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Honoring Alumni Who Live the Mission

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The value of a St. John’s education is evident in the achievements of the University’s alumni.

As they have for more than 146 years, our graduates make a positive difference in their occupations and communities. Excelling professionally, they also follow the example of St. Vincent de Paul by dedicating time and talent to helping others—including current St. John’s students.

“While honoring alumni for their accomplishments, we are inspired by their example of living the values they have learned and experienced at St. John’s,” said Rev. Bernard M. Tracey, C.M. ’70C, Executive Vice President for Mission. “The Vincentian Mission is integral to who we are as a University community—for students as they pursue their degrees and after they join the ranks of our alumni.”

This past year, the University recognized 11 outstanding individuals with its most distinguished medals and awards, presented at the annual Alumni and Vincentian Convocations. “It’s our way of thanking those who carry our Vincentian mission and values into society,” Fr. Tracey added. “They are St. John’s.”

Alumni Convocation, May 29, 2015

President’s Medal

Catherine Robertson Camera ’65CBA exemplifies St. John’s Vincentian ideals of caring and compassion for others. She has served on the boards of Child Abuse Prevention Services, the FDNY Foundation, and The Peter J. Tobin College of Business Alumni Association. In 1998, she was named Director of St. John’s University’s Office of Alumni Relations; from 2002 to 2004, she served as Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations and Development. She recently retired as former COO of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation.

Pietas Medal

Harold J. Regan ’65CBA applied the Vincentian values he learned at St. John’s to his work in the business world. Following graduation, he began his career as Director of Personnel and Labor Relations at Rheingold Breweries, Inc. In 1974, he moved to the H.W. Wilson Company, where he remained until 2011, ultimately as President and CEO. He currently serves as President of the H.W. Wilson Foundation, which provides financial assistance to worthy causes.

Heritage Circle

Kevin F. Reed ’75C is retired from his leadership position as Managing Director at Citicorp Asset Management but continues applying his business acumen in serving others. He began his career in 1976 as an Equity Security Analyst at Standard and Poor’s Corporation, then as an Investment Analyst at New York Life Insurance Company before moving on to the predecessor firms of Citicorp Asset Management. In 2013, he was named to St. John’s Board of Governors. Reed also serves as a member of The Loughlin Society, is a contributor to the Red White Club, and mentors high school and college students.

James P. Riley Jr. ’74CBA, ’75MBA, ’03HON helps deserving young people to receive the educational opportunities that he experienced at St. John’s. President of the Riley Family Foundation and CEO of Riley Trading, he enjoyed a long career at Goldman Sachs, from which he retired in 2001 as Partner and Managing Director. He established St. John’s scholarships for graduates of Sacred Heart Academy, Catholic Big Sisters and Big Brothers, and the Children’s Aid Society. He also served as a member of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Institutional Advancement Committee of St. John’s Board of Trustees.

Fidelitas Award

Patricia Facciponte Durso ’75NDC and Lawrence J. Durso ’75NDC met while waiting for the bus to St. John’s University’s Staten Island campus. They both received degrees from St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences—Patricia with a bachelor’s in mathematics and Larry with one in history and politics. Patricia spent her professional life at Bankers Trust; Lawrence at Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo, and Morgan Stanley. Both are members of The Loughlin Society. Lawrence was President of the Staten Island Alumni Association, and Patricia is an active board member of Catholic Charities and Knots of Love.

International Medal

Salah Uddin Ahmed ’85GP, ’90Ph.D. frequently returns to St. John’s as a featured presenter at the Dr. Charles I. Jarowski Industrial Pharmacy Symposium. Ahmed is President and CEO of Abon Pharmaceuticals, LLC. He came to America after working in the field in Bangladesh and Libya. Named director of research and development at Barr Pharmaceuticals, Inc., he left in 2009 as Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Vice President of Global Research and Development. Embracing the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul, Ahmed financed the establishment in 2008 of a free school in rural Bangladesh.

Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award

John O. Brennan, Esq. ’90L has never forgotten his St. John’s roots. One of the original members of the University’s Board of Governors, he is now a member of St. John’s Board of Trustees. As an attorney, he first served as an Associate and Partner in private sector firms and later as Prosecutor and Village Attorney for the Village of Stewart Manor. Brennan is currently a partner in the firm of Ryan, Brennan & Donnelly LLP. He supports St. John’s as a member of The Loughlin Society and has been inducted into the University’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Vincentian Convocation Ceremony, October 1, 2015

Caritas Medal

Paul D. Lawless ’92L, and his wife, Marianne, are dedicated to making a difference. Their son, Connor, was born with craniosynostosis, which causes cognitive and developmental delays. Eight years ago, responding to challenges Connor faced at Sunday liturgies with the family, Paul and Marianne initiated a Special Needs Mass at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre, NY. Once each month, families with children possessing different abilities—and parishioners who show solidarity with them—gather for a special liturgy in the parish hall. Other parishes in the area now follow their example. Paul and Marianne also created a recreational event known as “Connor and Friends.”

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Medal

Mary Zeman ’10MLS earned her Master of Library Science degree at St. John’s through the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, which supports the career development of those likely to become leaders in the field. At the University, she became involved with outreach services that inspired her to help the culturally disadvantaged. She joined the Nassau County Correctional Center in 2009 as a Transitional Counselor and Librarian in the school program for incarcerated youth who have the opportunity to earn a high school diploma or GED. She immediately identified the need for these young men to have access to reading materials and education. Through donations from local schools and librarians, she built the jail’s collection of books.