St. John’s University recorded the largest turnout in the history of Accepted Student Day when 2,292 students, along with their families, converged on the Queens, NY, campus on Saturday, April 6, to explore academic majors, innovative technology, state-of-the-art learning facilities, global programs, athletics, service opportunities, and many other offerings.
The record-breaking attendance marked the fourth consecutive year that Accepted Student Day had an increase in both student attendees and overall attendance. Accepted Student Day 2019 saw a seven percent increase of student attendees from the previous year; close to 7,000 people descended on the expansive Queens campus on a beautiful spring day.
The St. John’s Dance Team waved red and white pom-poms and tossed T-shirts to the revved-up and capacity crowd gathered inside Carnesecca Arena—home of the Red Storm—for the opening session of the day-long event. Visitors filled the building to the rafters, and the walkways bustled with eager students and families soaking in the energetic atmosphere.
“We are St. John’s!” student volunteers chanted, with spirited help from the audience, as they lined up in front of the arena stage. In his remarks to the crowd, Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D., President of St. John’s, described the profile of the Accepted Class and recounted that the University currently has “the largest first-year class of any Catholic college or university in America.”
“We have more than 400 student volunteers here today, and they all want to show you what St. John’s means to them,” said Jorge Rodriguez, Vice Provost and Chief Enrollment Officer, in his welcoming address. “This is their home, and they hope that you will feel the same way about St. John’s when you join us.”
Student speaker Eve Austin, a junior who is majoring in Public Administration and Public Service, emphasized some of her best experiences during her time at St. John’s. “Every semester, I come back to St. John’s because it is here that I feel seen,” said Eve, who is Chair of the St. John’s Irish Society’s Dance Team, a member of the University Student Conduct Board, and the Training and Recruitment Coordinator for the University Career Services’ Career Peers. “St. John’s has placed me on the ever-challenging path of always maximizing my potential, and, in turn, has sent me on the most rewarding journey toward self-discovery.”
“Not everyone comes to St. John’s realizing they are capable of amazing things,” Eve added. “But everyone leaves St. John’s knowing that they are.”
“Choose St. John’s,” Eve said with a wide smile. “Choose to seize every opportunity, to learn and grow, and take that next step in your leap of faith—because that’s what it means to be a Johnny. Welcome home, Class of 2023!”
During his remarks, Dr. Gempesaw said 47 international students were present for Accepted Student Day, including one student who traveled the furthest—6,753 miles—from her home in Japan. Dr. Gempesaw also noted that the University received 28,500 applications for 3,000 first-year slots for the Fall 2019 semester.
Members of the Accepted Class of 2023 hail from all 50 states and Washington, DC, as well as from a total of 94 countries. The incoming class boasts an average SAT score of 1197 and a mean grade point average of 90, reflecting the continuation of the high academic credentials of admitted classes for the past several years.
“Our job at St. John’s is not just to enroll students. We also must help our students graduate, so they can pursue their ideal careers,” said Dr. Gempesaw. Each year from 2015 through 2018, more than 94 percent of St. John’s graduates were employed or pursing a graduate degree within six months of Commencement.
Dr. Gempesaw proudly referred to the University’s more than 184,000 committed and connected alumni, 150,000 of whom live and work in the New York metropolitan area. “Think of the networking possibilities you have when you graduate from St. John’s,” he said.
This is precisely what George Arsenis had in mind when he decided to enroll at St. John’s for the fall. “Those connections should help,” said George, a senior at Mainland Regional High School in Linwood, NJ, who plans to major in Economics. “I also love New York City and I love Queens, in particular. When I came to tour the Queens campus, I just loved it.”
Throughout the day, many prospective students met with faculty and future peers to learn more about academic opportunities and the advantages of attending St. John’s. Tours of the campus were held, and the University hosted breakfast and lunch for future Johnnies and their loved ones. A student services fair was held at the D’Angelo Center, and guests attended sessions that focused on financial aid, the Honors Program, Ozanam Scholars, study abroad options, transfer students, the University Freshman Center, and University Career Services. The School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science (SRM) hosted a luncheon to give future students an opportunity to meet their faculty, alumni, and current students.
There were also activities on the Great Lawn, including a photo booth and presentations from student organizations.
“There are many things to do here, it is close to home, and it is a beautiful campus,” said Chelsea Franqui, a senior at The Mary Louis Academy, in Jamaica Estates, NY. “And I am seeing St. John’s from my mom’s and brother’s points of view,” she said when referring to Marcia De Los Santos ’89SVC, and Daniel Franqui Jr., a Homeland Security major in the College of Professional Studies who is set to graduate in 2020.
Continuing the family tradition of St. John’s is a distinguishing characteristic of the Accepted Class of 2023, as 1,634 members are classified as “legacies,” meaning that they have some familial connection to the University.
Caitie Basile, of Carmel, NY, had just finalized her deposit to secure a slot in the Class of 2023 class when she paused to reflect on why she chose St. John’s to pursue her undergraduate degree. “At first, I applied to St. John’s largely because my mom and dad both attended here. But when I was on a tour of the campus a few months ago, I took a break in a dining hall. I looked around and I thought to myself, ‘I could live here.’”
“I love New York City, but I am also very attracted to the beauty and peace of this campus,” she added. “This is the best of both worlds.”
Caitie’s mother, Grace Rafferty ’96CBA, indicated she was thrilled with her daughter’s decision to come to St. John’s.
“I have been fighting back tears of happiness all day,” she said with a broad grin.
Accepted Student Day was hosted on St. John’s Staten Island, NY, campus on Saturday, April 13. Student speaker Bethanie Jones, a junior with a double major in Legal Studies and Mathematics, and who was born and raised in Jamaica, told prospective students, “Wherever your path leads over the next four years, soak it all in. Engage in new experiences. Fail forward. Embrace the opportunities and lessons.”
“There is so much out there for you to learn about, experience, and savor! Do not leave empty-handed!”
Click here to view the Staten Island Accepted Student Day gallery.