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University of Scranton Celebrating 125 Years

This is an important year for the University of Scranton as the school is celebrating its 125th anniversary.
The University of Scranton is marking an important milestone in its history this year.

The school is celebrating its 125th anniversary and it kicked things off with a special mass Thursday morning.

Back in 1888, the first bishop of the Diocese of Scranton blessed a block of granite, without any students, faculty or money to build a college.

Now, more than 6,000 students are enrolled in more than 60 undergraduate majors and concentrations.

It was standing room only inside the Byron Recreation Center as hundreds joined together in prayer.

The current campus is a place that even current students have seen grow by leaps-and-bounds over just the last few years.

"They just put up the DeNaples Center not that long ago, the science center, they're working on the physical therapy building. It's going to be big so hopefully it keeps expanding," junior Shannon Browne said.

As Bishop Joseph Bambera celebrated Thursday's mass, front-and-center was a single block of granite which became the cornerstone of what was called Saint Thomas College back in 1888. It was blessed by then-Bishop William O'Hara.

"He had no funding in 1888 and was able to scrape together enough money to build Old Main," University of Scranton president Kevin Quinn said.

Today, 125 years later, what the University of Scranton has become has grown into the target of some people, including members of Scranton city council.

They claim the university is not paying its fair share and has expanded past its original footprint.

There was no mention of any of that controversy on this special day.

"A great deal of the university property was property that was in disrepair and had the university not acquired it, it would still be on the tax rolls but no taxes would be coming from it," university historian Dr. Frank Homer said. "I think most people understand that the economic impact of the university has been almost all positive."

While the University of Scranton started off as a college to educate the sons of local miners and mill workers, it has now grown into an institution known for its programs around the nation and even the world.

"I wanted a five-year program for occupational therapy and this offered all five years without having to go someplace else," junior Shannon Glanton said.
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