On Thursday, June 3, 2010, members of The McCallen Society gathered for their Annual Recognition Mass and Luncheon, a popular event that recognizes the generosity of those individuals, both living and deceased, who have undertaken a planned giving initiative to support the mission of St. John's University. The McCallen Society is named in memory of former University Treasurer Rev. Thomas J. McCallen, C.M., who was instrumental in acquiring the Hillcrest Golf Course which ultimately became the University's Queens campus.
The day began as members and their families gathered for a concelebrated Mass in St. Thomas More Church with St. John's University President Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M. serving as principal celebrant. Concelebrating Mass with Fr. Harrington were Rev. Joseph V. Daly, C.M.'73G, '75GEd, Assistant to the President, Rev. Patrick J. Griffin, C.M., Executive Vice President for Mission and Branch Campuses and Rev. John A. Kettelberger, C.M., Director of Residence Ministry.
In his homily, Fr. Kettelberger reminded the worshippers that, "The word of God is not chained, because it cannot be chained. People will listen to the word of God and their lives will be changed. Today is an opportunity for us to hear the word of God and also to thank the members of The McCallen Society for allowing St. John's to remain true to our mission and to share the word of God with others."
Following Mass, guests enjoyed lunch in the Ballroom of the D'Angelo Center. Welcoming them to this year's event, Robert D. Wile '99SVC, Vice President and Chief of Staff, Office of the President and Chief Advancement Officer, thanked everyone for all that they continue to do for the University. "Your support has helped to allow St. John's to do what it has done for more than 140 years; namely, to provide a superior, values-based education to deserving students, many of whom come to us from families bearing significant financial hardship. That's what each of you is helping to accomplish, and we're all grateful."
Fr. Harrington brought the guests up-to-date on the many successes that have marked the past year at alma mater and shared some of the exciting initiatives that lie ahead. Thanking them for their outstanding support, he noted that, "We look to a bright future for St. John's, and I thank you for being an important part of it. You're the ones who are investing in our future, because you believe in our future. Knowing that you believe in us is most important, and for that I thank you."
Members of The McCallen Society were grateful for the opportunity to get together and show their support for the University that means so much to them for many different reason.
"I have very strong feelings about St. John's," remarked Edward Joyce '69CBA. "Coming back to St. John's is in my blood. St. John's will always be important to me because it gave me my start in life."
One of the newest members of The McCallen Society, Dr. James Sheerin '65Ed sees his participation as yet another way to support the University that has always held a special place in his heart. "I've been involved with St. John's in many things over the years," he said. "I was involved in the School of Education Centennial Committee and I've been a loyal supporter of the Red Storm basketball program for many years. I have very warm memories of St. John's, particularly since I know that the University helped me to start my career as a teacher and ultimately a school superintendent. For me, and for most of the alumni, coming back and giving back is a way to say thank you for giving us our start."
At the other end of the spectrum, Donald F. Keating '52C noted that he and his wife Patricia "… are probably two of the oldest, or maybe I should say earliest, members of this great group. We were fortunate to be able to set up a charitable trust and St. John's is one of the beneficiaries of that trust. It's a great honor for us to support St. John's. I was very active when I was a student here and the University is still very important to me."
Susan Damiani '87CBA, Director, Office of Gift Planning, was grateful for the ongoing support shown by the members of The McCallen Society for this and similar events throughout the year. "These wonderful people are very important to us because they support the future of the University," she said. "They have fond memories of being taught by the Vincentians and many were scholarship recipients themselves, so they know how important it is to give back and support the Vincentian mission."
If you're interested in telling your St. John’s story, please contact Kathleen Mannion, Assistant Director of Gift Planning at 718-990-5312 or [email protected].