125th Celebration: What is Your Scranton Story?

As part of our 125th Anniversary celebration we are collecting stories from alumni, students, faculty, staff and the community about how Scranton impacted their lives. Below are a few memories that our alumni have shared.

The Impact One School Had on So Many of Us
Ashley Teatum ’09

Whenever I describe my time at “The U” to those who were not fortunate enough to attend Scranton, I always say they were the best and worst four years of my life. Let me explain: Scranton is that special place where I met so many wonderful lifelong friends, learned more about myself and the world around me, and also went through my share of struggles, pain, and obstacles. And that to me represents the impact one school had on so many of us. Because of that, no singular memory stands out from the four years. How could it? Instead I think of snippets of small moments, vignettes that collectively comprised our college years. Walking the Z-bricked Commons, intense choir rehearsals in Houlihan-McLean, going to class or an Esprit meeting in CLP, power-napping on the Aquinas couch in Gunster (RIP), hanging lights for performances in the Royal Theater, standing shivering in the cold with dormmates during a fire drill outside Luzerne House, playing board games in Driscoll until all hours, coffeehouses in the lounge area of McCourt, watching the day roll by on Founders’ Green. These are snapshots, some varied versions of which other alumni probably have developed and tucked away in a mental photo album themselves. That’s what makes our Scranton stories similar yet unique. The U is that commonality we share, a sense of belonging to something greater than ourselves, that camaraderie whether we graduated five years ago or 50 years ago. And that is the most special gift it could ever have given any of us.

Scranton Has Always Been About Its People
Richard A. Yarmey ‘70

Arriving at Eagan Auditorium in 1966 as a first generation student from a blue-collar family in Forty Fort, I soon found myself already in awe. Welcome remarks by Fathers Galvin and Rock made clear, via their eloquence, that I was “not in Kansas” anymore. Scranton has always been about its people, people who extend themselves well beyond the classroom to enthusiastically guide and mentor students and open the doors of opportunity for those willing to walk through them. Fathers McIlhenny, Gannon, Suppe’, Gavin and Thoman, Marty Appleton, Gene McGinnis, Michael DeMichelle and Dick Passon...these are people to whom I have owed a great deal. Where else but at the “U” could I have engaged with such a range of learned people on an individual basis? Where else could a first generation student work with the administration on material changes in governance structures? Where else could that student have sat on the Search Committee for a new University President? And where else would that new President, Dexter Hanley, S.J., immediately extend himself, like his predecessors, to help a chemistry graduate get promptly accepted into law school? Let’s hope that such institutional history is not lost on those whose responsibility it is to guide the University into and through the 21st Century. This University has always been about its people, and its people have both the wonderful opportunity and enormous responsibility to carry forward that special character that has been for 125 years, The University of Scranton.

A Generational Jolt of Royal Education
Kevin Walsh ’73

As a seminarian student on Long Island, New York, in 1969, I was fortunate enough to have an outstanding senior basketball season in a tough Nassau-Suffolk Catholic League. The resulting college offers were many — but there was one “large fish in a smaller pond” opportunity from a Jesuit college in northeastern Pennsylvania which bubbled its way to the top. My very first classroom experience was on the sixth floor of the “Glen Alden Coal Company Building” [O’Hara Hall] at 8 a.m. on September 12, 1969; Introduction to Accounting; Dr. Joseph A. Zandarski presiding. Dr. Bill Parente was the dean of students at that time; and our eventual interactions were ‘epic.’ This very aforementioned Doctor Zandarski ‘cabled’ me [before faxes, mind you] in northern France in the spring of 1975 to inform me that the Department of Business Graduate Fellowship was being offered to me with an opportunity to return to the United States and to Scranton. It was an easy decision; I could play basketball at another time; and I triumphantly moved my family back to The School on the Hill. Our Walsh Family now has an ‘internal cabal’ located within — three of the six of us have served as Scranton Royal/Lady Royal Varsity Basketball Captains. It is more significant to note that the two younger charges in this group have surpassed their parental elder, both academically and professionally. Doctors Zandarski and Parente can be well proud of inspiring a generational jolt of Royal education. 

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