The University of Scranton Celebrates Inauguration of 29th President

“A Fire That Kindles Other Fires,” the theme chosen for the Inauguration of Rev. Joseph G. Marina, S.J., as the 29th president of The University of Scranton, was evident throughout the address given by the new president at the ceremony. In his Inaugural Address, Father Marina referred to remarks of former Scranton presidents, words of Jesuit superior generals, the life of St. Ignatius and the accomplishments of students, faculty, staff, alumni and others, to illustrate the influence one person can have on others.

“In his first inaugural address, Father Pilarz referred to our University as a miracle in the mountains. And that’s exactly what it is. But it didn’t take long for me to notice that Scranton is also a vineyard in the valley, a place where hard work, dedication, and an authentic commitment to the ideals and characteristics of Catholic and Jesuit higher education converge for the benefit of the students we serve,” said Father Marina. “This vineyard produces sweet and abundant grapes and our harvest is a harvest to be envied. … The credit goes to our wonderful students, our amazing faculty and staff, loyal trustees, alumni and benefactors who, year after year, have cultivated the soil of this vineyard to make it rich and nurturing.”

Father Marina said the term “a fire that kindles other fires,” from the second decree of the 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, “is a metaphor that every Jesuit work, and every member of that work, can take on in a personal and apostolic way. The University of Scranton is, without a doubt, a fire that kindles other fires – one that illuminates and warms rather than burns and destroys.”

Father Marina referred to the University’s sense of community as its greatest asset.

“The community that is Scranton is authentic, and you can feel it almost immediately when stepping onto our beautiful campus. We are a family,” said Father Marina. “Our community is not an insulated one. It is grounded in God’s love. Our university exists because of Jesus Christ. And our future will be stoked by the fire of the Holy Spirit for decades to come. This triune reality makes our community open to all, not despite their differences, but precisely because of them. We are made stronger by our diversity and by our love for one another.”

Father Marina closed his remarks citing advice he received from Scranton’s 23rd president, Rev. Joseph McShane, S.J., currently the president of Fordham University: “If you love The University of Scranton, if you truly love it, then marvelous things are bound to happen.” 

Father Marina said that is “exactly” what he intends to do, and asked others to “please join me as we carry our mission forward, or, more rightly, may I join you? So that, together, we can cultivate this wonderful vineyard in the valley and be that fire that kindles other fires.”

The Inauguration occurred during the Ignatian Year, the 500th anniversary of the conversion of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus.

Nearly 1,500 members of the University community and invited guests attended the Inauguration, including representatives from more than 45 colleges and universities; Rev. Joseph M. O’Keefe, S.J., provincial of the USA East Province of the Society of Jesus, who presented the Missioning of the President at the ceremony; Scranton’s Mayor Paige Cognetti, who provided greetings from the city; and Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop of Scranton, who provided the Invocation, among others. Recorded greetings were given by U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright and U.S. Senator Bob Casey, a Scranton native. The Inauguration also featured the performance of an original work composed for the Inauguration by David Lantz III, titled “To the Ends of the Earth.”

A recording of the ceremony is available for viewing. Photos from the event can be seen on the University’s Inauguration Flickr album.