In his first official speech as Marquette University‘s 23rd president, Jesuit Father Scott Pilarz challenged the Jesuit university to provide greater access to higher education while maintaining excellence.
“For Marquette to remain authentically Marquette, access and excellence cannot be viewed as an either/or proposition, but rather a both/and situation in order to serve God’s greater glory and future generation of students,” Fr. Pilarz said.
Fr. Pilarz noted during remarks that he was the first in his family to graduate from college. Twenty-five percent of Marquette’s freshman class this year also are the first in their families to attend college, he said.
The new Marquette president praised Milwaukee and Marquette for their “authenticity and utter lack of pretension,” saying the culture here reminds him of his home state, New Jersey.
Pilarz’s long commitment to Catholic education began in his youth in New Jersey and at Camden Catholic High School, where he now serves as chair of the board. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Georgetown University in 1981, the same year that he entered the Society of Jesus. As part of his Jesuit formation, he earned a master’s degree in philosophy from Fordham University and master’s degrees in divinity and theology from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology. He was ordained a priest in 1992.
Pilarz previously served as president of the University of Scranton from 2003 until his selection to lead Marquette. He succeeds Father Robert A. Wild, who attended and participated in Friday’s inauguration.