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Reflecting Global Reach, St. John’s Celebrates Commencement on Two Continents

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Spanning three campuses and two continents, nearly 4,000 men and women received their undergraduate and graduate degrees at St. John’s 2015 Commencement Exercises this past spring in Queens and Staten Island, NY, and in Rome, Italy.

At the Queens campus 1,978 undergraduate and 1,482 graduate degrees were conferred (excluding law). Most Rev. David O’Connell, C.M., bishop of the Diocese of Trenton (NJ), delivered the commencement address on May 17.  A former dean at the University, he reminded the new graduates to constantly reaffirm St. John’s “values and commitment to our legacy, our nation, and the world.”

An academic milestone: Commencement at St. John’s Queens, NY, campus.
Commencement at St. John’s Queens, NY, campus.

In his remarks, President Gempesaw noted the diversity and achievements of those in attendance. For example, he said, more than 70 percent of those who graduated and began as freshmen completed their studies within four years. The class included 541 students who earned their degrees with honors— summa, magna, and cum laude. Eleven undergraduate and 84 graduate degree recipients had a 4.0 GPA. All told, their ages ranged from 20 to 79 years old. “Getting a college degree or a graduate degree has no age limit,” said the president.

Dr. Gempesaw delivered the commencement address at the Staten Island campus on May 16, where the University conferred 152 undergraduate and 27 graduate degrees. Praising the accomplishments of those who completed their studies, he reminded them to embrace the value of compromise, hard work, and “three phrases that could help improve the world—please, thank you, and I am sorry.”

Remember, you will always be part of the St. John’s family.”
—Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D., President

Commencement Exercises for St. John’s School of Law took place at the Queens campus on June 7. More than 3,000 guests attended as the School conferred 248 J.D. and 58 LL.M. degrees.

During his commencement address at the Rome campus on June 14, Dr. Gempesaw reiterated the themes of hard work and gratitude. Sixty master’s degrees were conferred there in 2014–15 in business, global development and social justice, and international relations. Welcoming the new graduates as alumni, Dr. Gempesaw said, “Remember, you will always be part of the St. John’s family.”