January 11, 2010
the past three years, Vincenzo Albanese ‘11CPS has been fulfilling
one of his fondest childhood dreams: a bachelor’s degree at a top
It is a dream, Vincenzo believes, that has come true mainly thanks
to St. John’s University’s focus on student success. “If St. John’s
accepts you,” he said, “they will do as much as possible to help
you experience everything they have to offer — no matter what your
For Vincenzo, that meant a generous financial aid package. College
costs were a big concern for his family. Since an injury forced
Vincenzo’s father to go on disability, the family has relied mainly
on his mother’s salary as a postal worker.
The concern faded after an admission counselor from St. John’s
visited Vincenzo’s high school, in Medford, NY. During an on-site
review of admission applications, the counselor told Vincenzo
that his grades and SAT made him eligible for a generous academic
scholarship along with work study and other financial
“If it Weren’t for St. John’s . .
Providing students with the financial aid they need is part of St.
John’s mission as a Vincentian university. In 2008-09, 95 percent
of St. John’s students received more than $380 million in financial
assistance through scholarships, work-study, loans and grants from
University and other sources.
Today, Vincenzo is excelling as a Legal Studies major in the
College of Professional Studies at St. John’s. Combined with St.
John’s focus on the liberal arts, service activities and global
studies, the Legal Studies program prepares students for leadership
in the law and related fields. In addition to his scholarship,
Vincenzo is employed on campus through St. John’s Work Study
“If it weren’t for the aid from St. John’s, I wouldn’t be here,”
said the 20-year-old junior, who is part of the first generation of
his family to attend college.
Though vital, financial aid was just one of the reasons Vincenzo
chose St. John’s. “It’s really the only university I ever wanted to
go to,” he said. For one thing, as a Long Island resident whose
family was originally from Queens, NY, he knew about St. John’s
reputation for academic quality. Then too, St. John’s has a
nationally ranked School of Law — and Vincenzo had always been
interested in a legal career.
“Whenever I saw lawyers on television, the things they did
intrigued me,” he said. “The logistics, the nitty-gritty of legal
work, the courtroom drama — I thought it was fascinating when I was
a kid, and I still think so.”
In high school, Vincenzo’s favorite teachers encouraged him to
pursue his interest by taking electives and joining the mock trial
and moot court teams. “It was fast-paced and nerve-wracking,” he
said, “but I loved it.” The team earned a place in the Long Island
regional finals, and Vincenzo won four trophies.
A Place to Achieve Your
At St. John’s, Vincenzo’s passion for law continues thanks to the
dedication of professors like Bernard G. Helldorfer, Director of
the Legal Studies Program, and Oscar Holt III, Associate Professor
of Criminal Justice and Law.
“They’re fantastic,” he said. “Not only are they experts, but they
really care about the subject and the students. They’re always
available to help you out with a difficult concept.”
St. John’s offers other benefits for aspiring lawyers. For example,
Vincenzo enjoys conducting research in the Rittenberg Law Library
in the University’s School of Law. “It’s a wonderful resource — one
that most universities don’t offer to undergraduates,” he noted.
With a minor in computer networking, Vincenzo also values the
University’s award-winning network and sophisticated computer
For Vincenzo, time itself is a precious resource. Dividing his time
between classes, campus employment and his off-campus work as a
Little League umpire on Long Island, he is already beginning to
think about law school. As he plans the next step in his education,
Vincenzo speaks highly of his undergraduate experience at St.
“This University has helped me in every way—through academics,
financial aid, everything,” he said. “I would advise anyone who’s
concerned about college costs to look at St. John’s. If you come
here, you can be pretty confident you’re going to achieve your