Vincentian Mission of Service Flourishes Throughout St. John's

September 17, 2012

Robert Mangione, R.Ph. '77P, '79GP, '93PD, '99Ed.D., was recently appointed Provost of the University, but he has been a member of the St. John's family since he began his undergraduate studies here nearly 40 years ago. He acknowledges that his years at St. John's have given him a profound understanding of the importance of the University's Vincentian mission of service to others, something that he embraces on a daily basis.
"The Vincentian charism is deeply embedded in everything that I do," Professor Mangione says. "When I'm trying to make a decision, whether as the Provost or as a faculty member, I always reflect on the fact that we should legitimately be held to a higher standard because we're a Vincentian institution."
Mangione notes that many faculty members incorporate a commitment to service as part of their coursework, encouraging students to undertake projects and conduct research that will ultimately benefit those in need.
"When we're teaching and giving examples in class, it's always important to focus some attention on how the poor would respond to that situation, and how we would be able to help them," he says. "Those opportunities for discussion and to inspire the students to think critically and creatively are the challenges, and they lead to thoughts about what are the solutions."

Inspiration in Action
The powerful motivation of the University's Vincentian mission is readily apparent in how its students respond to those challenges. Before he came to St. John's, Thomas King '12Ed, a graduate student in St. John's School of Education, had never heard of St. Vincent de Paul. But after only a few weeks on campus, he quickly realized the importance of the Vincentian mission and decided to make it his own.
"I learned that St. Vincent was the evangelizer of the poor and that his mission was rooted in serving the poor," Thomas says. "I really began to make that a part of myself, because if that was the mission of St. John's, I wanted it to become part of me as well."
Thomas serves as a graduate assistant in the Office of Campus Ministry on the Queens campus, is an altar server in St. Thomas More Church, and brings food and clothing to the homeless of New York City as part of St. John's Midnight Runs program. He knows that serving others has made him a more spiritual person.
"All people need to be treated with respect and dignity," he says. "And if they're poor, that's even more of a reason to give back to them. Serving at St. John's has had a profound impact on my life."
As a member of The McCallen Society, your support ensures that the University and its Vincentian mission of service will continue to thrive for years to come, both in the classroom and within the community. We are grateful for your willingness to partner with us, now and in the future, as together we work to make the world a better place for everyone.

To learn how this partnership can benefit you and the University, please contact Erin Kinney at 718-990-8423.