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Jubilarians Celebrate Their Lifetime of Connection to St. John's

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Memories of days gone by took center stage as alumni who were celebrating or had already celebrated the 50th Anniversary of their graduation turned back the clock at the recent St. John’s University Jubilarian Society Dinner. 

When members of the Class of 1964 came together to acknowledge this major milestone, they were affirming the importance of the University that has been a part of their lives for the past half-century.

“There’s nothing better than bringing old friends back together again, and that’s what this celebration is all about,” noted St. John’s University President Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., S.T.D. “It’s wonderful that our alumni are so faithful to their alma mater and they remember what they have done in their life as a result of what we have done for them. Like any good family, the St. John’s family looks out for and takes care of each other. We always have and we always will.”

This year’s 50th Anniversary class chose to mark their status as the University’s newest Jubilarians by raising funds to create a scholarship in their name. It is a meaningful initiative that allows them to perpetuate their legacy by reaching out to current and future students who need financial assistance to achieve their dream of a St. John’s education.

To date, the members of the Class of 1964 have donated more than $54,000 to establish their endowed fund.

“Our scholarship is connected to the fact that the cost of education is so high today,” remarked Class of 1964 Solicitation Chairman Joseph Larkin ’64CBA, ’82HON. “We would like to see young people who want the type of great education that St. John’s offers  to have some help in paying for that education. This scholarship is a tremendous way for our class to make a contribution to the University and to its current and future students. I have always felt a fondness in my life for St. John’s, so when I was asked to help put this project together, I was more than happy to do so.”

For Janet (’64CBA) and Thomas McCabe ’64CBA, the event was a timely opportunity for them to participate in another highlight of their life that began as St. John’s students more than 50 years ago. The couple met during the first weeks of their Freshman year, and spent the next four years taking most of the same classes in the College of Business Administration. 

They married a few months after graduation, and have maintained their connection to the University for the past five decades.

“We’re pretty much regulars on campus,” said Thomas. “We’ve been here for the Blessing of the Couples and for a number of concerts during the summer, so when we learned of this event we decided that this would be a great way to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary as well as the 50th anniversary of our graduation. St. John’s has made it possible for us to have a wonderful life together.”

“The University really made us who we are today,” agreed Janet. “The professors instilled a great work ethic into us, and that really influenced the way we’ve lived our lives. For Tom and I, being here today is definitely all about coming home again.”

Like many of his fellow alumni, the Vincentian influence has remained with Philip Boudjouk, Ph.D. ’64C for as long as he can remember. He attended St. John’s Preparatory High School in Brooklyn, and when it was time for him to decide on a college, the University was already at the top of his list. 

There’s nothing better than bringing old friends back together again, and that’s what this celebration is all about.” Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., S.T.D., President, St. John's University

Boudjouk spent four years earning his B.S. in Chemistry and playing baseball for Coach John W. “Jack” Kaiser ’49C. After earning a Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin, he joined the faculty of North Dakota State University, where he presently holds the title of Distinguished Professor. He was among the alumni who were honored at this year’s Annual Alumni Convocation.

Neither the passage of time nor the geographic separation has lessened his ties to the people and mission of St. John’s.

“I’ll always remember the special values that the Vincentians taught us,” he said. “My time at  St. John’s was such an important period in my life, and coming back to celebrate the 50th anniversary of my graduation was a priority for me. I’m happy to say that I’ve maintained my connection to St. John’s over the years. Between receiving the Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award at the [Alumni] Convocation last evening and tonight celebrating my new status as a     St. John’s University Jubilarian, this has been a very special weekend for me. I’ll never forget it.”

In addition to the members of the Class of 1964, alumni from other graduating years were present to share in this memorable evening.

Even before her graduation from St. John’s, Elizabeth Mulvihill, Ph.D. ’62Ed had secured a position as an elementary school teacher on Long Island. She later became a special education teacher and subsequently spent 21 years as a principal within the New York City public school system.

She is proud to be a St. John’s alumna, and takes particular delight in her status as a Jubilarian from the Class of 1962.

“It was quite an achievement for me to graduate from St. John’s, and the University will always be important to me,” she said. “I’m pleased to see that the Vincentian values and St. John’s unique mission remain as active today as they were when I was a student. Those values made a difference in my life and I’m so happy to see that they are being passed on to the next generation. Even though I graduated more than 50 years ago, coming back tonight is something I just had to do. After all, the alumni are my family, and I’ve never been one to miss a family event!”