March 14, 2013
For over a half century St. John’s University has been educating
students who have gone on to become some of the country’s leading
psychologists. In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the
Department of Psychology, nearly 150 alumni returned to St.
John’s for a special cocktail reception to mark this important
“Our department has grown tremendously in both numbers and
stature since its early days, and it’s nice to see so many alumni
coming back to take part in this special evening,” remarked
Department Chairperson Raymond A. DiGiuseppe, Ph.D. “I’ve been a
part of the department since 1987, and we have so much to be proud
of. Our doctoral programs are fully accredited, we have really good
acceptance rates into internships, and in the future we hope to
start an autism training program. We have wonderful students and a
really committed faculty, which means that every year the
department gets better and better.”
A highlight of the event was the presentation of awards to a number
of alumni who have made significant contributions to nearly every
area of Psychology. Those honored included:
Distinguished Undergraduate Psychology
Frank Cicero, Ph.D. ’93NDC, ’96G
Elizabeth Gould, Ph.D. ’84C
Jacqueline V. Lerner, Ph.D. ’75C
Louis H. Primavera, Ph.D. ’66C
Distinguished General/Experimental Psychology
Charles R. Fox, Ph.D. ’74C, ’77G
Chun-I Yeh, Ph.D. ’99G
Early Career Contribution Award
Julie Schnur ’00G, ’03Ph.D.
Distinguished Clinical Psychology
Lewis Aron ’75G, ’80Ph.D.
Noel A. Card ’02G, ’04Ph.D.
Naa Oyo A. Kwate ’98G, ’02Ph.D.
Robin M. Masheb ’97Ph.D.
Scott Mesh ’92Ph.D.
Philip R. Szeszko, Jr. ’73MBA, ’97Ph.D.
Distinguished Leadership in Psychology
Kathleen Doyle ’68G, ’79Ph.D.
Distinguished School Psychology
Korrie Allen ’00G, ’03Psy.D.
Jeffrey J. Froh ’02G, ’04Psy.D.
Jack A. Naglieri, Ph.D. ’75GEd, ’75PD
Vincentian Spirit Award
Ellen-ge Denton ’06G, ’08Psy.D.
the years following his graduation, Naglieri has focused on the
theoretical and psychometric issues concerning intelligence,
cognitive interventions and the diagnosis of learning and emotional
disorders. He attributes much of his professional success to the
skills and insight he acquired while a graduate student in School
“It’s a real honor for me to receive this award,” he said. “It’s
particularly meaningful because the University had such a big
impact on my career. What I learned here many years ago, especially
in the area of Neuropsychology, really became the foundation for my
work on intelligence from a neuropsychological perspective. I got a
great education, especially in Neuropsychology, and that foundation
allowed me to build my own theory of intelligence.”
One of the most recent developments in the study of human behavior
has been the emergence of Positive Psychology. Unlike the
traditional areas of research that were mainly focused on
dysfunction and the treatment of psychological problems, Positive
Psychology examines how ordinary people can become happier and more
is regarded as one of the leading scholars in this innovative area,
particularly as it applies to young people. His research focuses on
the well-springs, assessment, outcomes and enhancement of gratitude
in children and adolescents. Like his fellow honorees, Froh recalls
his time at St. John’s with a mixture of personal happiness and
“I remember that when I was a student, the faculty of the
Psychology Department were very nurturing and very supportive of
all of us,” he said. “I have no doubt that without them, I wouldn’t
be where I am right now. I think that’s why receiving this award is
so very special to me, and why I feel so very honored to be
recognized by St. John’s.”
For John D. Hogan, Ph.D. ’60C, the University in general and the
Psychology Department in particular has always held a special place
in his heart. He came to St. John’s in the mid-1950s as an
undergraduate Biology major, and has been a member of the
Psychology faculty for 46 years.
While reminiscing with many of his former students, this
popular professor took a moment to share what he considers to be
the most significant changes that have occurred within the
department during his long tenure.
“St. John’s has been important to me for practically my entire
life,” he said. “When I started teaching here there were two women
on the faculty, and now at least half of our faculty are women. Our
professors now have several under-represented groups, including
African-American, Asian and Latino psychologists. I think that our
faculty represents the diversity that is reflective of the field of
Psychology as a whole. I remain very active in my professional
area, so it’s important for me to be in contact with all of these
other scholars who have a unique perspective within our field. St.
John’s is the best place I know to do that.”
For the alumni in attendance, participating in this special
celebration was an event not to be missed. Besides serving as an
opportunity to acknowledge the accomplishments of the honorees, it
was a way for them to network and make the professional connections
that serve as an important resource in a profession where shared
knowledge, teamwork and referrals are vital.
Yamaris Perez ’04C, ’05G recalled the excitement she
experienced while conducting research as a graduate student in the
Experimental Psychology Laboratory in Marillac Hall. Currently
working to evaluate educational statistics regarding the classroom
performance of students in schools throughout New York City, Perez
is happy to be making a difference for children who she hopes may
someday be in a position to do the same for others.
“St. John’s gave me the opportunity to explore my skills and take
them to the next level,” she said, “and now I’m in a position where
I can help students and teachers develop their own skills. For me,
that’s a beautiful chain reaction that really has an impact on
allowing students to move up in their proficiency levels. I’m so
happy to be able to do that for others, just like the University
did it for me.”