Jacquelyn Torres ‘10

New President’s Society Member Honored to be a “Face of the University”

Meet Jacquelyn Torres ‘10, 2009-10 President’s Society Member

This 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 process.

We invite you to meet, Jacquelyn Torres ’10, 2009-10 President’s Society member.

A Proud Ambassador of St. John’s: Jacquelyn Torres ‘10
Jacquelyn Torres faced some technical difficulties when transmitting her President’s Society application online. After some frantic phone calls to the Department of Information Technology, she managed to successfully send her application about a minute before it was due.

After several anxious weeks, she received word from her family that two letters had arrived from St. John’s. That day, she was participating in a community service project with her sorority, and would have to wait until late in the evening to open them. “I thought, ‘Did one say yes and one say no? Did they make a mistake?’”

Happily, both letters welcomed Jackie into the President’s Society. The other simply provided a schedule of events requiring her participation now that she had attained membership in this esteemed organization. “I couldn’t believe they selected me out of so many well qualified applicants,” she observed.

Jackie first heard about the President’s Society in the middle of her sophomore year. At the time, several of her friends were members, and her curiosity was piqued whenever she saw them don their blue suits for special events. “They would get dressed up and go out to these evening events, and I was really curious what it was all about.”

When Jackie learned that members of the President’s Society serve as ambassadors for St. John’s, she immediately saw this as a wonderful way to give back to the University that has given her a great deal. “I have received more than just an education. I’m coming out of the experience with so much more.”

A Life Oriented Toward Service

Jackie is no stranger to service. She attended Preston High School in the Bronx, where all students were committed to a certain amount of service hours that increased each year. It was there she learned that through serving others, she was also being served.

St. John’s was a perfect fit for Jackie. Already passionate about service, she has embraced the Vincentian mission wholeheartedly. Her goal has been to involve herself with projects that each reflects at least one pillar of the University’s Catholic, Metropolitan and Vincentian mission.

She joined Theta Phi Alpha, a sorority she describes as very service-driven. “Our mission is in line with Vincent’s. We choose to serve those who are less fortunate than ourselves.” She and other students in Greek Life recently represented St. John’s at Give Kids the World, a non-profit resort for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families, located in Kissimmee, FL.

Through her participation in St. John’s Leadership Development program, Jackie participated in the University’s New Orleans ‘service plunge’ to help restore houses devastated by Hurricane Katrina. There she spent time caulking, priming and painting homes and being present to families who have experienced catastrophic loss. She called the experience “life-changing,” and intends to go back.

Professors Always Ready to Help

An Elementary Education major, Jackie praised the faculty and staff of St. John’s for providing all the resources students need to excel. “I remember how welcomed I felt and how welcome I still feel. It’s not just a happy face when you walk in the door, but having all these resources and all these people actually caring about you throughout your four years here. It may seem unusual that a University cares this much, but it’s true.”

From the beginning, Jackie said, she has received vast amounts of personal support—from administrators, from her freshman advisor and from professors who have mentored her and continue to express their concern for her future both in and out of the classroom.

As a member of Student Government, Jackie has seen firsthand how getting involved and working on behalf of her fellow students can yield positive results. She recently contacted Student Services to inform them there were no breakfast meat options available for Muslim students. Now turkey bacon and turkey sausage have been added to the menu.

Having had such positive experiences at St. John’s, Jackie wanted to educate incoming freshmen about the array of opportunities available to them. Last year, she served as an Orientation leader, and this past summer as an orientation coordinator, working directly with orientation leaders.

“I love St. John’s,” she said. “I want to give incoming students the best possible impression. The first experience they get of St. John’s is through us and we have the power to make or break that experience. I want to make sure everyone feels welcome.”

Jackie feels that every student should become involved at whatever level he/she feels comfortable. However, “your experience is truly what you make of it. It’s all about finding who you are. I encourage everyone - whether it includes studying abroad, leading, serving others — to take advantage of what St. John’s has to offer.

“You take that first step and it opens up a whole new world.”