John P. Clarke ’55CBA, ’57L

In all warm and loving families, the most senior members, steeped in wisdom and cloaked in the mantle of respect, lead by example and inspire those who follow in their footsteps. Within our St. John’s University family, there is no finer individual to embrace that important role than Professor John P. Clarke.

His relationship with St. John’s began in the early 1950s, when he arrived at the University’s Schermerhorn Street campus in downtown Brooklyn as an eager freshman ready to pursue his B.B.A. in the College of Business Administration. Like many St. John’s students then and now, he came with great financial need but substantial academic promise. The University provided him with the generous scholarship assistance he needed, and he completed his undergraduate degree in 1955. He remained at St. John’s to earn his J.D. from The School of Law in 1957 and was then appointed Assistant Counsel for Judicial Inquiry within the Supreme Court of Kings County. But the call of alma mater was strong, and he returned to the University in 1959 to begin what became a lifelong career. He served first as Director of Alumni Relations and in 1967 became a faculty member in the College of Business Administration as an Associate Professor of Law. For the next 30 years he shared his legal expertise, gentle wit and unparalleled love of St. John’s with the students fortunate enough to sit in his classroom. He retired in 1997, planning to spend the rest of his professional life in the active practice of law in both New York and Florida. But St. John’s had other plans, and when the University asked him in 2006 to return as Chairman of the Department of Law at what is now the Peter J. Tobin College of Business, he happily accepted the invitation. He has been here ever since!

This charismatic double alumnus has never forgotten that, more than six decades ago, the University gave him the resources to succeed, and, in typical St. John’s fashion, he has shown his gratitude by helping others.  To assist current and future students in their quest for a St. John’s education, he established The Professor John P. Clarke Scholarship at The Peter J. Tobin College of Business and The John P. Clarke Scholarship in St. John’s School of Law. He is a member of The Loughlin Society, St. John’s premier donor recognition group, and The McCallen Society, a group reserved for those who have included the University in their estate plans.

Not surprisingly, his generosity of spirit and commitment to St. John’s Vincentian charism have not gone unnoticed. He received the Outstanding Faculty Medal in 1986 and again in 2009, the Pietas Medal in 2005 and the Johnny’s Angel Award for his support of St. John’s Bread and Life in 2006. Tonight, in recognition of his years of service to the University he loves, St. John’s University, with affection and admiration, presents the Spirit of Service Award to Professor John P. Clarke.