University of Scranton

04/03/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/03/2024 14:11

Familiar Names Honored in New Ways by University

Rev. Joseph Marina, S.J., President of The University of Scranton, announced that the Board of Trustees has approved the renaming of the Panuska College of Professional Studies to the "Leahy College of Health Sciences," and the renaming of the "Commons" and Faculty Student Research Program to the "Rev. J.A. Panuska, S.J., Commons" and the "Rev. J. A. Panuska, S.J., Faculty/Student Research Program," in honor of the late, longest-serving President in the University's history.

"Father Panuska's devotion to students was legendary, as was the University's growth under his leadership, and few if any Scranton graduates and benefactors can match the lifelong devotion that Ed Leahy and his wife, Patricia, have manifested over the decades," said Father Marina.

"Ed and Patricia Leahy have consistently answered the University's call for support from capital campaigns and annual giving to scholarship appeals and special projects. However, their philanthropic support is only part of the story. Throughout their lives, they have engaged with the University in impactful ways," said Father Marina. "Their leadership and participation in the annual Conference on Disability, as just one example, has made possible the presence of nationally and internally recognized speakers and scholars at the event."

Father Marina also noted that changing the title from "professional studies" to "health sciences" more accurately describes the mission and scope of the school, which offers degrees in physical and occupational therapy, nursing, healthcare administration, kinesiology and counseling.

"Since its founding in the mid-1980s as the College of Health, Education and Human Resources, and later Panuska College of Professional Studies, the College's academic offerings have increasingly coalesced around health science disciplines. The recent movement of the Education Department to the University's College of Arts and Sciences creates the opportunity for greater clarity of purpose," said Father Marina.

"During his 16-year tenure as President, Father Panuska is credited not only with a construction boom that added 15 buildings to the campus, but also for raising the caliber of our faculty from excellent teachers to teacher-scholars," said Father Marina, explaining the rational to remember and honor Father Panuska with the renaming of the Student/Faculty Research Program as well as the Commons, the stone pathway at the heart of campus that begins on Linden Street and Monroe Avenue and continues to North Webster Avenue. Three artworks, commissioned during Father Panuska's term as President, adorn the pathway: the sculpture of Christ the Teacher at the base of the Commons; the Metanoia of St. Ignatius at the midpoint; and the statue of Jacob and the Angel at the top of the hill on the Commons.

The University will celebrate the memory, life and contributions of the late Father Panuska and Edward and Patricia Leahy and their son, Edward, Jr., and at an event April 23 at 3:30 p.m. on campus, at which the University will officially formalize the naming of "Rev. J.A. Panuska, S.J., Commons," the "Rev. J. A. Panuska, S.J., Faculty/Student Research Program," and the "Leahy College of Health Sciences."

"Every day was a wonderment. This place opened the world to me." Edward R. Leahy about his education at The University of Scranton

Edward R. Leahy, of Scranton's Class of 1968, served as chair of the University's Board of Trustees. The University recognized his achievements and service through the Alumni Achievement Award for Distinguished and Exceptional Attainment, given in 1993, the Frank J. O'Hara Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008, and with an Honorary Degree, bestowed in 2001. In 2015, the University dedicated Edward R. Leahy Jr. Hall in honor of their late son. In 2023, he and Patricia received the University's President's Medal, which recognizes individuals who have achieved excellence in their fields and demonstrated extraordinary compassion for others, representing lifetime achievements that reflect the University's mission of Catholic and Jesuit excellence and service.

In 1988, the Leahys created the Edward P. Leahy Scholarship, in memory of Mr. Leahy's uncle, which awards scholarships to Scranton students annually. In 1994, in memory of their son, Edward, they created the Edward R. Leahy Jr. Endowment at the University, which is the largest single endowment at Scranton. That endowment has supported the Clinic for the Uninsured, which includes a medical clinic, physical therapy, occupational therapy, counseling and low vision clinics that help individuals who are most in need in Lackawanna County. A new agreement between the University and Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine will further expand the reach and services offered by the Leahy Medical Clinic. At the 2023 public launch of the University's "A Fire That Kindles Other Fires Campaign," Father Marina announced a $10 million gift from the Leahys, which is the largest single-donation in the University's history.

"Edward, who was a wonderful, happy child, with multiple disabilities, passed away in 1993, just before his ninth birthday. Throughout his short life, Edward was helped enormously by doctors, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, and many other health professionals." Edward R. Leahy

The naming of the "Leahy College of Health Science" will honor the life and memory of their son, Edward R. Leahy, Jr., and acknowledge Ed and Patricia's lifelong commitment to and support of The University of Scranton.

"What we do here is like a pebble dropped in the sea; the effects spread, the waves grow. . . . I dream of the growth of the Scranton wave through the education of students who are not only fully qualified to succeed competitively, but who know that they have brothers and sisters all over the world. I dream of seeing our excellent faculty enabled to spend even more time with our students and with their research, of seeing our community spirit intensified so that alienation is truly alien to our life, of seeing Jesuit-lay collegiality as a full reality. . . . We can dream because we are the children of God, endowed with His power. Of course, dreams are not fulfilled by dreaming, but by planning and by hard work." Rev. J.A. Panuska.

The late Rev. Joseph Allan Panuska, S.J., served for 16 years as The University of Scranton's 22nd President, from July 1, 1982, until July 1, 1998. He became the University's first President Emeritus and was affectionately known as "Papa Bear" by members of the University Community.

The Francis and Elizabeth Redington Hall, built in 1985, was Father Panuska's first major addition to campus, followed quickly by William J. Byron Recreation Complex in 1986, and Gavigan Hall in 1989. The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Memorial Library, built in 1992, and the McDade Center for the Literary and Performing Arts, built in 1993, were among the buildings added to the campus during Father Panuska's tenure as President.

During Father Panuska's presidency, the University's academic reputation and reach expanded throughout the Northeast and Middle Atlantic states, while continuing a strong commitment to local students. U.S. News & World Report first recognized Scranton among the nation's best universities, and the tradition of students earning Fulbright Scholarships and other prestigious academic awards began.

In 2004, Father Panuska returned to The University of Scranton's Campus Ministries Office, devoting particular attention to providing spiritual direction and programming for University staff. He died in 2017 at the age of 89.