May 12, 2007
Staten Island, N.Y.
The Honorable R. James Nicholson Highlights Staten
Island Commencement Ceremony
St. John’s celebrated its 137th Commencement Weekend in fine
style on Saturday, May 12 at the University’s Staten Island Campus
before an overflow crowd of approximately 400 graduates and more
than 2,000 family members, friends and faculty.
R. James Nicholson, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, gave
the Commencement Address and had a simple, yet meaningful message
for the graduates to take home with them on their blessed day.
“If I can leave you, my fellow classmates, with three important
words to remember today they would be persistence, prayer and
service,” Nicholson said. “The value of being persistent and
hanging in there when the going gets tough, the power and strength
of prayer and the deep satisfaction in service to others are the
things I feel most deeply about in drawing experiences from my own
life to pass along to you.”
J. Harrington, C.M., President of St. John’s University
conferred honorary degrees to Secretary Nicholson (Doctor of Laws)
along with fellow dignitaries: the Most Reverend Robert J.
Cunningham, the 13th Bishop of Ogdenburg, and Sr. Judith Garson,
R.S.C.J., Executive Director of Little Sisters of the Assumption
Family Health Services, who both received Doctor of Human Letters
In turn, Rev. Harrington, C.M. spoke in his welcome to the Class
of 2007 about the legacy of St. John’s University, the pride that
is associated with finishing a rigorous academic career and the
challenges that await each graduate as they leave college life.
“You, our graduates, have worked hard and today that hard work
bears wonderful fruit. Today you become forever a part of the
137-year tradition of this great University,” Rev. Harrington, C.M.
said. “Be faithful to that tradition, make a difference in the
world and never forget those who will follow you.”
Christopher Dekki, member of the President’s Society and Class
of 2007 graduate from the St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and
Sciences, gave the Student Address.
The ceremony was held on University’s Great Lawn and was the
first of two Commencements to occur this weekend. On Sunday
May 13 at 12:30 p.m., St. John’s University’s Queens Campus will
confer degrees to approximately 2,577 undergraduate and graduate
students. Highlights include George
Stephanopoulos, ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent, who
will be on hand to give the Commencement Address and receive an
honorary degree (Doctor of Laws) along with his father, Rev. Robert
Stephanopoulos (Doctor of Sacred Theology), Dr. Norman C. Francis
(Doctor of Laws) and Patricia Shea (President’s Medal).
For more information contact Dominic Scianna, Director of Media
Relations at St. John’s University by calling (718) 990-6185 or
e-mailing inquiries to email@example.com. For
information about St. John’s visit the University web site at www.stjohns.edu/news.