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Accelerating the Momentum for Change

President Gempesaw at Podium
Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D., President
Sunday, September 17, 2017

Highlighting the University’s accomplishments of the past year, President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D., delivered his third annual State of the University Address to the St. John’s community on Wednesday, September 6.

“We have established momentum during the last three years,” Dr. Gempesaw said, “because of your hard work and commitment to our strategic priorities.”

The theme of the address, delivered inside the newly-renovated Marillac Hall Auditorium and streamed online, was “Accelerating the Momentum for Change,” reflecting the University accomplishments and academic advances over the last year. 

The President announced that, this fall, St. John’s enrolled an incoming class of close to 3,000 students. Students from Catholic high schools are again well-represented in the first-year class this year, with nearly 1,000 students enrolling at St. John’s from a Catholic high school.

The University continues to have the largest entering first-year cohort of any Catholic college or university in the United States.

Students in the Class of 2021 have demonstrated academic excellence with an average SAT score of 1158, an ACT average of 25, and a GPA of 90.

The University’s continued commitment to student success is evidenced by a number of metrics. St. John’s first-year to second-year student retention rates have risen by seven percentage points to 83 percent since the 2011-12 academic year.

Another measure highlighted by Dr. Gempesaw was career placement—the percentage of graduates who are either employed or enrolled in graduate school six months after graduation. The class of 2016 posted a career placement rate of 94.3 percent—an increase of more than 6.5 percent since 2012.

St. John’s commitment to recruit distinguished faculty is evidenced by the 107 new faculty members who have joined the University since 2015, as well as the plan to hire an additional 45 for fall 2018. “The path to academic excellence,” he said, “starts with outstanding faculty who have a very special role in the teaching, scholarship, and service mission of our University.”

The St. John's community attends the State of the University Address in Marillac Hall Auditorium.
The St. John's community attends the State of
the University Address in Marillac Hall Auditorium.

Addressing the University’s strategic priority of enhancing the teaching and learning environment, Dr. Gempesaw gave updates on some of the more than 70 upgrades and technology improvements made throughout the University.

Chief among these were enhancements to the new home of The Peter J. Tobin College of Business. The building now houses two important new features: the Lesley and William Collins Business Analytics Lab, a 1,300 square foot, state-of-the-art facility that features multiple Bloomberg Terminal licenses, an LED stock ticker, and a video wall, as well as the 1,000 square-foot Paul and Carol Evanson Career Center with offices, interview rooms, and other resources to help prepare students for an ever-changing employment market.

In addition, the College of Professional Studies, located in St. Augustine Hall, now features the Homeland Security Simulation Lab—the first of its kind in the Northeast. It also includes the Innovation Lab, a hands-on design and test space where students learn to develop new products, and the IDEA Lab, a creative space for students to produce digital and print media products.

The new Long Island Graduate Center, in Hauppauge, NY, opened in late August, offering programs from The School of Education and St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Future plans include expanding graduate options with programs from The Peter J. Tobin College of Business and the College of Professional Studies. “This new graduate center will allow St. John’s to enhance its presence in Suffolk County,” Dr. Gempesaw said, “and will be the impetus for more academic and community partnerships in the state.”

In that same vein, Dr. Gempesaw described an agreement with a local healthcare organization, NewYork-Presbyterian Queens, to explore new collaborative opportunities, as well as expanded articulation agreements with Suffolk Community College and Queensborough Community College.

St. John’s enduring mission to provide quality education and generous institutional aid to defray the cost of a college education continues to benefit from the support of alumni and friends. Dr. Gempesaw noted that, in May 2017, St. John’s welcomed six members to its Founders Society—a group of donors who have given or pledged more than $1 million to the University.

“The generosity of our alumni, friends, and benefactors is a defining characteristic of St. John’s University,” Dr. Gempesaw said, observing that donations for fiscal year 2017 increased by nearly seven percent over 2016.

In closing, Dr. Gempesaw thanked the University community for its continued support. “Let us continue working together, so we can build a much stronger foundation for future St. John’s students, employees, alumni, and friends in our community.”