Father Scott Pilarz named as next Marquette president

MILWAUKEE — Jesuit Father Scott R. Pilarz, a graduate of Camden Catholic High School, was named the 23rd president of Marquette University.

The announcement was made Tuesday, Aug. 31.

Father Pilarz currently serves as president of the University of Scranton. He will assume his duties in summer 2011, succeeding Jesuit Father Robert A. Wild, who announced in March that he would retire next year after 15 years as Marquette president.

In announcing the selection, Board Chair Darren Jackson said, “Father Pilarz demonstrates enormous passion for the mission of Catholic, Jesuit education and boasts a record of accomplishment, both as an educator and as a leader, that speaks directly to Marquette’s commitment to excellence. He is the right person to lead our continued growth as one of the nation’s top Catholic universities.”

“Marquette enjoys a national reputation for its pursuit of academic excellence and for the way its students, faculty and alumni live out the principles of Catholic, Jesuit education,” said Pilarz. “I have tremendous respect for Father Wild and the remarkable accomplishments of the entire Marquette community during his presidency. The opportunity to lead this institution at a time of such momentum and promise is both exciting and humbling. As difficult as it will be to leave the community I have grown to love at Scranton, I am honored to have been chosen.”

Father Pilarz, 51, became Scranton’s 24th president in 2003, following his service at Georgetown University, where he spent six years on the English faculty before being asked, in 2002, to serve for one year as interim university chaplain, a position that included membership in the President’s Cabinet. He was chosen by the graduating class of 1999 to receive the Edward B. Bunn, S.J., Award for Faculty Excellence, an award that recognizes outstanding teaching and service.

In 2002, he was recognized by the Georgetown Alumni Association with the William Gaston Award for Outstanding Service. In 2009, he received Georgetown’s John Carroll Award, which honors alumni whose achievements exemplify the traditions and ideas of the university.

During his time at Scranton, the university constructed a new campus center, sophomore residence hall and campus green space. A new residence hall and fitness center complex and an $83 million unified science center are set for completion in the fall of 2011.

While at Scranton, Father Pilarz has continued to teach a course each semester.

Father Pilarz is the author of a book, Robert Southwell, S.J., and the Mission of Literature 1561-1595: Writing Reconciliation, and has written numerous articles on Southwell, an English poet, John Donne and medieval drama. He has served as a lecturer in the philosophy department of Sts. Peter and Paul Seminary at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and was appointed to the English faculty of St. Joseph’s University in 1994, before joining the Georgetown faculty in 1996.

He was one of 38 individuals profiled by Ronald Shapiro in The New York Times bestseller “Dare to Prepare: How to Win Before You Begin,” citing his successful approach to fund raising and leadership as a university president. In 2010, he was awarded an Honorary Degree from King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

A native of Camden, Father Pilarz entered the Society of Jesus in 1981 and was ordained a priest in 1992.

He received his bachelor’s degree in English from Georgetown University, and a master’s degree in philosophy from Fordham University, New York. He received masters’ degrees in divinity and theology from the Weston School of Theology, Cambridge, Mass. He went on to earn a doctorate in English at the City University of New York.

Father Pilarz serves on the boards of Boston College, Scranton Tomorrow and Scranton Preparatory School and as president of the board of Camden Catholic High School, from which he graduated.

He is the son of Joseph and Joan Pilarz, Voorhees.

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