August 03, 2009
spring, 29 new members were inducted into St. John’s University’s
President’s Society. This most prestigious organization is made up
of students whose scholarship, integrity and maturity are
accompanied by leadership skills demonstrated by their significant
contribution to the extracurricular life at St. John’s.
Founded in 1968 to showcase the “best and brightest” among the
student body during a tumultuous time when the national perception
of college students was vastly negative, the President’s Society
still represents all that is best in St. John’s students.
The new Society members — 19 female and 10 male — are now
considered staff in the office of University President Rev. Donald
J. Harrington, C.M. During the upcoming year, they will typically
attend 15-20 presidential functions, acting as hosts for honored
guests who might include world or national leaders, Board members,
industry titans, and St. John’s alumni and friends.
Interested students apply for membership in the Society in their
third year and serve during their fourth year. Three equally
important criteria are considered: academic achievement (generally
a 3.5 grade average); a comprehensive knowledge of the University
and an ability to articulate it fluently; and sustained leadership
within the University that includes service both on and off St.
John’s campuses. Members are selected by a committee of University
administrators after an intensive application and interview
We invite you to meet Hadia Sheerazi, 2009-10 President’s Society
“St. John’s Mission Woven Into My Being”:
Hadia Sheerazi ‘10
If a movie were to be made about St. John’s outstanding students,
Hadia Sheerazi, a St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
senior, with a double major in
government and politics and
economics, would surely be given a leading role.
“I’ve succeeded here because everyone — faculty, administrators,
Campus Ministry — has wanted me to succeed,” Hadia explained. “So,
how could I not? They’re the best cheerleaders in the world, and
they’ve invested in me from the very beginning, when I
was awarded a full scholarship.”
Today, Hadia is sharing the highlights of her St. John’s experience
which have resulted in her being inducted into St. John’s
President’s Society — the University’s highest honor. The Society
selects students who combine excellence in scholarship, outstanding
service and exceptional leadership activities. Hadia’s
extracurricular, service and leadership experience is so varied
that it is hard to understand how she has managed to maintain her
overall 3.94 GPA.
A Perfect Fit
“I am a product of the University,” said Hadia. “The mission is
interwoven into my very being. My college experience is intimately
connected to St. John’s commitment to being Catholic, Vincentian
Hadia first learned about St. John’s while researching colleges
from her family home in Karachi, Pakistan. The opportunities to
grow and excel sparked her interest. “I was looking for a big
school with top academics, an honors program and a law
The choice seems to have been a win-win for both Hadia and St.
Leadership and Service for All
Hadia’s extracurricular activities are a blend of academic- and
student-centered organizations. Along with her demanding schedule
in the University’s Honors Program, she participates in the
prestigious Ronald H. Brown Pre-Law Summer Prep Program, an
intensive two-month summer program that prepares undergraduates for
entry into law school. It is targeted to underrepresented law
school student populations.
Hadia credits the “amazing” support she has received from faculty
and administrators in suggesting extracurricular opportunities that
have been especially helpful in her development and growth.
For example, Rosa Yen, Associate Director of Leadership Development
and Multicultural Affairs, inspired Hadia to join, such
organizations as the Future Alumni Association, where she is now
President; the Mock Trial Team, which has taught her how to think
“preemptively”; and the Institute for Writing Studies, where she
worked her way up to making presentations nationwide to other
schools on the role of university writing centers.
Hadia received the Northeast Writing Center Association Scholarship
Award for these presentations. Separately, Hadia has also found
time for another favorite activity—serving as Editor-in-Chief of
the Honors Program’s research journal. “One of the best days of my
life,” she added, “was when I was tapped as Head Skull by St.
John’s College’s Skull and Circle Honor Society — St. John’s
College’s oldest honor society that recognizes students for
academic excellence and well-rounded extracurricular
In addition, through the Ronald Brown Program, Hadia won a
much-coveted legal externship at Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s
office, which she describes as “a dream come true.”
Deepening Faith through Service and
One of her most powerful and life-changing experiences at St.
John’s occurred while she was taking an introductory course on the
Law School’s Elder Law Clinic when she learned about the plight of
an elderly Alzheimer’s client whose savings were taken by a
“I decided then that I have a responsibility as an able-bodied
member of society to help those who cannot help themselves.” She
added, “my work with the elderly has reinforced my passion for the
law and for being an advocate for people who are
Equally influential was her tenure as a member of Vincent and
Louise House — the University’s community service living residence.
As the only Muslim member of Vincent and Louise House, Hadia found
“tremendous acceptance,” which she attributes to St. John’s
exemplary tolerance for religious diversity.
“What I particularly love about St. John’s is that I always feel
like I am home. As a Muslim, I have blended in without having to
sacrifice my identity and my faith has been nourished. I also enjoy
hosting services at St. Thomas More Church which I attend with my
friends on Sunday.”
We invite you to visit our admission pages, so you can learn more
about the St. John’s experience.