May 23, 2011
After they graduated from St. John’s University 50 years ago,
the Class of 1961 set out to make their own unique mark on the
world. Those graduates became doctors, lawyers, scholars, writers
and a wide variety of other professions as they pursued their
individual goals and dreams.
Order prints from Snapfish
But through all their divergent paths, one characteristic has
remained the same between them: a deep connection to St. John’s,
and that commitment shone through at this year’s Jubilarian Society
event honors those who are celebrating or have celebrated the 50th
anniversary of their graduation from St. John’s and includes a mass
and dinner and a special recognition to the Class of 1961.
“It’s absolutely fantastic to get together like this and chat
with guys I haven’t seen in a long time,” said Joseph Fabrizi ’61C.
“I was very active in my fraternity when I was a student here, and
quite a few of my brothers are here tonight. We’re really having a
great time catching up and remembering the good old days.”
Alumni were particularly impressed with the Queens campus’s
recent renovations, including the additions of St. Thomas More
Church and the D’Angelo Center.
“When the Pharmacy program first came out here to Queens, we had
to walk on wooden planks on top of mud to get into class,”
remembered Barbara J. Sciarra ’61P. “So when I think of the most
outstanding difference in St. John’s between then and now, I always
think of the campus. It has become absolutely beautiful and lovely
in these 50 years.”
Patricia Goeller ’61Ed, ’63GEd, ’94PD and Angela M. Brusco
’61CBA made sure to find each other during the cocktail reception.
They have remained close friends ever since their student days and
continue to stay involved at St. John’s.
“I met my
husband here at St. John’s, my first date was at a St. John’s
basketball game and, in fact, the last time we went out was at a
St. John’s game!” joked Brusco. “Not to mention I had such close
friends here, and we’ve remained close ever since. It makes events
like this great.”
Goeller agreed and shared her own personal St. John’s story.
“I’ve lived in Jamaica Estates my whole life and I remember when
this campus was just a golf course,” she said. “I was here when
they shoveled out the first piece of dirt and when they put up a
big sign that read, ‘Future Home of St. John’s University.’ And
look at this place now!”
Other guests were celebrating the 60th anniversary of their
graduation, including Jim Kelly ’51C, ’99HON.
“This is fabulous – any type of function here always is,” he
said. “I’ve attended my 25th, 40th, 50th and now 60th reunions, and
the great reminiscences are what keep me coming back.”
As the guests gathered in the D’Angelo Center ballroom for
dinner, Bob Kelly ’61CBA served as alumni speaker, welcoming his
former classmates and sharing a number of stories from his
undergraduate days. He paid particular attention to the storied
success of the men’s basketball program.
cheering for St. John’s for 54 years, and you have too, and it’s
evidenced by you all being here tonight,” he said.
At the end of his speech, Kelly orchestrated a “We are… St.
John’s!” chant to fire up his fellow graduates and to honor
legendary Men’s Basketball Coach Lou Carnesecca '50C, '60GEd,
'00HON, who was also in attendance.
Fr. Harrington addressed the alumni afterwards and expressed his
gratitude for their continued support of the University.
“To come back here and still feel such a bond means a great
deal,” he remarked. “We thank you for the ways that you have lived
your lives, because that is the best way of telling the St. John’s
story – by the great success of your own endeavors and, at the same
time, maintaining those values which are so important to us at the