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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Pilarz accepts new president role at Maryland high school
Father Scott Pilzarz. Photo by Aaron Ledesma/[email protected]

A week after Georgetown Preparatory School in Maryland announced that former Marquette University President the Rev. Scott Pilarz will take over as its next president, the school’s board of trustees is not commenting on whether it communicated with Marquette about Pilarz’ departure.

Pilarz will take the helm as Georgetown Prep president July 1, following the board’s unanimous vote after a nine-month search.

“At this time, Georgetown Prep kindly declines to discuss our past presidential search,” said Patrick Coyle, Georgetown Prep’s director of marketing & communications, in an email.

Five days after it was announced that Pilarz was leaving Marquette, though, he told the Marquette community in an email that he wished to pursue other opportunities in his work as a Jesuit outside of being a president.

“For example, I desire to do more pastoral work than I have been able to do as a president,” Pilarz said in the Sept. 25 letter. “I also want to do more teaching, research and writing.”

Pilarz also said in the email that he believes “Marquette needs a president who is willing to commit to working wholeheartedly on a comprehensive capital campaign over a five to seven year period. Given my other hopes and desires, I am not in a position to do that now.”

The Georgetown Prep presidential job description, however, said the candidate should “excel at and enjoy the role of fundraiser — including entertaining and traveling to cultivate distant members of the Prep community.” The preferred application date for the Georgetown Prep job was Oct. 1, just 10 days after the university said Pilarz was resigning.

Upon hearing the news of Pilarz’ new job, Brian Dorrington, senior director of university communication, did not comment about the former Marquette president’s departure or any possible inconsistencies with him taking the job.

“We saw the news regarding Father Pilarz’s new role with Georgetown Prep when the school posted it earlier this week,” Dorrington said in an email. “We are thankful for Father Pilarz’s accomplishments at Marquette and wish him well in his new position.”

The Tribune called nine members of the Board of Trustees concerning Pilarz’ departure in the fall, three of which redirected inquires to Charles Swoboda, the chairman and spokesperson for the board. The Tribune also tried contacting Swoboda directly, leaving multiple voicemails at his home, none of which were returned.

When the Tribune asked the Office of Marketing and Communication several times to set up an interview with Swoboda, all the requests were denied.

In a March 11 letter to the Georgetown Prep community, Board of Trustees Chairman Thomas Boyland called Pilarz an “outstanding, teacher and leader” and pointed to his tenure leading both Marquette and the University of Scranton eight years prior as evidence. He also mentioned Pilarz’ place on St. Joseph University’s Board of Trustees.

“I look forward to working with Prep’s excellent faculty and staff to challenge, support, and care for Prep’s students as they develop into accomplished scholars, athletes, artists, men of faith and generous citizens in their communities,” Pilarz said in a news release. “I am eager to work with the entire Prep community to ensure Prep’s continued success as an outstanding school, enhance its Ignatian spirituality, and ensure a vibrant Prep for future generations.”

Interim University President the Rev. Robert A. Wild took over for Pilarz in October after preceding him in the role from 1996-2011. The university also formed the presidential search committee, led by board of trustees member John Ferraro, in October, which is still conducting its search. The search committee said March 10 that it is continuing its vetting process for semi-finalist candidates.

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    bubbaMar 18, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Pilarz is an east coast guy and it seems pretty clear he just flat out didn’t like the midwest all that much. As I see it it’s as simple as that. Also, it was no secret that Marqutte was always going to be a brief stop along the way to his ultimate goal, which is to become the next President of Georgetown University. Their Prez is going to retire in the next couple of years, and Pilarz would obviously be a top candidate as a both a former university president and alum. This role at the Prep school brings him one step closer to that. He was a terrific leader and it’s a shame he left as soon as he did, but I don’t think anyone close to the situation realistically expected him to be at Marquette for more than 3-5 years max. The board was well aware of this when they hired him