Students in horse and carriage posing for photo

The President's Newsletter

Vol. 5 | Issue 2 | February 2020

Letter from the President

President Gempesaw standing infront of St. Augustine Hall

In 1870, when the Congregation of the Mission (the Vincentians) first opened the doors of St. John’s University—then a one-room farmhouse in Brooklyn, NY—those pioneering educators opened a world of opportunity to students and began our enduring mission to transform lives.

As we prepare for our 150th anniversary celebration beginning in September, we are ever mindful to always be faithful to our mission. At St. John’s, we forge a path of mobility and open doors of opportunity for students who want to make a difference in the world. As a private, Catholic, and Vincentian University, St. John’s prepares students for personal and professional success in today’s global society while never wavering from our founding Catholic and Vincentian mission.

In this issue of The President’s Newsletter, you will learn how the University lives our mission both inside and outside of the classroom and how service to others remains at the heart of all that takes place at St. John’s. You will learn how the annual President’s Dinner set a new fundraising record and how the newly named Maurice R. Greenberg School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science is positioning itself to build on the solid foundation of success that it is known for around the globe. Also, you will meet our newly hired faculty charged with the critical responsibility to deliver on the powerful promise and possibilities of the St. John’s educational experience. You will read about accolades earned for our academic programs. Finally, both the academic and athletic accomplishments of our dedicated student athletes are recognized and celebrated. During the fall semester, all 17 teams earned over a 3.0 grade point average and collectively demonstrated a determination
to succeed.

Our students and our accomplished graduates are a continual source of school pride and a powerful reminder for us to be faithful to the mission. Being faithful to the mission is what enables St. John’s to be the special, life-changing place that it has been for almost 150 years. With your continued support, our mission endures, thrives, and grows—just as St. John’s University has done since its humble beginnings.


Bobby Gempesaw signature




Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D.

    In This Issue

    Dr. Gempesaw on stage announcing fundraising total of $3.4 million

    22nd Annual President’s Dinner Raises Record $3.4 Million for Student Scholarships

    Fidelity to St. John’s Catholic and Vincentian mission and the continued success of St. John’s students and alumni were on proud display for more than 800 guests at the 22nd annual President’s Dinner—the University’s premier fundraising event in support of student scholarships—held in the Grand Ballroom of the New York Hilton Midtown on Friday, November 1.

    School of Education building and Tobin Building

    St. John’s University Recognized for Best Business School and Online Programs

    Leaping 27 spots from the previous year, The Peter J. Tobin College of Business at St. John’s University is now ranked #50 by Poets&Quants in their annual list of the Best Undergraduate Business Schools of 2020.

    The School of Education’s online Master of Science program in Education is now ranked #31 in the country, according to the latest U.S. News Best Online Graduate Education Program rankings. This ranking places St. John’s in the top 10 percent of online Education master degree programs nationwide.

    Student walking on grass with BIG EAST

    St. John’s Student-Athletes Finish Stellar Fall Semester

    For the first time in University history, St. John’s student-athletes recorded a department-wide average grade point average (GPA) of 3.42 during the Fall 2019 semester.

    School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science

    St. John’s University Names School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science in Honor of Maurice R. Greenberg

    As part of the 25th anniversary celebration of the School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science Annual Insurance Leader of the Year Award Dinner, St. John’s University honored Maurice R. “Hank” Greenberg, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), C.V. Starr & Co. Inc., the Starr Insurance Companies, and The Starr Foundation, with a Lifetime Leadership Award.

    Esther Duflo

    Nobel Laureate Discusses the Power of Economics to Stop Poverty, Ensure Progress

    Overall mistrust of economists is high among the general public because these experts are not perceived as good forecasters. Still, economists possess the intellectual capacity and analytical means to guide economic and public policy toward the general good of society.

    University Seal

    St. John’s Welcomes New Board Leadership

    New Board members were elected to the St. John’s University Board of Governors and Board of Trustees.

    150th Anniversary Logo for St. John's University

    Task Force Named to Lead 150th Anniversary Celebration

    In anticipation of St. John’s sesquicentennial celebration, the theme of which is “150 Years: Faithful to the Mission,” President Gempesaw announced the establishment of the 150th Anniversary Celebration Task Force. The 150th anniversary activities will take place from September 2020 to June 2021.

    Deven Rodriguez

    St. John’s ROTC Student Recognized as One of Nation’s Top Three Cadets

    Deven Rodriguez had an upbringing he describes as “tumultuous.” Now a cadet in St. John’s University’s Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Red Storm Battalion, Deven was relentlessly bullied as a child. For years, he felt depressed and rudderless—until finding a sense of purpose in service to others.

    Two males speaking two each other in office

    Retired USMC General and St. John’s Alumnus Reflects on Three Decades of Decorated Service

    While touring the Veterans Success Center during a recent visit to St. John’s University’s Queens, NY, campus, retired US Marine Corps Brigadier General Kevin J. Killea ’88CBA met Luis Escobar, a Homeland Security major and fellow Marine who had deployed to Afghanistan. The pair, separated by at least two generations but both members of two of the same families, St. John’s and the Marine Corps, discussed something only a veteran could understand—what it means to serve one’s country in harm’s way.

    Family of 6 posing for photo in St. John's gear

    Fall at St. John’s

    Read about the season’s happenings, which included Founder's Week, competitions, Family Weekend, Alumni Oktoberfest, and much more. There is nothing like fall at St. John’s!

    St. Augustine shot from below

    New Faculty 2019: Engaging and Challenging Students

    St. John’s was pleased to welcome these 33 new faculty members to the University in 2019.

    Kevin Ryan

    Covenant House President and CEO Chosen as Vincentian Chair of Social Justice

    Find joy, gratitude, and hope in the unlikeliest of places—that was one of the messages shared by Kevin M. Ryan during the first of his four lectures given at St. John’s University during the 2019–20 academic year.

    Women's Volleyball Head Coach Joanne Persico

    We Are New York’s Team

    In sports news, the volleyball team wins the BIG EAST championship, St. John’s Track and Field Assistant Coach Aliann Pompey is named President of the Panam Sports Athletes’ Commission, the Men’s and Women’s Soccer teams earn multiple accolades, and the 2020 Hall of Fame Class is inducted.