November 30, 2012
One is a Baby Boomer, the other is baby-faced.
But though they graduated from St. John’s University four
decades apart, double alumni Tom Burke ‘68C, ‘71G and Gregory
Leporati ‘09C, ‘10G have a surprising amount in common. They’re
both avid readers, have always appreciated the written word, and
are former members of The Torch, the University’s student
newspaper on the Queens campus.
And since 2010, they’ve worked side-by-side for the Division of
Institutional Advancement’s Office of Communications, providing
copy for all of the Division’s multimedia needs. From producing
advertising materials to creating event scripts, managing social
media to writing the St. John’s University Magazine, they work
together on a wide range of electronic and print-based projects,
striving to advance the mission of their alma mater.
“St. John’s and the Vincentian community have always meant a lot to
me,” said Burke, who joined the University in 2004 as Senior
Project Manager. “In fact, my very first job after college was as a
faculty member at St. John’s Preparatory High School on Lewis
Avenue in Brooklyn.”
That first job led to a lifelong career in higher education which,
appropriately, began as an adjunct faculty member at St. John’s.
Burke later spent nearly three decades at the New York Institute of
Technology, holding a variety of positions that included Academic
Dean, Vice President for Enrollment Management, Vice President for
College and Media Relations and Senior Vice President for Student
Services. He also served as Provost at the New York College of
Health Professions before returning to St. John’s.
A Charter Member of the Epsilon Theta Chapter of Delta
Sigma Phi Fraternity, Burke loves to share stories of his
college years – long before the construction of the Residence
Village and the D’Angelo Center, and back when the legendary Lou
Carnesecca ’60C, ’70GEd, ’00HON was just taking over for Joe
Lapchick as Head Coach of the Men’s Basketball team.
“Those were great times on campus,” Burke recalled. “We had a lot
of fun, though I’m a little envious of today’s students. The campus
has really grown by leaps and bounds, and that’s partly
what makes my job here so much fun: I get to write about the ways
in which the University has evolved and help keep fellow alumni
connected to St. John’s. What I find most gratifying is that
although we’ve expanded, St. John’s has retained the same unique
mission of service that alumni like myself remember from when we
Leporati, meanwhile, is a bona fide young alumnus,
having graduated in 2009 and 2010 with a B.A. and M.A.,
respectively, in English Literature as part of the University’s
five-year accelerated program. Like Burke, he got involved on
campus in a number of extracurricular activities, especially
The Torch, where he served as Editor-in-Chief for two
“Stepping into a leadership role on campus was a tremendous
learning experience,” Leporati explained. “Having that type of
responsibility and collaborating with other editors made me a much
more mature person and writer. Not to mention, the friends and
connections I made during that time really shaped who I am
A lifelong Long Islander and a Red Storm fanatic, Leporati jumped
at the chance to join St. John’s in a professional capacity, and
was hired as a Writer for IA Communications in 2010.
Leporati’s presence has enabled the Communications team to
expand its use of video and multimedia, adding a dynamic new
dimension to the team’s reporting and event coverage. Most notably,
Leporati has assisted in creating complementary videos that enhance
St. John’s University Magazine, appearing on camera to interview
Coach Carnesecca and
Keegan Bradley ’08CPS, in addition to interviewing Frank
Cantelmo, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, for a video
Discover Bermuda program.
“It’s been a lot of fun to put my talents to use here at St.
John’s,” Leporati noted. “My favorite part of the job has been
meeting so many fellow alumni and telling their stories. Whether
I’m writing articles for the St. John’s University
Magazine or posting success stories on the Alumni and Friends
homepage, I’m amazed to see how proud our alumni are of their St.
John’s education and how meaningful their college experience was
for them. It consistently reminds me how tremendous this place
Through their writing, Burke and Leporati hope to engender a spirit
of giving among alumni and friends and further enhance the
University’s Vincentian mission. And, though they represent two
very different St. John’s eras, the two share a strong St. John’s
pride and have developed a lasting friendship.
“Working with Tom every day is entertaining, to say the least,”
Leporati explained. “And it’s always rewarding to step back and
take a look at what we’ve accomplished, because in the end, that’s
what it’s all about: collaborating with great colleagues to
accomplish something special. It’s one of the many reasons I’m glad
to be at the place where it all began for the both of us.”