The View From Student Affairs
A Blog by Fr. James Maher, Vice President
for Student Affairs
Posted by: Fr. James Maher | May 13, 2008
I have never blogged before, but the University’s New Strategic
Plan which is currently being developed has asked us to consider
using Emerging Technologies to enhance our communication with
students, so here it goes. As we end another school year, I wanted
to take a few minutes to reminisce about all of the wonderful
opportunities that we had together this year at St. John’s
University. Perhaps you can remember our opening year mass
when University President, Rev. Donald J.
Harrington, C.M., reminded us to find God’s presence in the
many people that we interact with each year at St. John’s.
Oftentimes we were moved in our gatherings together like when
the Staten Island campus united to view the
9/11 Victims Memorial Quilt. Or recently in April, when members
of the Queens Campus community participated in the Clothesline
Project to commemorate women who were victims of violence.
Watching over 1,200 students and members of the surrounding
community participate in the Third Annual American Cancer Society
Life was also very inspiring.
Perhaps you were proud like I was when our newly reintroduced
Debate Society traveled to an international
tournament in Slovenia and two of our sophomores advanced to
the final round. I was also delighted when our Mock Trial Team
earned a bid to the National Round of 2008 National Intercollegiate
Trial Tournament after finishing third at the Atlantic
Overall, our Academic Lectures
program had record attendance this year. I hope you had an
opportunity to attend the history and fiction lecture by author Katharine Weber or the
healthcare presentation by Donald McNeil of the New York
Times. Sometimes our speakers helped us to look at things in new
ways like author and Rutgers’s professor Henry S. Turner who spoke
about why “Why Biotech is Really Poetry” or the program led by Dr. Craig Warkentin who
showed us how "Laptops, Rats and Taxis" may lead to global change.
Other times we were inspired by the actions of people like the Doctors Without Borders or the
stories about Dorothy Day,
or the Martyrdom of Sister
Dorothy Stang and the
women of Argentina, Chile, and South Africa who stood up to the
Sometimes as a community we gathered just to have fun. Wasn’t
the campus beautiful at our annual
Winter Carnival? Did you make it to Homecoming?
Our annual Spring
Fling was not only a glorious day weather-wise, but it gave us
a chance to unwind with our friends and celebrate all that we
accomplished this year.
Thanks to the efforts of Queens Campus Senior, John Kelly, and
the Student Government School Spirit Committee, we had many
opportunities to come together to celebrate with our
athletes. The Women’s
Volleyball team made us particularly proud, by winning each of
the three tournaments on their schedule this season. Off the
courts and playing fields, our athletes demonstrated their
commitment to the St. John’s University mission by participating in
over 2,000 hours of community service.
One of our new initiatives this year was the Learning Communities.
We learned a lot from this pilot program and hope to bring them
back next year with even more programs and greater faculty
Thank you to all the student leaders who made this year
memorable. I particularly want to thank the outgoing Student
Governments on the Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan
campuses. For those of you who are graduating, please don’t
be strangers. Be sure to use the services of our Career Center, join our Alumni Association, and please come back to our
community for programs like Homecoming and Athletic
For those of you continuing at St. John’s University,
please use at least some of the summer to rejuvenate and reconnect
with family and friends. Although my staff and I will try to
take a little vacation time ourselves, for the most part we will
still be here greeting the incoming students during New Student
Orientation and working on ideas to make the new school year an
even better one. I hope to see you next year both on campus
and in the blogosphere!
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