History Professor Dermot Quinn celebrated the publication of his latest book, “Seton Hall University: A History, 1856-2006,” in Bethany Hall on May 1.
Quinn, who is also the director of graduate studies, said he researched the history of Seton Hall for the past 25 years. “This is an extremely interesting place, and it has been extremely interesting to write about it,” he said. “Seton Hall has had a long history and this volume, in a small way, is part of it, maybe even a microcosm of a larger story.”
“If one good thing has come of this book, it is that I have never since refused a student who’s asked for an extension,” Quinn said in reference to how long it took him to write the university’s history.
English Professor Jonathan Farina, the host of the event, said that Quinn’s book was “first and only scholarly history of Seton Hall University.”
University President Dr. Joseph E. Nyre was invited to the event but was unable to make it. However, a video message was played where he spoke of Seton Hall’s history and recent achievements.
“Thanks to professor Quinn and Monsignor Sheeran, the Seton Hall story will never be lost to history,” Nyre said. “Rather we have a book that is engaging, wise, insightful and faithful.”
The SHU President Emeritus Monsignor Robert Sheeran spoke as well, recounting the story of how he asked professor Quinn to work on the book in the mid-1990s. He said Seton Hall “deserved a serious history” that was “scholarly and ambitious.”
When asked who would write such a history, Sheeran said there was “little question,” suggesting Quinn.
“I found that he was always one of the very best and most eloquent writers here on campus, and we have a lot of good writers,” Sheeran said. “But very few have the caliber of Dermot Quinn.”
Quinn spoke after Monsignor Sheeran, as he discussed being asked to write the book and gave an abbreviated history of Seton Hall as a summary.
“The reality is the story of Seton Hall is the history of everything,” Quinn said. “Seton Hall has made mistakes, of course, but a century and half after its time, it is still here.”
Quinn also joked about what he realized during his research. “If Seton Hall was ever on late night television, it would be a mixture of ‘Friends,’ ‘Cheers’ and the ‘Odd Couple,’” he said.
Quinn also had a book signing after his speech, as copies of his book were being sold during the event.
“Seton Hall University: A History, 1856-2006” was published in Feb. 2023, and covers both the university’s history as well as recounting stories from individuals such as past presidents, priests, faculty, staff and students. It is currently on sale on Amazon and Rutgers University Press.
Dareen Abukwaik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.