Marquette's new president greets students
Marquette has new presidentPhoto: Video by tmj4.com
MILWAUKEE - With his distinctively deep voice, Fr. Scott Pilarz, S.J. said he is ready to embrace Wisconsin, including the Packers and Brewers. Pilarz left the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania for his new post in Milwaukee.
"I threw out all of my Philadelphia Phillies stuff and Eagles stuff and I'm ready to embrace the local culture," Pilarz told TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray.
While Marquette University's 52-year-old new leader greeted incoming freshman with a smile on dorm move-in day, he takes over a school that's faced recent serious criticism and controversy.
Protests erupted in 2010 when Marquette rescinded a dean position offer to an openly-gay educator after her published writing on lesbian sex surfaced. Pilarz said homosexuality would not disqualify a candidate for a top leadership position.
"Absolutely not," Pilarz said. "This is an inclusive campus. Of course, we want administrators who want to help us sustain and enhance the Catholic and Jesuit mission of the institution, but we're an inclusive campus."
Just last semester, the university came under fire for not reporting sexual assault claims involving student athletes to Milwaukee police.
"There already have been changes, when you talk about university policy, things have shifted significantly," Pilarz said. "We take the safety of our students very seriously."
While Pilarz is sure to face his own set of challenges. He calls his new job a tremendous opportunity.
"I'm going to be here for a long time," he said. It's tremendously exciting to see the university community come back to life.”
Pilarz is Marquette's 23rd president.