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A Fan for All Seasons: Michael P. Stafford ’67Ed, ’72L Still Supports SJU

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The minute he stepped foot on the Queens campus, Michael P. Stafford ’67Ed, ’72L made SJU Athletics a priority.

“I hadn’t even registered for a class yet, but I walked right over to the Torch office and became the newspaper’s Sports Editor,” Stafford recalled.

“That was the beginning of what’s been a 55-year association with St. John’s and SJU Athletics, and I’m so glad to still be a part of the community.”

Today, Stafford practices law in the office of Farrell Fritz and has enjoyed a remarkable legal career focused on trusts and estates in both New York and Florida. Prior to his legal ventures, though, he served as Sports Information Director, among other positions, at St. John’s, where he developed lifelong friendships with SJU legends such as John W. “Jack” Kaiser ’49C, Joe Lapchick and Lou Carnesecca ’50C, ’60GEd, ’00HON.

“Those individuals are St. John’s Athletics,” Stafford noted. “It was fun to work with them because they were always so friendly and willing to help. In fact, back when I was a student, it was Joe Lapchick who got me my first job – a sports-writing position at United Press International. I left school to take the job, but Lapchick made me promise I’d come back to finish my degree, and I most certainly did.” 

During Stafford’s time at St. John’s, as both a student and later an employee, he saw some tremendous moments, including Lapchick’s final year coaching the Men’s Basketball team. Stafford then decided to further his career options by attending St. John’s School of Law

“I followed the philosophy, ‘Never quit a winner,’ and St. John’s had been very good to me,” Stafford explained. “So, it was a natural fit for me to enroll in SJU’s Law School.”

Stafford is quick to credit St. John’s with his success, which is why he remains such a strong supporter of the University. He is a member of the Red White Club, helping student-athletes excel both on and off the court, and he wants today’s students to enjoy the same opportunities that he did. Acknowledging his generous contributions, St. John’s recognized Stafford with the Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award in 2007 and recently honored him at the Eighth Annual Baseball Bullpen Winter Banquet.

“I’ve always considered St. John’s a second family to me,” he said. “And you can tell how close this community is, since so many of us are still coming back 50 years later. When I look back on my life, at how everything developed, I often think, ‘Would this have happened if I hadn’t gone to St. John’s? If I wasn’t part of this great Athletics program and received so much encouragement?’ I think not, so giving back and staying connected is a no-brainer for me.”  

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