Local University Presidents Will Receive Honorary Degrees at Commencement

Published on Wed, April 27, 2011

Reverend Thomas J. O'Hara, C.S.C., Ph.D., retiring president of King's College, and Reverend Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., outgoing president of the University of Scranton, will be awarded honorary degrees at the 2011 Commencement of Marywood University.

Rev. O'Hara was named as the eighth president of King's College in February 1999 and took office the following July. He holds the distinction of being the first alumnus of King's College to be named as its president. He will conclude his 12-year term as president on June 30, 2011. Following a sabbatical, he plans to return to the classroom full-time as a professor of political science at King's.

A native of Hazleton, Rev. O'Hara is the second longest serving president in King's history. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science from King's in 1971 before receiving a master's degree in theology from the University of Notre Dame and a doctorate in political science from The American University. Rev. O'Hara taught in the political science department at King's from 1988 to 1994 and again on his return to King's in 1996 after a two-year faculty position at the Philosophical Centre of Jinga in Uganda. He was ordained a Roman Catholic Priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1978.

Rev. Pilarz, outgoing president of the University of Scranton, will become the 23rd president of Marquette University. He will assume his duties this summer. A respected teacher and scholar, Rev. Pilarz 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.

After receiving his bachelor's degree in English from Georgetown University, Rev. Pilarz entered the Society of Jesus in 1981 and was ordained a priest in 1992. He received a master's degree in philosophy from Fordham University, and master's degrees in divinity and theology from the Weston School of Theology, Cambridge, Mass. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in English at the City University of New York, and his dissertation, Sacerdotal Self-Fashioning: Priesthood in the Poetry of Robert Southwell, S.J., and John Donne, won the 1997 CUNY Alumni Achievement Prize for Dissertation Excellence.


Photo (left to right):

Reverend Scott R. Pilarz, S.J. and Reverend Thomas J. O'Hara, C.S.C., Ph.D.