President's Newsletter

Vol. 3 | Issue 1 | September 2017

Letter from the President

Conrado "Bobby" Gempesaw, Ph.D.

As the University begins the 2017–2018 academic year, we look forward to another year of ensuring the success of all St. John’s students.

My recent State of the University Address spoke to this effort, and the stories you read in this issue of The President’s Newsletter reflect our progress. First and foremost, we celebrate the achievements of our students. You will read about the 147th Commencement Exercises, where 700 students graduated with honors—19 earning a perfect 4.0 GPA. Their accomplishments were recognized by our Commencement speaker, His Eminence Peter Kodwo Appiah Cardinal Turkson, who serves as the Vatican’s Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. Cardinal Turkson has devoted his life to helping the poor and underserved in the spirit of St. John’s Vincentian mission.

Student success depends upon a strong and committed faculty, enhanced facilities, and alumni support. This year, we added 40 faculty to our ranks. We opened the new Long Island Graduate Center, located in Hauppauge, NY. And we experienced a seven percent increase in funds raised in 2016–17 compared to the previous year.

St. John’s Board of Trustees provides strong support for achieving our goals. In this issue of The President’s Newsletter, you will be introduced to four new members of the Board.

Our alumni and friends continue to show their fidelity to alma mater. This year’s Grand Alumni Homecoming Weekend drew more than 1,600 graduates back to our Queens, NY, campus, and the Founders Dinner celebrated the expanding circle of those making cumulative gifts of $1 million or more to St. John’s during their lifetimes.

I am proud of these accomplishments and am grateful for the continuing support of our parents, alumni, friends, and partners as we prepare St. John’s students for successful lives and careers.


Bobby Gempesaw signature




Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D.

Academic Points of Pride

St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

  • Dr. Anthony Bayani Rodriguez (Sociology and Anthropology) was awarded a Scholars-in-Residence Fellowship at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
  • Dr. Shante Smalls (English) was awarded a 2017 Career Enhancement Fellowship for Junior Faculty from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.
  • Dr. Philip Misevich (History) was awarded a six-month fellowship from the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
  • Dr. Dawn Flanagan (Psychology) is the inaugural recipient of the American Psychological Association’s School Psychology Division Contributions to Practice Award.

The School of Education

  • The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education ranks The School of Education’s RISE (Residency Internship for St. John’s Educators) as one of the top four clinically-based undergraduate programs in the nation.
  • Dr. Liz Chase (Curriculum and Instruction) published Beyond the Diploma: Dimensions of Success for Teenage Mothers in High School in Educational Review.

The Peter J. Tobin College of Business

  • Timothy Keiningham (Marketing) received the American Marketing Association’s Christopher Lovelock Career Contributions to the Services Discipline Award.

College of Professional Studies

  • Dr. Almerinda Forte (Administration and Economics) was named as New York University’s 2017 Doctoral Business & Workplace Education Alumna of the Year for Scholarship and Service.
  • Dr. Carmine P. Gibaldi served as a visiting Fulbright Scholar at the University of Bologna.
  • Oscar Holt III, J.D. (Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, Homeland Security) received The Amistad President’s Award given by The Amistad Black Bar Association and The Nassau County Courts Black History Committee.
  • Dr. Barbara Morris (English and Speech) was awarded the Outstanding Faculty Achievement Medal for Outstanding Service to the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts.
  • Advised by Prof. Neil Feinstein (Mass Communication) and Prof. John Swan (Advertising Communications), St. John’s team of College of Professional Studies and The Peter J. Tobin College of Business students placed second in the national student advertising competition sponsored by the American Advertising Federation.

School of Law

  • The School of Law jumped 35 places in the U.S. News rankings from #107 to #72 in three years, the largest rise of any law school in the country.
  • The School of Law ranked 38th on The National Law Journal’s list of “Top 50 Go-To Law Schools.”
  • Professors Elaine Chiu and Rosa Castello (School of Law Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights) received a $125,000 grant for an award-winning diversity pipeline program.
  • Professors Mark Movsesian and Mark DeGirolami (School of Law Center for Law and Religion) received a $150,000 grant for a multi-year research initiative exploring the value of tradition for contemporary citizens.
  • Michael A. Perino’s (Securities Law) article on securities class actions, published in the Columbia Law Review, was selected as one of the Best Corporate and Securities Articles of 2016.
  • Anita Krishnakumar (Statutory Interpretation), a leading expert on statutory interpretation and the legislative process, published articles in the Duke Law Journal, George Washington Law Review, University of Chicago Law Review, Virginia Law Review, and Yale Law Journal—all in the last year.

College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

  • Dr. Judith Beizer (Clinical Pharmacy Practice) received a special recognition award from the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) for Outstanding Service on the Public Policy Committee.
  • Dr. Khusbu Patel (Clinical Pharmacy Practice) was named Teacher of the Year for NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.
  • Dr. Sen Gu (Pharmacy, Administration, and Public Health) was interviewed by the American Heart Association and Thomson Reuters for her study “Racial and Ethnic Differences in Antihypertensive Medication Use and Blood Pressure Control Among US Adults with Hypertension,” which was featured by (among others) CBS News.
  • Dr. Ketankumar Patel (Pharmaceutical Sciences) received the 2016 Melanoma Research Scholar Award from Outrun the Sun, Inc.
  • Dr. S. William (Sandy) Zito (Pharmaceutical Sciences) was honored by The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) with the Robert K. Chalmers Distinguished Pharmacy Educator Award, one of the highest honors in academic pharmacy.

Library and Information Science

  • Professor Kathryn Shaughnessy (Library) acted as a co-Principal Investigator  in a three-year, $150,000 grant funded by the National Archives, National Historic Public Records and Collections.

Staten Island Campus

  • Advised by Dr. Ralph Terragrossa (Economics), a team of students from The Peter J. Tobin College of Business Staten Island campus placed first in the Maiden Lane Division of the 2016 Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s College Fed Challenge.
  • Advised by Dr. Benjamin Silliman (Accountancy), students from Staten Island captured first place in the National Financial Information Honor Society’s Atlantic Coast Regional Competition.

Athletic Points of Pride

  • St. John’s won numerous BIG EAST championships at the individual level, including 11 gold medals in track and field.
  • St. John’s captured eight BIG EAST major awards, including two in both Women’s Tennis and Baseball.
  • Baseball earned its 36th appearance in the NCAA Regional after one of the finest regular seasons (42-13) in program history.
  • Head Baseball Coach Ed Blankmeyer and his staff were named the BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year. Coach Blankmeyer will be inducted into the Class of 2018 American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Fame.
  • Head Softball Coach Amy Kvilhaug and her assistant coaches were named the Softball Coaching Staff of the Year by the BIG EAST.
  • Women’s Basketball had two players earn All-Region honors as Aaliyah Lewis and Jade Walker were named to the All-Met First Team.
  • Men’s Basketball also had a pair of players earn All-Region distinction, as Shamorie Ponds was an All-Met First Team pick and All-Met Rookie of the Year, and Marcus LoVett was named to the All-Met Second Team.
  • Adriana Wright (100 meter hurdles), Maya Stephens (400 meter dash), and Nyla Woods (weight throw) represented Women’s Outdoor Track and Field at the NCAA Regional competition.
  • Men’s Fencing had five athletes compete in the NCAA Championship with Andras Nemeth and Cooper Schumacher taking home individual national championships.
  • Freshman Jessica Livianu of Women’s Tennis advanced to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Women’s Singles Championship.