University remembers former president with mass, music

Photo courtesy of The University.
THE LATE Rev. Joseph Allen Panuska, S.J., was remembered at The University of Scranton Saturday with a special mass. Panuska was the longest serving president of The University. He died on Feb. 28. He is pictured standing on the top of the Weinberg Memorial Library.

Meryl Paine

Staff Writer

The University held a special mass and other events this Saturday to honor the memory of the Rev. Joseph A. Panuska, who passed away in February.

Panuska served as The University’s 22nd president from 1982 to 1998, the longest presidential term in the University’s history. Panuska is credited with the construction boom that added 15 buildings to the campus, including Redington Hall, the Byron Recreation Complex and the Weinberg Memorial Library. He is also credited with greatly increasing both student registrations and faculty size.

Panuska also moved The University to acquire several churches in the area, renovating them and turning them into University facilities. Under Panuska’s leadership, The University acquired the Episcopalian Assembly of God Church, which became Rock Hall and the Madonna Della Strada Chapel; the Immanuel Baptist Church, which became the Houlihan-McLean Center; and the John Raymond Memorial Universalist Church, which is now Smurfit Hall.

A special mass was held in memorial of Fr. Panuska’s life on Saturday in the McIlheny Ballroom, followed by a picnic-style dinner in the Byron Recreation Complex and a free concert featuring The University’s Jazz Band and other guest soloists.

“It was under the leadership and with the support of Father Panuska that most of The University’s Performance Music offerings were established, expanded, equipped, developed and housed, and it was at his insistence that all performances be offered free of charge to the community, a promise kept by every president who has followed in his footsteps,” Performance Music director Cheryl Boga said in a press release by The University.

Besides The University’s Jazz Band, the concert will feature trumpeter Kenny Rampton from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and musician Loren Schoenberg. Rampton, besides being a member of the Lincoln Center Orchestra, has also performed with jazz legend Ray Charles, toured with Matchbox Twenty and performed on numerous Broadway shows. Schoenberg is a Grammy Award-winning saxophonist and founding director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, and has spoken and performed at White House events for the past three presidents.

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