration, we acknowledge our storied past, but also must consider our bright future,” he said.

Although this Eucharist marked the end of the academic year of celebrations, events continued throughout the summer (at Reunion, for example). The Scranton community is already looking forward the next big celebratory year, perhaps in 2038.

To The University of Scranton’s bright future!

Anniversary Tour:

University President Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., traveled many miles to visit more than 500 alumni and friends in various cities during his 125th Anniversary Tour.

Below is a list of visits on his tour:

Dec. 12 Washington DC: 241 miles from Scranton to Washington, D.C.; 100 attendees

Feb. 21 San Francisco: 2821 miles from Scranton; 20 attendees

Feb. 22 Santa Monica: 381 miles from San Francisco to Santa Monica; 24 attendees

March 23 Tampa Florida: 1141 miles from Scranton; 52 attendees

March 27 New York City: 120 miles from Scranton; 75 attendees

March 28 Bernardsville, New Jersey: 98 miles from Scranton; 70 attendees

April 10 Garden City NY -Long Island: 143 miles from Scranton; 65 attendees

April 11 Ardmore PA: 118 miles from Scranton; 135 attendees Leadership

Fr. Quinn also made visits for briefings:

Jan. 22 Philadelphia-124 miles from Scranton; 7 attendees

Jan. 23 Basking Ridge, NJ-107 miles from Scranton; 5 attendees

Jan. 29 New York City-120 miles from Scranton-6 attendees

March 20 Palm Beach FL-1225 miles from Scranton-5 attendees

March 21 Naples FL-149 miles from Palm Beach; 10 attendees

May 12 Boston MA-293 miles from Scranton-3 attendees

May 22 Scranton -16 attendees

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