A series of events leading to the Jesuits taking on both the administration and ownership of the University of Scranton occurred 72 years ago this week. At the time, the Christian Brothers were running the U, but with the almost daily drop in enrollment after December 7, 1941, at higher education institutions throughout the country due to young men joining the military, plus debt problems, the Brothers felt they needed to devote their time, talents and energies to La Salle College, which the order owned. According to Homer, Holy Cross Fathers politely declined the offer of running the U; Bishop Hafey then turned to the Society of Jesus which within a few months, agreed to the challenge. The Provincial, the Very Rev. James P. Sweeney, S.J. noted in his acceptance letter, “…St. Ignatius was never one to run away from a difficult proposition and we are supposed to imitate his example.” “The Brothers had begun virtually from scratch with a mere eighteen students; forty-five years later they left a University with a growing body of loyal alumni, a strong reservoir of community support, and, not least of all, a singularly dedicated lay faculty already developing a solid reputation for teaching excellence.” Thank you Christian Brothers and Thank you to the Society of Jesus for all your good work in leading the University of Scranton. Let us carry on in our studies to make U proud.
Homer, Frank X.J. “The End of an Era: 1940-1942.” The Scranton Journal. Spring 1988: 6-9. Print.