The McCallen Society Holds Annual Recognition Mass and Luncheon

October 24, 2016

The McCallen Society members joined with host Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D., President of St. John’s University, and celebrant Rev. John A. Kettelberger, C.M., at the society’s Annual Recognition Mass and Luncheon on October 11.

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The day began with Mass at St. Thomas More Church, where the commitment and generosity of society members was acknowledged by Dr. Gempesaw, administrators, deans, and scholarship recipients. The McCallen Society members then gathered with faculty, administrators, and students in the D’Angelo Center Ballroom. Fr. Kettelberger, University Chaplain, commended society members for keeping with St. John’s Vincentian values of service and raising more than $3.6 million dollars in the past fiscal year.

He introduced Charles J. Wroblewski ’63C, ’66L, society member and retired Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who gave a testimonial about the importance of giving back to St. John’s through The McCallen Society and other organizations. “I have strived to give back every day of my life,” Mr. Wroblewski said. 

Dr. Gempesaw then gave an update on the University’s progress, along with an overview of the strategic plans for the future. The evening ended with a musical medley performed by St. John’s senior Salvatore Valentinetti ’17CPS, a finalist on America’s Got Talent. He closed with the “Alma Mater,” prompting robust cheers from The McCallen Society members.  

“The best part, in addition to the singing, were the stories—how we reconnect with St. John’s and the idea of giving back,” said society member Patrick Pearse McGuire, Ed.D. ’84C. “One thing I learned at St. John’s is to always give back, but particularly in service directly to those in need.”  

Susan M. Damiani ’87CBA, Director of the Office of Gift Planning and The McCallen Society, explained that this event is special because it recognizes the commitment that society members have to the University. “Being a member of The McCallen Society is not only making a donation to St. John's, but it is also being part of a social group where you can make friends, reacquaint yourself with former classmates, and be closely connected to your alma mater. I am so glad to direct this group. They are very special people.” 

If you would like to establish your legacy through a planned gift to St. John’s and become a member of The McCallen Society, please contact Ms. Damiani at 718-990-7562; [email protected], or visit