Board Of Trustees Unanimously Approves New President: Rev. Joseph G. Marina, S.J.
The chair of The University of Scranton’s Board of Trustees announced Rev. Joseph G. Marina, S.J., provost and vice president for academic affairs at Le Moyne College, will serve as Scranton’s 28thpresident beginning this summer.
by Kelsey Wynn | Editor in Chief
SCRANTON – The University of Scranton’s Board of Trustees has unanimously approved the election of its 28th president, Rev. Joseph G. Marina, S.J., provost and vice president for academic affairs at Le Moyne College, Syracuse, N.Y., who will take office this summer.
During a live YouTube broadcast 11 a.m. today, James M. Slattery ’86, chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, named Marina as successor to Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., the University’s second-longest-serving president in its history behind J.A. Panuska, S.J. (1982-1998).
Marina spoke with The Aquinas about the significance of Jan. 28 – the day Slattery called him to welcome him to Scranton – and his thoughts on community vision. Listen here.
Slattery expressed gratitude for the board members’ hard work in their search for a new president, and said Marina’s experience will allow him to guide the University community.
“Father Marina brings to Scranton his unique experience as teacher, pastor, scholar and school administrator with more than 20 years of experience in higher education,” said Slattery.
Pilarz agreed that it is Marina’s character and faith that will drive him as a University leader.
“[Marina] has a special dedication to Catholic and Jesuit higher education, and a pastoral approach to leadership that is grounded in his faith, in Ignatian spirituality and in a call for justice. He will further Scranton’s commitment to provide a transformative education, rooted in the liberal arts, and will guide our students to become ‘men and women for and with others,’” Pilarz said.
Marina said he is honored to succeed Pilarz and continue building the existing foundation of Scranton’s mission together with its students and community.
“I am humbled… to be chosen as The University of Scranton’s next president and to succeed Father Pilarz who has with his colleagues on campus fostered such a strong foundation on which to build Scranton’s future success,” Marina said. “From day one as a Jesuit I have heard time and again how seriously Scranton takes its mission and identity. What strikes me most is how students excel with the help of the authentic commitment of faculty and staff. As we take this journey together beginning this summer, the wonderful truth remains that anything and everything we do at Scranton should be and will be done for our students first. Our shared focus is precisely where it belongs, on our students and their success.”
Marina has served as provost and vice president for academic affairs and professor of education at Le Moyne College since 2016, where he has held responsibilities in overseeing the Jesuit college’s three academic schools, honors program, library, campus life, student housing, conduct and Title IX compliance, diversity and inclusion programming, global education, student success and support services, disability services, and several other areas. He has also served as associate provost, interim chair of the education department and special assistant to the president at the College.
Marina has spent the last two months serving as acting president at Le Moyne while Linda M. LeMura, Ph.D., president, serves as a Chancellor’s Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Syracuse University. LeMura commended Scranton for its new selection, and said Marina has been a vital contributor to Le Moyne’s success over the past five years.
“I remember Pilarz saying to me, ‘Who knows. With any luck and with God’s grace, maybe after you finish your formation you’ll be able to join us here and serve at the University of Scranton. It’s only now, in hindsight, that I can fully appreciate that profound comment.”University of Scranton president-elect Rev. Joseph G. Marina, S.J.
“Among his accomplishments as provost are the continued growth of graduate programs, including the launch of our first doctoral program in Educational Leadership, his work on our strategic plan Sempre Avanti, and the establishment of the Quantitative Reasoning Center and the Writing Center. On a personal level, he has been a confidant, friend and wonderful colleague. I wish him nothing but the best in his new role,” LeMura said.
Marina has prior experience serving as dean of the School of Continuing Education at Providence College – where he also taught religious studies, assistant dean for the College of Science and Mathematics at Montclair State University, and assistant dean for Metropolitan College at St. John’s University, where he taught mathematics.
The University’s president-elect is currently a pastor of the Church of St. Francis Xavier and an associate pastor of the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, both in New York City. He is also a trustee at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y., and Canisius High School in Buffalo, N.Y., where he is chair of the board’s governance committee. He previously served on the boards of St. Thomas Aquinas College, Regis University, Canisius College, Xavier High School and Le Moyne College.
Marina has a Doctor of Philosophy in administration and supervision from Fordham University, a Master of Divinity and a Master of Theology from Boston College and a Master of Science in secondary education from St. John’s University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in physical sciences, with a theology minor.
Marina entered the Society of Jesus in 2004 and was ordained to the priesthood in 2012. His first trip to Scranton, he said, did not happen until he was 43 years old, when he accepted an invitation to speak to students at the University considering life as a Jesuit. That was also the first time he met his predecessor, Pilarz.
“I remember [Pilarz] saying to me, ‘Who knows. With any luck and with God’s grace, maybe after you finish your formation you’ll be able to join us here and serve at the University of Scranton,” Marina said. “It’s only now, in hindsight, that I can fully appreciate that profound comment.”
“I would like to speak to you now not as a candidate, but as a Jesuit. For the future of the University of Scranton and of Jesuit higher education in America, what’s most important to me is not whether you choose me, but that you choose the most qualified candidate. I’ll be praying for your discernment.”University of Scranton president-elect Rev. Joseph G. Marina, S.J.
The board’s decision to appoint Marina president comes after a six month-long national search for a new president, conducted by a broadly representative search committee that included trustees and representatives from the faculty, staff, student body, alumni and administration. University Trustee Kathleen Sprows Cummings, Ph.D. ‘93, chair of the search committee, shared Slattery’s gratitude for her team’s efforts.
“On behalf of the search committee, I want to say how pleased and excited we are that Father Marina has agreed to lead our beloved University,” Cummings said. “I am so very grateful to my colleagues on the committee for their thoughtfulness and dedication throughout the search process. Father Marina has our full and enthusiastic support as he prepares to begin his service this summer.”
During the University’s live broadcast, Cummings also shared a quote from Marina’s interview process, which she felt was a true testament to his character and enthusiasm.
“He had this to say: ‘I would like to speak to you now not as a candidate, but as a Jesuit. For the future of the University of Scranton and of Jesuit higher education in America, what’s most important to me is not whether you choose me, but that you choose the most qualified candidate. I’ll be praying for your discernment.'” Cummings said.