St. John’s University alumni are exceptional in so many ways.
They have achieved personal and professional success in every
career and profession, and many have continued the spirit and
values that they learned at the University by embracing the
Vincentian commitment to the service of those in need.
Each year St. John’s honors a group of its most accomplished
graduates at the Annual
Alumni Convocation. At this year’s ceremony, held in St.
Thomas More Church on the Queens campus, 18 extraordinary alumni
were recognized with a variety of awards.
such honoree was Nickolas Davatzes ’62C, ’64G, ’95HON, who received
the Medal of Honor, which is the highest recognition St. John’s can
bestow upon an alumnus. Davatzes earned his B.A. in Economics in
1962 and his M.A. in Sociology in 1964, both from St. John’s
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Currently Chief Executive Emeritus at A&E Television Networks,
during his 22 year tenure as Chief Executive Officer he developed
channels and programs that are now available in more than 150
countries worldwide. He founded The History Channel, The Biography
Channel, The Military History Channel, The History Channel
International and The History Channel en espanol and initiated the
launch of The Crime and Investigation Network.
Not surprisingly, giving back to the University that means so much
to him has always been important to Davatzes.
Over the years this extremely generous and committed alumnus has
supported the University in numerous ways, both personally and
professionally. He served as Co-Chairperson of St. John’s 1993-1994
Annual Giving Campaign, has been a member of the University’s Board
of Trustees, established three endowed scholarships to provide
financial support for deserving students, served
as Co-Chairperson of the 2003
President’s Dinner and initiated the unique electronic biographies
for The President’s Dinner Spirit of Service Award honorees.
In addition, Davatzes and his wife [Dorothea Hayes Davatzes ‘66Ed]
support the University as members of The Founders Society and The
“St. John’s provided me with a frame of reference for life,” he
acknowledged. “I think that the
principles of leading a good Christian life by rendering service to
others were all developed for me at St. John’s. And then, of
course, St. John’s gave me the basis of my career. It also provided
me with my wife, who’s always been very important to me.”
The Medal of Honor is the most recent addition to the list of
awards that Davatzes has received from St. John’s. In recognition
of his outstanding loyalty and generosity, a grateful University
presented him with the Pietas Medal in 1989, conferred an honorary
Doctor of Commercial Science degree upon him in 1995, and honored
him with the President’s Medal in 2002.
For this extraordinary alumnus, receiving the Medal of Honor was a
reflection of the values that have been an important part of his
life since his earliest days at St. John’s.
“This award is important to me because it represents the
culmination of the kinds of activities that I’ve been involved in
at St. John’s and at other organizations,” he said. “Getting it
from a Vincentian institution is really important to me because of
the Vincentians’ commitment to service, which is something that my
wife and I believe in. But I have to say that it was a big
surprise. I never expected it, but I’ll always be grateful for
2012 Alumni Convocation Honorees included:
Medal of Honor
Nickolas Davatzes ’62C, ’64G, ’95HON
Doctor of Laws
Robert L. Turner ’62C, ’12HON
Doctor of Letters
Christopher Ruddy ’87C, ’12HON
Rev. Elmer Bauer III, C.M. ’02MBA
Barbara Black, D.P.S. ’62G
Michael J. McInerney ’72NDC
Patricia Connell Shea ’62Ed
Sister Mary Jean Tague, D.C. ’62P
James A. Tomlinson ’82SVC, ’91MBA
Nat Calamis ’72SVC
John P. McConville ’62L
Sister Catherine Mezzacapo, C.S.J. ’52Ed, ’56G
Frank J. Pannizzo ’59UC, ’62L
Alumni Outstanding Achievement
Vincent P. Colman ’82CBA
Thomas P.J. Duffy ’87CBA
James Gentilcore ’62CBA
Joseph R. Gentile ’87CBA, ’92MBA
Margaret M. Keane ’81C, ’87MBA