September 23, 2009
private ceremony held at St. John’s University’s Queens campus
today, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi witnessed formally
the conferral of his daughter Eleonora’s college degree presented
by Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M., President of St. John’s
University at St. Thomas More Church.
“We are honored that Eleonora and the Berlusconi family chose
St. John’s University for her education,” said Rev. Harrington,
C.M. “We were proud to confer the degree of Bachelor of Science in
Business Management to Eleonora in front of her father in a private
ceremony, and also welcome her into the ranks of our more than
150,000 alumni who come from all across the United States and the
Prime Minister Berlusconi was in New York for the
64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly this
week and came to the Queens campus for a tour of his daughter’s
university. And, because Eleonora had completed her undergraduate
studies in The Peter J. Tobin College of Business in August, St.
John’s agreed to confer her degree before her father at this
arriving on the St. John’s campus after speaking at the U.N. late
this afternoon, Prime Minister Berlusconi was greeted by his
daughter, Eleonora, dressed in her graduation gown as her father’s
motorcade rolled up to the Queens campus. There he was also greeted
by Rev. Harrington, C.M. and Thomas McInerney, Chair of St. John’s
Board of Trustees, as the procession began to St. Thomas More
Church for the private ceremony.
Speaking of his appreciation to St. John’s for making his
daughter feel welcome and a part of their family for the past four
years, Prime Minister Berlusconi pledged to spread the good word as
an ambassador for the university, not only in his native Italy
(where St. John’s currently has a campus location in the Prati
district of Rome) but wherever his travels take him.
“St. John’s is the paradigm for other universities to lead the
way to reach the highest levels of education,” said Prime Minister
Berlusconi. “Only with the highest levels of education can people
make great contributions toward the common good.”
brief reception, Eleonora led a walking tour of the St. John’s
Queens campus and showed her doting father the residence village
where she lived, academic buildings where she studied, the Great
Lawn which overlooks the University Library and new campus
facilities like the D’Angelo Center, a 5-story, 127,000 square foot
academic and student-centered structure.
The private ceremony was also attended by Italian dignitaries
traveling with the Prime Minister, friends of Eleonora Berlusconi,
St. John’s Board of Trustees, St. John’s senior administrators and
select members of the University community.
“Now my daughter has two fathers,” Prime Minister Berlusconi
quipped at the conclusion of the ceremony. “Dr. Berlusconi and
Father Harrington of St. John’s.”
Media representatives can obtain photos and video from the event
by contacting Dominic Scianna, Assistant Vice President for Media
Relations, at (718) 990-6185 or e-mail inquires to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For late breaking news and information regarding St. John’s
visit the University web site at www.stjohns.edu/news.