October 29, 2010
The 13th Annual President’s Dinner was the most successful in
St. John’s University history, raising $2.2 million for
scholarships to directly benefit its most deserving students.
Paul J. Evanson '63CBA, '10HON - A&E Biography Video
Hon. Raymond W. Kelly ‘71L, ‘98HON - A&E Biography
Mary Ann Mattone - A&E Biography Video
A highlight of every President’s Dinner is the presentation of St.
John’s prestigious Spirit of Service Award, established to
recognize outstanding individuals who have lived their lives in
accordance with the Vincentian ideals of serving the underserved in
a spirit of caring and compassion. Award recipients for 2010
Paul J. Evanson ’63CBA, ’10HON, Chairman, President and CEO,
Allegheny Energy, Inc.,
Hon. Raymond W. Kelly ’71L, ’98HON, Commissioner, New York City
Police Department and
Mary Ann Mattone, Community Advocate.
our honorees for allowing us to honor them,” said St. John’s
University President Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M.. “Each in
their own way is an important part of our University. Each in their
own way is firmly committed to making our world a better place and
to assisting and serving those most in need.”
The University was especially honored by the presence of Bishop
Nicholas DiMarzio from the Diocese of Brooklyn, who has shared many
special events in St. John’s history and Vincentian Bishop Alfonso
Cabezas, the retired Bishop of Villavicencio, Colombia who is now a
valued member of the University community.
The event was held at its traditional venue, the Grand Ballroom of
the historic Waldorf~Astoria, and was attended by 1,052 supporters
and special friends of St. John’s.
Thanking those in attendance for their ongoing support, Fr.
Harrington noted that, “We can never fail to celebrate that truly
foundational element of St. John’s University – its firm commitment
to help and to support those who face the greatest economic
challenges, throughout our city and state, throughout our nation
and world. Even in this ballroom this evening are women and men who
are where they are in life because of the opportunity provided them
by St. John’s University. May it always be so.”
students aren’t just educated academically,” noted WNBC News 4
Sports Anchor Bruce Beck, who served as the evening’s Master of
Ceremonies. ‘Students can learn History or English or Math at
any other college or university. But if they want to learn to be a
good person in the truest sense of the word, if they’re willing to
accept the challenge to care about others, not because they have
to, but because they want to, they’ve got to go to St.
Accepting his Spirit of Service Award, Paul J. Evanson, a member of
St. John’s Board of Trustees, acknowledged that “…when I started at
St. John’s, I was just one of the thousands of students that the
University accepts who couldn’t otherwise afford to go to college.
It’s a delight for me to be able to repay St. John’s in whatever
way I can, and it’s great to receive this prestigious award. It’s
just an incredible honor.”
Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly accepted his award on behalf of the
men and women in the New York Police Department, a tradition he
maintains whenever he receives a personal honor or recognition. The
very special nature of St. John’s Vincentian mission, coupled with
the University’s status as one of the country’s premier educational
institutions, made his selection as a Spirit of Service Award
recipient extra special.
University has placed so many outstanding leaders throughout our
society,” said Kelly, “and to be recognized by a University such as
St. John’s is tremendously fulfilling for me. I know how much St.
John’s contributes to this city, and with so many current students
still first generation Americans, the University is continuing the
tradition that goes back to 1870. To receive this award is a high
honor for me.”
A spirited philanthropist and dynamic community leader who has
always championed causes near and dear to the people of New York,
Mary Ann Mattone recalled growing up as an only child in a loving
and compassionate family for whom helping others was a way of
life. For her, the Spirit of Service Award represented
another special attachment to what she has come to know as her “St.
“Tonight really shows me that I’m part of a larger family,” she
said. “Even though I’m an only child, I have a huge family with all
of the Mattone children and grandchildren. Being here tonight and
receiving this award reminds me of how much I love my St. John’s
family. The Vincentians aren’t just my priests, they’re actually
more like my brothers.”
President’s Dinner Co-Chairperson William L. Collins ’76C reminded
everyone that the revenue generated by the President’s Dinner goes
directly to support scholarships for deserving students who would
otherwise be unable to pursue a St. John’s education. “The loyal
friends of St. John’s, including each of you, came through again,”
he said, “and the more than 21,000 students who have entrusted
their futures to our University will directly benefit from your
uniformly vocal in their praise for the University that has done so
much for so many.
“The President’s Dinner is an important function because it raises
money so that young people who need financial help to go to college
can get that help,” noted Thomas E. McInerney ’64UC, ’01HON,
Chairman of St. John’s Board of Trustees and himself a past Spirit
of Service Award recipient. “This event is really a great example
of the Vincentian mission in action. St. Vincent de Paul would be
happy to see all of these wonderful people here with us tonight,
and I’m certain that he’d be here with us as well.”
Throughout the evening guests could be heard remarking about the
many accomplishments that have taken place at St. John’s during
recent years, particularly in the continued generosity of the
donors and friends who have made such a strong commitment to the
University and it’s unique mission.
“It’s very invigorating for me to see what’s happened at St. John’s
over the past years,” said Thomas Marcous ’77P, ’80L. “Every year
there’s something new, and it’s just incredible to see and hear of
the many ways in which the University is continuing to remain true
to its mission. And with all that, St. John’s is still a fun place,
and I enjoy it a lot. My wife and I have gone to so many basketball
games on campus that I really think we have the University in our
recent graduates this was their first President’s Dinner, and they
saw it as a way to keep in touch with other young alumni while
showing their appreciation for what St. John’s did for them as they
began their professional careers.
Danielle Napolitano ’09C, ’10G was happy to spend a evening
socializing with former classmates, knowing that their support will
help the students who are today where they were just a few years
ago. “I came back tonight to show my support as an alumna,” she
said. “I work for a company whose president is also a St. John’s
alumnus, so I have to say that the University is important to me
both personally and professionally. It’s really nice to be here
with hundreds of other alumni who feel the same way about St.
John’s as I do.”
The Vincentian mission of service has always resonated strongly in
the minds and hearts of many alumni, and the desire to give back to
the University was evident throughout the evening.
“I recently participated in St. John’s annual Service Day, and I’m
very happy to stay connected to St. John’s in as many ways as I
can,” remarked Jeanette Awai ’08C. “I feel that when you’re in the
working world like I am there are not as many opportunities to do
service as was the case when we were students, and so I try to stay
connected to the University in any way that I can. Being here at
the President’s Dinner is a reminder that so many good people
believe in the students and mission of St. John’s, and I’m really
glad to be a part of that.”
When not assisting the honorees and guests, members of The
President’s Society expressed their gratitude to the donors whose
generosity continues to help them realize their dream of a St.
a priceless experience for me,” said Leer Gloger, a senior in St.
John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “It’s so impressive to
see the wonderful people who are making our education and our
futures possible. It’s very humbling for me to be in the company of
these very special people. I know that the students of St. John’s
really appreciate all that these generous individuals do for
Nell O’Connor, a senior in St. John’s College of Professional
Studies was excited to be a part of such a premier event. She was
grateful to have a chance to meet and show her appreciation to the
people who have made St. John’s a priority in their lives, just as
it is in hers.
“It’s great to see so many people who have either been through St.
John’s themselves or are interested in the University community and
want to give back and do their part to help the students and keep
St. John’s strong. I hope that some day I’ll be able to do the same
after I graduate.”