January 16, 2009
Joseph A. McNeil, LL.D. Hon. retired Major General in the
Air Force Reserves and the Federal Aviation Administration, and an
important figure in U.S. civil rights history is a featured speaker
on Monday, January 26 during St. John’s 15th Annual Founder’s Week
Celebration. His presentation, “Transformation: Vision and Values,”
will take place at the University’s “Little Theater” on the Queens
Campus at 4:30 p.m., and at the St. John’s Staten Island Campus on
January 27 at 11:00 a.m. in the Kelleher Center. Reservations to
attend the lecture can be made by e-mail at email@example.com or by calling
Mr. McNeil will speak about the role he played in American civil
rights history and reflect on the transformation we are undergoing
as a nation as we inaugurate the 44th American President, the first
of Kenyan-American ancestry. There will be time for questions
after the presentation.
Maj. Gen. McNeil is a man of great honor and integrity. Before his
military career he played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights
Movement. As a freshman at North Carolina A&T State
University in 1960, Mr. McNeil and three other students staged a
sit-in at a F.W. Woolworth lunch counter that served “whites
only”. These four students became known as the “Greensboro
From this historic protest at one counter in a Woolworth in
Greensboro, North Carolina; their cause grew across the South like
a wildfire. The group of four swelled to 75,000 students who
participated in staged demonstrations in 54 cities across the
South. This group became known as the Student Non-Violent
Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Martin Luther King, Jr. called
the sit-ins a “turning point” in civil rights history.
After graduation, Mr. McNeil went on to have a distinguished career
within the Air Force branch of the United States
military. He has received major awards and
decorations during his time of service including the Combat
Readiness Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Humanitarian
Service Medal, and the Vietnam Service Medal with Silver Star just
to name a few.
Mr. McNeil is currently a member of the Advisory Board for St.
John’s University College of Pharmacy and Allied Health
Professions. He also received an Honorary Doctor of Laws
degree from St. John’s University in 1998.
The theme for the 15th annual Founder’s Week is “Vincentian
Transformation: Changing HEARTS; Creating PEACE.
Founder’s Week is scheduled for January 25th-February 4th with
various events on the Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan, Oakdale,
Rome, Italy and Paris, France campus locations. Founder’s
Week is an opportunity for the University community to deepen its
understanding and commitment to the Vincentian mission and
tradition of St. John’s University.
A complete calendar of events for Founder’s Week at St. John’s can
be found by visiting the University website at www.stjohns.edu/foundersweek.
For more information on this event and Founder’s Week please
contact Mary Ann Dantuono, Associate Director for the Vincentian
Center for Church and Society, by calling (718) 990-6758 or by
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reservations for the Staten Island event may be made by calling
Professor Ellen Boegel (718) 390-4126. Media inquires can be
directed to Dominic Scianna, Assistant Vice President for Media
Relations at St. John’s, by calling (718) 990-6185 or by email at
For more information on St. John's please visit the University
website at www.stjohns.edu/news.