President's Newsletter

Vol. 4 | Issue 1 | October 2018

Letter from the President

Conrado "Bobby" Gempesaw, Ph.D.

Our 2018–19 academic year began with the momentous announcement that St. John’s University has received the largest single donation in its 148-year-old history. The historic $15 million gift from The Starr Foundation will establish the Maurice R. Greenberg Leadership Initiative at the School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science—part of The Peter J. Tobin College of Business.

This transformative gift, from one of the largest private foundations in the United States, demonstrates a substantial investment in the University and is an affirmation of our efforts to ensure student success. We are grateful to the Foundation and its Chairman, Maurice R. Greenberg, for their extraordinary commitment to St. John's.

In this issue of The President’s Newsletter, you will read about how our strategic priorities and the collective investments we have made in our students are already yielding a positive return. We continue to make steady improvements in every measure of student success, including student retention, persistence, and graduation rates. This semester, the academic profile of our incoming class grew even stronger and we remain the top choice of New York State residents who choose to enroll in a private college in the state.

Our students continue to achieve and serve. This is evident in the academic accolades such as Watson Fellowships and Fulbright Awards earned by our students and in our unwavering Catholic and Vincentian mission of service to others, both here and abroad.

I am proud of the work taking place at St. John’s and of the shared ownership of ensuring student success that our campus community demonstrates on a daily basis. Our commitment to service to others teaches our students the special responsibility that comes with being part of the larger St. John's family.

I encourage you to learn more about the exciting changes that are taking place at St. John’s University. Not only are we moving in an upward trajectory, but as we approach our 150th anniversary, we are positioned to be an even stronger and better University in the future than we are today.


Bobby Gempesaw signature




Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D.

Advancement Update

University Sets New Annual Fundraising Record

  • The University raised $27 million in annual gifts during 2017–18, a record amount of funds raised in a single year.
  • Generous gifts to St. John’s came from 11,418 donors, including alumni, parents, friends, faculty, and staff.
  • Last year, a record $3,302,597 was raised at the President's Dinner for student scholarships.

The 21st Annual President’s Dinner

  • The 21st Annual President’s Dinner will be held on Friday, November 2, at the New York Hilton Midtown. Funds raised from the President’s Dinner support scholarship assistance for students. The Spirit of Service Awards are presented each year at the event—an honor given to outstanding men, women, and organizations embodying St. John’s mission.

Senior Class Gift of 2018

  • The Senior Class Gift is a decades-old tradition at St. John’s. Over the last several years, it has been transformed from a program that provided support of a physical gift to the University to one that is more closely aligned with the Vincentian mission. Graduating seniors now make gifts for scholarships for students in the class that follows them, to provide the financial support they need to graduate.
  • $25,000. The Senior Class Gift of 2017 was distributed in the form of scholarships to 10 students.
  • $32,500. The Senior Class Gift of 2018 is currently being allocated in the form of scholarships to students in financial need.
  • The Senior Class Gift of 2018 is a 30 percent increase, and is the second largest total to date.
  • 75 percent of the online donations from the Class of 2018 were made by students through GiveCampus—a social platform that engages donors with innovative digital fundraising initiatives.

A Snapshot of the First-Year Class of 2018

  • The University enrolled more than 3,100 first-year students in fall 2018, an increase of 4% from last year's class.
  • 56% are female
  • 42% are Roman Catholic
  • Top first-year students come to St. John's from 37 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. 
  • Approximately one-third of the class comes from a Catholic high school.   
  • Some of the top majors selected by this year's entering class are Pharmacy, Biology, and Business.
  • 1175 average SAT score
  • 26 average ACT score
  • 90 percent average high school grade point average
  • 320+ first-year students in the Honors Program