Third-Career Graduate Student Follows His Passion to St. John’s
Fifty-three year-old Antonio Munoz ‘s’12 D.A. road to becoming a
history graduate student at St. John’s University reads like a
screenplay. His academic accomplishments exemplify not only the
importance of determination, but also how the University makes it
possible for students with work, family and other responsibilities
to pursue a higher education.
Doctor of Arts Program in Modern World History was designed to
accommodate people like Tony who want to pursue a second career,”
Dolores Augustine, Ph.D., Professor of History. “We
deliberately made it part-time to give students the flexibility
they need to balance their commitments.”
Antonio’s journey began when he moved to the Bronx from Cuba at the
age of eight. His love for history first took root when he was in
grade school and it has never wavered. Although he
decided to join the Marines after high school, he didn’t lose his
interest in learning about history, an interest that started to
center on World Wars I and II and general military history.
His stint in the Marines gave Antonio the ability to attend college
free on the GI Bill. After studying x-ray technology and pursuing a
career as a hospital x-ray technician for many years, he decided
the time had come to follow his real passion. He earned his B.A.
and M.A. in history at Queens College and in 2008, he entered St.
John’s Doctor of Arts Program in Modern World History.
“I wanted to come here for many reasons,” said Antonio. “There’s
the diversity of the student body, the faculty’s reputation for
being very supportive — a critical factor for graduate students
—and the chance to earn a DA degree. I was attracted by the
program’s interdisciplinary approach and its emphasis on preparing
students for a teaching career.”
Antonio’s expectations have been met and exceeded at St. Johns. “My
department has made me feel welcome from the very beginning,” he
said. “My mentor, Dr. Augustine, has always supported and
encouraged me. In particular, she has helped me take advantage of
professional opportunities like presenting my doctoral research at
“Tony’s findings on the role of the German Secret Police in the
Holocaust are making significant contributions to the study of
World War II,” Dr. Augustine observed. “In addition, because he is
fluent in German, Tony has been able to incorporate controversial
historical information that until now has remained virtually
unknown and is filling in gaps in our knowledge of military
history. “He will be a wonderful teacher who is able to bring his
love of history to the classroom,” she said.
Antonio is committed to becoming a college professor and sharing
his academic knowledge as well as the wisdom he’s gained through
experience. “I want to tell my students they should never let
anyone dissuade them from pursuing their goals. I want to use my
example to show them that persistence pays off. I have never been
happier and more content than I am right now.”