Student standing infront of stained glass window

About the Anniversary

September 2020-June 2021

St. John’s University will celebrate its 150th Anniversary during the 2020-2021 academic year, starting in September 2020 and ending in June 2021. This anniversary provides the University a unique opportunity to honor its past, celebrate its present, and build its future. 


The theme for the year-long celebration, which allows the University to honor all aspects of its mission, is “150 Years: Faithful to the Mission.”

  • University - committed to academic excellence and the pursuit of wisdom, which flows from free inquiry, religious values, and human experience.
  • Catholic - founded in 1870 in response to an invitation of the first Bishop of Brooklyn, John Loughlin, to provide the youth of the city with an intellectual and moral education. The University is a place where the Church reflects upon itself and the world as it engages in dialogue with other religious traditions.
  • Vincentian - inspired by St. Vincent de Paul’s compassion and zeal for service, we strive to provide excellent education for all people, especially those lacking economic, physical, or social advantages. In the Vincentian tradition, we seek to foster a world view and to further efforts toward global harmony and development by creating an atmosphere in which all may imbibe and embody the spirit of compassionate concern for others so characteristic of Vincent.
  • Metropolitan and Global - benefit from New York City’s cultural diversity, its intellectual and artistic resources, and its unique professional educational opportunities. We are one of our nation’s most diverse institutions of higher education, enriched by a mixture of cultures, which complements an internationalized curriculum. In educating students we pledge to foster those qualities needed for our alumni to become effective leaders and responsible citizens in a vibrant city and dynamic world.

This theme, along with the anniversary logo, will be incorporated into all programming, activities and communications associated with and held during the sesquicentennial celebration.


The 150th Anniversary Celebration will be used to tell St. John’s compelling story of providing an intellectual and moral education to all people, embodying the spirit of compassionate concern, and encompassing our diversity which is enriched by a mixture of cultures.

  • Celebrate and recognize our history and the achievements of the University’s founders, alumni, students, employees, religious community, and donors over the past 150 years  
  • Inspire actions that support the University’s Vincentian and Catholic mission
  • Reflect upon the history of academics, culture, and diversity of the University while looking to the future
  • Encourage participation and reengage alumni in Anniversary Celebration events throughout the year
  • Identify philanthropic resources and build support for the public launch of the campaign that will coincide with the Anniversary Celebration
  • Enhance the brand and image of St. John’s

Guiding Principles

The following principles will be used to determine the content, programming, and purpose of programming, communications and activities associated with the 150th Anniversary Celebration.

  • Make connections across the University’s past history, current programs, and future plans
  • Identify ongoing and existing events that are undertaken by units and departments that contribute to the Anniversary Celebration goals
  • Provide intellectually stimulating, academic-based programming in addition to social programming
  • Ensure all campuses, units, and constituencies are included
  • Make an effort to include students in the planning and execution of events and programs, through academic, social, and staffing opportunities
  • Advance the University’s reputation through the use of communications about all events and programs
  • Be accessible and open to the public; designed to be of interest to a wide variety of audiences

Additionally, the all initiatives should reflect St. John’s core values of Truth, Love, Respect, Opportunity, Excellence and Service and be closely aligned with the four Strategic Priorities identified by President Gempesaw in his investiture address in 2014:

  1. Ensure student success
  2. Recruit, recognize, and retain the best faculty, staff, and administrators
  3. Enhance our teaching and learning environment
  4. Expand global and community partnerships