Inaugural festivities get underway

The Rev. Scott Pilarz will be inaugurated as the 23rd president of Marquette University Friday at 10 a.m. in the Al McGuire Center. But in the week leading up to his inauguration, several campus events will happen in the next few days.

The first official event, a student retreat with Pilarz, was held Monday as an opportunity for students to pray and discuss new beginnings.

Today, Norris Park will be dedicated at 4 p.m. as a new recreational space on campus. The event, titled “Green Fest,” is co-sponsored by Marquette University Student Government.

Janice Welburn, dean of the university library and member of the University Leadership Council, said the dedication of this space has been in the works longer than the inaugural events.

Thursday, an inaugural mass will be presided over by the Most Rev. Jerome E. Listecki, Archbishop of Milwaukee, at 3:30 p.m. at the Gesu Church, with a reception to follow at Eckstein Hall. The homily will be given by the Rev. Ryan J. Maher, associate dean and director of Catholic studies at Georgetown University, Welburn said.

Dr. Stephanie Quade, dean of students, has worked at Marquette for more than 20 years and has been to similar events and inaugurations in the past.

“(The inauguration) is a great chance to get connected with the traditions of Marquette,” Quade said.

More than 100 delegates, including presidents from universities all over the country will attend the inauguration.

Carolyn Forché, director of the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice at Georgetown University, will serve as the keynote speaker.

Alex Johnson, a senior in the College of Communication, was selected to be a student speaker at the inauguration.

Johnson and Quade said the inauguration is an important event for students because Pilarz will establish himself on campus.

“He will really be outlining his vision for Marquette,” Quade said.

A luncheon celebration will follow the ceremony at Westowne Mall and the Alumni Memorial Union, featuring tours of university landmarks such as St. Joan of Arc Chapel. The reception will feature live music, food and entertainment.

Welburn serves as the chair of the steering committee for the inauguration.

“You know, it’s like a block party,” Welburn said. “A big block party. We want to keep it fun, and Father Pilarz wants to keep it fun.”

The inauguration’s theme – “Reflect, Imagine, Transform” – was pulled from an address the Rev. Adolfo Nicolas, superior general of the Society of Jesus, gave in 2010 in regard to the challenges Jesuit schools are facing, Welburn said.

Classes are cancelled Friday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. so students can attend the inauguration. Welburn encouraged all students to attend.

“This is a great time for the university,” Welburn said. “This is a time to celebrate … I don’t think the students will have another opportunity to experience an inaugural event like this.”