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In Joyful Celebration, St. John's Welcomes Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., as Interim President

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"I am Joseph—your brother."

With those words,  Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., the new Interim President of St. John's University, introduced himself to more than 600 members of the campus community during a special Mass of welcome on August 1. He served as principal celebrant and homilist.

Very Rev. Michael J. Carroll, C.M., Vice Chair of the St. John's University Board of Trustees and Provincial Superior, Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission, and Rev. Patrick Griffin, C.M., Director General of the Daughters of Charity—both former St. John’s administrators—joined Fr. Levesque in concelebrating the Mass along with 16 other priests. Also on hand to welcome the new interim president were Chair of the Board of Trustees Peter D'Angelo '78MBA, '06HON and his wife Margaret '70Ed.

"I'm very happy to be with all of you," Fr. Levesque told the congregation. "I begin my presidency at St. John's University today and can think of no better way to start than to gather together and pray." He added, "My prayer is that we will all serve St. John's well in the positions that we hold—that we carry on the very important business of the University with the focus on our students—as we maintain the Catholic and Vincentian spirit of St. John's."

The Mass, held at St. Thomas More Church, was followed by a welcome luncheon and reception in the D'Angelo Center. There Fr. Levesque mingled with students, faculty, administrators and staff, who greeted him enthusiastically. He proudly displayed a St. John’s sweatshirt presented to him by Student Government President Elizabeth Sheehan ’14C, Vice President Mark Benavides ’14C, Treasurer Emily Bargabos ’14C and Junior Senator Jenny Rankin ’15C.

“We are truly blessed to have Fr. Levesque as our interim president,” said Robert A. Mangione, Ed.D., R.Ph., Provost. “His great dedication to academic excellence and extraordinary accomplishments as president, dean, professor and scholar are inspiring. I am privileged to serve as provost under Fr. Levesque’s leadership. I know that I speak for the entire faculty when I state that we are committed to working together with him to provide current and future St. John’s students with a truly outstanding academic experience. Fr. Levesque will make our great University even greater.”

Pamela Shea-Byrnes, D.Min. ’86SVC, ’90G, Vice President for University Ministry and University Events, observed, "Fr. Levesque’s warmth and kindness were so evident to all of us today. Beginning his time with us at the Eucharist was a beautiful way of bringing us together, and reminding us of our foundation as a community. I am excited to begin this new semester and look forward to our students coming to know him."

During his homily, Fr. Levesque assured the congregation that his office door is always open. “Together, let us move forward in our Vincentian spirit,” he said. “Faithfulness to our mission will transform Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan, Oakdale and all of St. John's."

He concluded his remarks with a heartfelt request: "This is a new venture—to come to such a large and wonderful University. It's a time of transition. Please pray for me so that I can be successful in my new position with all of you here at St. John's."

Read Fr. Levesque’s Message to the Community and his Biography.