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New President Receives Heartfelt Reception from SJU Community at Special Mass

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Marking a new era in the University’s 144-year history, more than 500 members of the St. John’s community welcomed their new president, Conrado "Bobby" Gempesaw, Ph.D., on July 1 during a special Mass held in St. Thomas More Church on the Queens, NY, campus.

Clearly moved by the reception, Dr. Gempesaw thanked the SJU community. Expressing his commitment to enhancing research and academics while broadening global partnerships, he pledged to uphold the Catholic and Vincentian values upon which the University was founded. “It is,” he said, “an honor and my distinct privilege to serve as your president.”

Dr. Gempesaw also thanked Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., for his stewardship as president during the past year—and his counsel over the last few weeks. "I hope your cell phone still works," he joked.

Delivering the homily, principal celebrant Rev. Bernard M. Tracey, C.M., executive vice president for mission, assured Dr. Gempesaw that he had the prayers and support of the entire SJU community. "Today, we embark on a new beginning,” Fr. Tracey declared. “We are to be a beacon of light as we move forward with Dr. Gempesaw."

Robert Mangione Ed.D., R.Ph., provost, welcomed the University’s 17th president on behalf of the academic community."This is an exciting day for our University, as we have been blessed with a great president,” said Dr. Mangione. “We will benefit enormously from his strong leadership, as he brings his many years of experience as an accomplished teacher, world-class scholar, and outstanding administrator to St. John’s."

In his remarks, Dr. Gempesaw noted that he is celebrating his 30th year in higher education this month. "It has been a long journey,” he said, “but I feel very blessed to be given this opportunity."

"With your support," Dr. Gempesaw stressed, "I am sure we will continue to ensure the success of St. John's students and strengthen the foundation for the University to effectively face the challenges of higher education."

Dr. Gempesaw concluded his remarks by dedicating himself to the entire St. John's community as its servant. "I ask for your prayers and support,” he said, “as we work together for St. John's to be the best Catholic university in America."