University of Scranton’s New President a Familiar Face

SCRANTON, Pa. -- The University of Scranton officially welcomed its newest president Friday.

But, Father Scott Pilarz's inauguration was really more like a welcome home celebration, since he's already served as university president once before.

The inauguration of The University of Scranton's newest president began with the expected pomp and circumstance. But, things would take a turn. A not-so-ordinary inauguration for a not-so-ordinary college president.

There was a trombone solo from renowned trombonist Wycliffe Gordon. And an original song composed by Scranton's choir. There was another inauguration that had to be topped: Father Scott Pilarz's first. This is his second stint as University of Scranton president after seven years away.

During his inaugural address, Father Pilarz announced a new project, a University Center for Humanities. A one million dollar donation from a trustee is getting it started.

"We`re not imagining a building so much as a function that can bring visiting scholars to campus, award scholarships, help faculty development, help student research. A pile of funds to make sure the humanities are front and center," Fr. Pilarz said.

The scope of Pilarz's second presidency also took a turn a few weeks ago when he announced that he's been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease. But, Father Pilarz told Newswatch 16 he is doing well and ready for another term.

The ceremony continued with a "Jersey shore" themed party, a nod to Pilarz's home state.

"They make it fun, this whole event has been a lot of fun, bringing everyone together, it`s just a last hurrah and the start of something new," said graduate student Lauren Holtzinger.

"Everybody`s coming together, welcoming the new president. It`s a lot of fun seeing everybody in a community sense, it`s really cool," added sophomore Michael Grant.

Students jokingly referred to Pilarz's return as "the second coming". Certainly something worth celebrating.

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