November 11, 2011
The alumni and friends who gathered at The Hilton Garden Inn to
celebrate the 40th Anniversary of St. John’s University’s Staten
Island campus were proud in their shared past. Many looked back in
amazement at the realization that four decades had passed so
quickly, and all were happy for the opportunity to reconnect with
friends and reflect on where their lives had taken them since
their student days.
Throughout the evening there was a strong feeling of pride that
came from knowing that they’d made history by being a part of
“The students from our Staten Island campus have gone forth to
assume leadership positions in professions locally, nationally and
internationally,” noted Dr. Jerrold Ross, Academic Vice President
for the Staten Island campus and Dean of The School of Education.
“They’ve kept their Vincentian commitment to helping others strong,
and our world is a better place for all of us because of them. And
so tonight we celebrate. We celebrate our history, our University,
our campus and the thousands of graduates who have made us
Highlighting the evening was the recognition of special
individuals who were instrumental in the development and success of
the Staten Island campus. Those recognized included John J.
Brennan, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History, Former Director of
the Honors Program; Theresa Cantarella ’73NDC, ’77GEd, Director of
Student Enrollment Services; Michael Capobianco, Ph.D., Professor
Emeritus, Mathematics; and Teresa Trimarco, Ph.D. ’00HON, Professor
The members of the Notre Dame College Alumnae Association were
also recognized for keeping the legacy of their former college
alive at St. John’s.
“St. John’s has always been about people, and so this evening we
are taking a moment to stop and say thank you to some of the
individuals who were instrumental in making the Staten Island
campus the special place that we all know and love,” said Dr. Ross.
“They have left their mark on the lives of so many of us here
tonight, and it is indeed fitting that we recognize them at this
double alumna of St. John’s, Cantarella was first a student and
later an administrator on the Staten Island campus. Thoroughly
enjoying the evening, she thoughtfully reflected on what, for
her, was the most moving aspect of her special
“It’s amazing how quickly years pass when you work at a
university! Forty years ago, when the Staten Island campus was
created, Dr. Brennan was Director of the Honors Program. Dr.
Trimarco and Dr. Capobianco were both professors, and they all gave
of themselves fully to the students at that time, and have
continued to do so. Dr. Brennan was Director of the Honors Program
when I was in it, and Dr. Trimarco was my professor. For me,
tonight especially touches my heart because I have two of the
people who mentored and encouraged me, and I’m being honored with
them. I’m in really good company!”
Many alumni were quick to acknowledge the inspiration and
guidance of the Staten Island faculty, noting that their professors
played a pivotal role in preparing them for both personal and
professional success. For Dr. James O’Keefe, Jr. ’79NDC, recently
appointed Deputy Commissioner of Training for the New York City
Police Department, celebrating with other members of his University
family allowed him to express his appreciation for the influence
that St. John’s has had on his life.
Staten Island campus will always be extremely special to me,” he
said. “It was a place where I could go and study Criminal Justice.
Before I came to St. John’s I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but
when I met my professors, they were great role models and inspired
me to build a career. To this day I’m still in Criminal Justice,
and St. John’s is a part of my fabric. Everything that I have
accomplished to this day is because of my experience at St.
There are many benefits associated with being a student on a
small campus. Students, faculty and staff get to know each other on
a personal level, and frequently develop a closeness that lends a
special perspective to the overall educational experience. Those
warm feelings were evident throughout the evening as guests
rekindled friendships that began many years ago.
“Forty years is a real milestone, and it’s an important reason
to celebrate,” said Anne Matrone ’87NDC. “The Staten Island campus
was important to me, and I certainly wanted to be a part of
recognizing it. I had so many great times there, and I’m looking
forward to seeing some of the people who graduated with me. I got a
great education and I’m very happy to be a part of St. John’s,
especially on Staten Island. In fact, my daughter is now going
there as a sophomore. The students, staff and professors were all
like family, and good families stay together. That’s why I’m here