The President's Newsletter

Vol. 2 | Issue 1 | September 2016

Letter from the President

Conrado "Bobby" Gempesaw, Ph.D.

With the start of the fall 2016 semester, I would like to share with you recent updates, achievements, and new developments here at St. John’s University.

In this issue of the President’s Newsletter, we highlight the accomplishments of our students in scholarship, athletics, and service. We also introduce three noted scholars and academic leaders who recently assumed the position of dean and 39 new faculty members with distinguished backgrounds in teaching and research. Furthermore, we celebrate the accomplishments of our alumni who were recognized with distinguished alumni awards during our first Grand Alumni Homecoming Weekend and the 90th Anniversary Gala of the School of Law.  

I am also pleased to announce that William L. Collins ’76C, ’12HON has recently been elected Chair of the Board of Trustees. Bill Collins is a dedicated alumnus who has supported St. John’s University in various capacities over many years. Please join me in congratulating Bill on his new leadership role.

In my State of the University address, I spoke about the major successes we realized this year in recruitment, enrollment, retention, and placement. I also emphasized the need to sustain change to ensure that we are building an even stronger foundation for student success both in the classroom and in their professional lives.

I remain proud of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni and appreciate the continued support of the St. John’s community.


Bobby Gempesaw signature




Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D.

    In This Issue

    St. John's Crest on Gate

    State of the University Address Highlights Vision and Success

    When St. John’s celebrated the Investiture of Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D., in October 2014, the 17th President outlined a plan to bring renewed success to the University. That success would come from a shared commitment to new priorities based on traditional strengths combined with positive change.

    American and St John's University Flag

    Benefactor William L. Collins ’76C, ’12HON Named Board of Trustees Chair

    When William L. Collins ’76C, ’12HON addressed the audience in Carnesecca Arena at the 2014 Presidential Investiture of Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D., the St. John’s board member praised the University’s long history of educating “those of limited means.”

    Great Lawn Queens Campus

    University Appoints Deans for Three Key Areas

    In pursuit of continued academic excellence and student success, St. John’s has appointed three respected scholars with solid records of leadership in higher education to head major divisions of the University.

    Andrew Chang

    Heading to Spain, Student Joins Growing Roster of Fulbrights

    “As a freshman, I knew I would be getting a good education at St. John’s,” Andrew Chang ’16TCB, ’16C observed recently. “But I never dreamed the University would give me the chance to live all over the world.”

    Faculty and students at library

    Retention Numbers Grow for Freshmen in Novel Mentoring Program—R.I.S.E. Network

    A growing number of undergraduates from traditionally underrepresented groups are flourishing during their freshman year and beyond, ultimately completing their St. John’s education thanks to a unique mentoring program implemented by the Division of Student Affairs.

    Exterior photo of the School of Law building

    Law School Celebrates 90th Anniversary

    When St. John’s School of Law opened in downtown Brooklyn on September 28, 1925, it fulfilled a long-standing dream of Reverend John W. Moore, C.M. As the University’s seventh President, he believed the profession—and society itself—would benefit from an institution that combined a sound legal education with Catholic ethics and Christian ideals.

    Great Lawn with rides and alumni

    St. John’s Honors Alumni Who Exemplify University’s Mission

    At the Grand Alumni Celebration Signature Event on Saturday, June 4, St. John’s presented outstanding alumni with some of the University’s most significant awards during a special ceremony at St. Thomas More Church and in individual college and school ceremonies.

    Flat with the St. John's University logo

    Student-Athletes Thrive Academically and Beyond

    From being drafted by Major League Baseball to making the BIG EAST All-Academic Team in record numbers, St. John’s student-athletes continue to excel both in their sports and the classroom.

    Students throwing caps at commencement

    Virtue of Service Highlighted at St. John's Commencement Ceremonies

    More than 4,000 students who earned their graduate and undergraduate degrees this past spring during Commencement Exercises at St. John’s three residential campuses are now part of the University’s 178,000 strong SJU alumni network.

    St. John's University logo on a red banner

    Major Events Headline an Active Year

    Each year, St. John’s organizes various academic, social, and spiritual activities to engage and enlighten the University community. Here is a sampling from this year’s calendar.

    Sharing Knowledge Presented by St. John's University

    St. John's New TV Talk Show Begins a Second Season

    After its successful first season run, a talk show hosted by Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D., President, has been renewed by Telecare Television, which broadcasts Catholic programming.

    Grand Alumni Homecoming Weekend

    Alumni Return to Campus for Homecoming Weekend

    More than 1,487 alumni—many accompanied by family and friends—returned to the Queens campus for St. John’s University’s inaugural Grand Alumni Homecoming Weekend (GAHW), June 3–4, 2016.

