July 15, 2009
spring, 29 new members were inducted into St. John’s University’s
President’s Society. This most prestigious organization is made up
of students whose scholarship, integrity and maturity are
accompanied by leadership skills demonstrated by their significant
contribution to the extracurricular life at St. John’s.
Founded in 1968 to showcase the “best and brightest” among the
student body during a tumultuous time when the national perception
of college students was vastly negative, the President’s Society
still represents all that is best in St. John’s students.
The new Society members—19 female and 10 male—are now considered
staff in the office of University President
Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M. During the upcoming year, they
will typically attend 15-20 presidential functions, acting as hosts
for honored guests who might include world or national leaders,
Board members, industry titans, and St. John’s alumni and
Interested students apply for membership in the Society in their
third year and serve during their fourth year. Three equally
important criteria are considered: academic achievement (generally
a 3.5 grade average); a comprehensive knowledge of the University
and an ability to articulate it fluently; and sustained leadership
within the University that includes service both on and off St.
John’s campuses. Members are selected by a committee of University
administrators after an intensive application and interview
We invite you meet Deana Guarella, 2009-10 President’s Society
Growing as a Student and a Person: Deana
The letter came this spring, telling Deana Guarella that she had
achieved a cherished goal — induction into the President’s Society
at St. John’s University, the highest honor for undergraduates who
exemplify St. John’s values of excellence, leadership and
“I was ecstatic,” said Deana, a 20-year-old education major at the
Staten Island campus. “My Dad gave me a thumb’s up, and my Mom
The President’s Society is St. John’s preeminent honor society.
Highly selective, it recognizes outstanding scholarship, integrity,
maturity and contributions to extracurricular life. Participating
in major University events, inductees serve as “ambassadors” of St.
Deana is among 29 students selected to spend their senior year as
members of the 2009-10 President’s Society. In the spring of their
junior year, aspiring members attend an informational luncheon,
complete an application and are interviewed by a selection
Role Models for a University
For Deana, joining the President’s Society fulfills a long-time
dream: “When I was a freshman, I made friends with students
on the President’s Society. I saw them as positive role models who
represent all the values and opportunities St. John’s stands
Ample opportunities are what originally drew the Staten Island
native to St. John’s. Deana was a senior at Susan Wagner High
School when she first toured the Staten Island campus, one St.
John’s three residential, New York City campuses.
“I could see myself spending my entire college career here,” said
Deana. “It’s an intimate environment where everyone has a chance to
These opportunities are rooted in St. John’s mission as a Catholic
university in the Vincentian tradition. Founded in 1870, St. John’s
encourages students to use their knowledge and talents to help
improve our global society. “It’s part of the St. John’s spirit,”
Excellence In and Out of the
Deana embraced this spirit early by joining St. John’s chapter of
Delta Epsilon Beta.
Through the sorority, Deana contributed to student life as well as
causes beyond the campus.
Today, she is the chapter’s secretary for alumnae affairs and the
campus’s Greek Council President. She also participates in the
Vincentian Initiative to Advance Leadership (VITAL), a unique
St. John’s offering that combines academics with reflection on
Deana continued to serve by volunteering at local soup kitchens and
distributing food and clothing during “midnight runs” across the
city. But her most engaging experiences came from St. John’s
popular “service plunges” during winter and spring breaks.
She took her first plunge as a sophomore, spending winter break in
New Orleans, restoring homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina. For her
second plunge this past spring, she volunteered in Florida at Give
Kids the World Village, a non-profit resort for ailing children and
Like service, academic excellence is essential for President’s
Society members. With a 3.75 index, Deana has taken courses that
build confidence as well as knowledge. “It’s the way classes are
taught here,” she explained. “Professors are very supportive — they
motivate you to learn.”
Preparing her to teach, Deana’s education courses have featured
field work at local public schools. Enhancing her understanding of
the world are Discover New York, a core course using the city as a
“living classroom,” and St. John’s focus on study abroad, which
allowed Deana to study Italian language and art during a semester
at the University’s campus in Rome, Italy.
All About Opportunity
For Deana, all these experiences prepared her for the leadership
role she plays as a member of the President’s Society.
“St. John’s is all about opportunity,” she said. “Between
academics, extracurricular activities, study abroad, it’s a
whirlwind of things to do. I tell people all the time—it’s a
college experience unlike any other.”
We invite you to visit our admission pages, so you
can learn more about the St. John’s experience.