Seventh Founders Society Induction Ceremony and Dinner Recognizes Six Generous Benefactors
The Founders Society of St. John’s University held its Seventh Induction Ceremony and Dinner on Tuesday, May 30, and provided the University with an opportunity to welcome new alumni and friends whose gifts and pledges provide the University with resources to enhance opportunities, teaching, and learning.
More than 70 guests attended the event, which took place in midtown Manhattan. The Founders Society recognizes the University’s most exceptional supporters. Members have provided or pledged cumulative gifts of $1 million or more to St. John’s during their lifetimes.
President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D., remarked at the induction ceremony, “Since 2002, the St. John’s community has gathered in a spirit of celebration and gratitude for an extraordinary group of benefactors. Through their generosity, the alumni and friends who are members of The Founders Society have made a transformative impact on the University and our students.”
Members of The Founders Society, Dr. Gempesaw added, demonstrate an unparalleled dedication to the University’s ideals. “In 1870,” he observed, “our Vincentian founders established St. John’s to provide a Catholic higher education for students from all backgrounds, regardless of their financial circumstances. Founders Society members help to keep this enduring mission possible.”
Christian Vaupel, Ed.D., Vice President for Advancement and University Relations, also addressed the guests. Reflecting on the qualities that distinguish The Founders Society’s members, Dr. Vaupel said that “what really makes them stand out from the crowd is the reality that their lives are an unmistakable reflection of the spirit and values of St. Vincent de Paul.”
During the ceremony, Dr. Gempesaw presented each Founders Society inductee with a crystal keepsake inscribed with the following quote from St. Vincent: “God makes use of the humblest instruments for the extraordinary operation of His grace.” The six new members who were inducted include:
Jeanne K. (’70Ed, ’80MBA) and Paul M. Carroll ’69CBA, ’71MBA, ’79APC, ’17HON
Supporters of the annual President’s Dinner, the Carrolls are members of St. John’s Loughlin and McCallen Societies. They were honored with the Fidelitas Award in 2010, and Mr. Carroll received an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science degree in 2017. A member of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Carroll is incoming Chair of the Board of Governors and The Loughlin Society’s Benefactors Council.
Hon. P. Kevin Castel ’72SVC, ’75L, ’04HON
A recipient of St. John’s President’s Medal (2000) and an honorary Doctor of Law degree (2004), Judge Castel has provided the support to create the St. John’s School of Law’s Federal Scholars Program.
John P. “Jack” Clarke, Esq. ’55CBA, ’57L
Along with the Outstanding Faculty Medal (1986, 2009), Prof. Clarke has received the Pietas Medal (2005) and Spirit of Service Award (2013). A member of The Loughlin and The McCallen Societies, he has established scholarships in The Peter J. Tobin College of Business and in St. John’s School of Law.
Kathy and Cary Fields ’86HON
Mr. and Mrs. Fields support many philanthropic causes, including the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, Children’s Life Saving Foundation, and Make-a-Wish Foundation of America. They established the Fields Professorship in St. John’s School of Law in 1986 and are avid supporters of Red Storm athletics.
Anissa Mitrano Shannon (’89SVC, ’91Ed) and James J. Shannon ’87CBA
Members of The Loughlin Society, the Shannons received the Spirit of Service Award at the 2015 President’s Dinner. A past member of St. John’s Board of Governors (2012–15), Mr. Shannon has served on the Board of Trustees since 2015. Together, Mr. and Mrs. Shannon established family scholarships at Archbishop Molloy High School (NY) and at St. John’s.
Valerie L., Ph.D. (’49CBA) and Gerard A. Sodano ’49CBA, posthumously
Members of The Loughlin and McCallen Societies, the Sodanos made significant leadership gifts to St. John’s. In 1995, Dr. Sodano was honored with the President’s Medal. The Sodanos received the Pietas Medal (1999) and Fidelitas Award (2004). At the 2017 President’s Dinner, they were recognized, posthumously, with the Spirit of Service Award.
In addition to honoring the inductees, Dr. Gempesaw presented a special gift to Very Rev. Michael J. Carroll, C.M. ’09HON, who was completing his term as Provincial Superior, Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission, and Vice Chair of St. John’s Board of Trustees.
During his tenure as Provincial, Fr. Carroll worked to strengthen the Vincentian order by enhancing recruitment efforts and establishing a strong Formation Program. His 16 years of service to St. John’s University included responsibilities as Vice President for Campus Ministry and the Rome Campus, and later as Executive Vice President for Mission and Branch Campuses.