    Enrollment, Retention, and Career Placement Update

    • This fall, for the second consecutive year, St. John’s will enroll more than 3,235 new freshman, making the University the nation’s largest Catholic institution of higher education in freshman enrollment. In addition, more than 400 new transfer students have enrolled, a seven percent increase over last year. 
    • Catholic high school enrollment remains strong, with 30 percent of this year’s entering class having attended a Catholic secondary institution.
    • The Staten Island campus projects more than 245 new freshman, a 53 percent increase over last year’s enrollment and the highest in more than six years.
    • Freshman retention rate for the fall 2015 class has increased to 83.5 percent, which equates to over 100 more freshman students returning for their sophomore year as compared to the previous year.
    • University-wide, the number of new graduate students who have registered for fall has increased by three percent compared to the same time last year.
    • The number of international students who have submitted tuition deposits rose by 16 percent over this time last year, with a projected enrollment increase of 15 percent.
    • University Career Services launched a pilot externship program in January that provided students with a three-day “shadowing” opportunity at the offices of 18 participating employers, seven of whom were St. John’s alumni.
    • On-campus recruiting activities continued to increase this past year, with 55 employers posting 224 positions and conducting 692 interviews on-site at St. John’s.
    • Recent graduates achieved a 94.1 percent placement rate in terms of employment or placement at graduate schools within six months of graduation.

    Athletics Update

    • A record 203 St. John’s student-athletes were named to the BIG EAST All-Academic Team for the 2015–16 academic year.
    • Seventy-eight percent of the University’s student-athletes achieved a cumulative grade point average above 3.0 in 2015–16.
    • The Red Storm won three BIG EAST Championships as women’s soccer earned the regular-season title, while women’s basketball and men’s tennis captured the conference’s tournament crowns.
    • St. John’s student-athletes dedicated over 2,413 hours to service projects as all 17 teams were active in the community.
    • At the 2016 Olympic Games, Team USA fencer Daryl Homer ’13CPS took home a silver medal in men’s individual saber, while Dagmara Wozniak ’13C earned a bronze medal in the women’s team saber competition 

    Advancement Update

    • The first Grand Alumni Homecoming Weekend (June 3–4, 2016) drew 1,487 graduates and their families to the Queens campus for activities including class reunions, alumni award ceremonies, a jubilarian celebration, and the popular Great Lawn Party, featuring food, rides, and games. Next year’s event is scheduled for June 2–3, 2017.
    • Reflecting continued support for today’s students, alumni and friends contributed a total of $20.62 million in 2015–16—the second best non-campaign fund raising record in St. John’s history.
    • Giving to alma mater promises to remain strong in 2016–17, which began with a 19 percent higher alumni participation rate than this time last year.

    Mission Update

    • As the Vincentian Community celebrates its 200th Anniversary in the United States, the University’s theme for this year’s Founder’s Week (September 20–27) is “Vincentian Education: Illuminating Minds, Creating Opportunities, Serving the World.” 
    • As part of the Vincentian Convocation, Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, C.M., Ed.D., President, DePaul University, delivered the Vincentian Chair of Social Justice Lecture at St. Thomas More Church on Thursday, September 22. The event honored these individuals:

      Vincentian Mission Award
      David L. Gregory, J.S.D.,
      Dorothy Day Professor and Executive Director of the Center for Labor and Employment Law, St. John’s School of Law

      Caritas Medal
      Barrier Free Living
      Accepted by Paul Feuerstein
      President and CEO

      St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Medal
      Marie C. Fouché ’11G
      Ladies of Charity International Representative to the Vincentian Family Haiti Initiative; Ladies of Charity, St. John’s University

      St. Vincent de Paul Medal 
      Stephen Hernon ’07GEd
      Principal, St. Brigid School

      Frédérick Ozanam Award 
      Don Bosco Workers, Inc.
      Accepted by Gonzalo Cruz
      Executive Director

      President’s Medal
      Rev. Stephen C. Bicsko, C.M.
      Retired Chaplain, St. John’s School of Law

      Degree of Doctor of Pedagogy 
      Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., Ed.D.
      President, DePaul University
    • Supporting the Strategic Priorities Action Plan, the Office of University Mission will implement a pilot program to make the mission orientation and development process more robust, with an increased focus on “Being Catholic,” “Being Vincentian,” and “SJU as Catholic and Vincentian.”
    • In collaboration with DePaul and Niagara Universities, the Office of University Mission sponsored a Vincentian Heritage Tour in France (June 29–July 1) for seven employee members of the Vincentian Mission Institute.
    • The University has introduced the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, enabling students to gain a better understanding of the prison community by taking a course with inmates at Rikers Island.