Support for Student Success Affirmed at Fundraising Receptions

April 12, 2019

Philanthropy fuels our efforts to ensure student success as our innovative faculty and talented athletic coaches inspire and lead our students in the classroom and on the playing fields.  Both academics and athletics at St. John’s University are supported by an enthusiastic team of alumni, faculty, administrators, students, parents, and friends of the University.  Our loyal supporters—faithful to our mission—recognize and invest in the promise and potential found in our students and our student-athletes.

During the Spring 2019 semester, two such standout fundraising events were the 24th Annual Insurance Leader of the Year Dinner and the 13th Annual Baseball Bullpen Winter Banquet.

Annual Insurance Leader of the Year Award Dinner

Nearly $2.4 million was raised to fund student scholarships and support program initiatives for St. John's School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science (SRM) at the 24th Annual Insurance Leader of the Year (ILOTY) Award Dinner on Wednesday, January 16, in Manhattan. 

This year’s dinner was held in honor of Daniel S. Glaser, President and Chief Executive Officer, Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., who was named the 2018 ILOTY Award winner. Presented annually since 1995, the award recognizes the contributions of outstanding individuals whose leadership in the worldwide insurance and financial services industry sets them apart from their peers.

“St. John’s University is extremely grateful for the continued support and the demonstrated leadership of those who work in the global insurance industry,” said Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D. “Thanks to the commitment of so many extraordinary industry professionals, the next generation of insurance leaders is poised to follow in the footsteps of leaders like Daniel S. Glaser.”

More than 1,200 members of the global insurance industry, senior leadership from the University, students, faculty, business executives, guests, family, and friends joined together at the event, which was hosted by SRM, part of The Peter J. Tobin College of Business

“In Dan, we know we have an industry stalwart,” said Kevin H. Kelley, Chairman of the Board of Overseers, SRM, and Vice Chairman, Global Risk Solutions, Liberty Mutual Group. “You have been a good competitor, and you have been a very good friend and colleague for so many of us in the room this evening. Without question, you have earned the Insurance Leader accolade.”

Included in the total dollars raised was $250,000 in restricted funding, established by the honoree’s company, as the Marsh & McLennan Companies Scholarship for students in risk management and insurance and actuarial science disciplines.

“To receive this honor surrounded by my family, my friends, and the incredible people I have worked with is a moment I will cherish forever,” said Mr. Glaser as he thanked SRM and accepted the award. “You run a world-class program and you continue to recruit, nurture, and develop the next generation of leaders in our industry.”

Bullpen Winter Banquet 

More than 200 alumni, friends, and supporters of the St. John's Baseball program gathered at Manhattan’s Edison Ballroom on Wednesday, January 30, for the 13th Annual Bullpen Winter Banquet, celebrating the proud history of the Red Storm baseball program. 

“What makes this event special is the people, and more than anything else, our alumni," said Head Coach Ed Blankmeyer. “They come back and support—and they bond—so without our great baseball alumni it does not happen. On top of that, we have outstanding support from our University.” 

Mickey Callaway, Manager, New York Mets, served as the event’s special guest this year. The team’s skipper, who shared his experiences and insights with those in attendance, was impressed by the tight-knit nature of the Red Storm. “I was able to go in there and talk to the players, and everybody's pulling in the same direction,” he said. “When you do that, you can do something special. I look for great things out of St. John’s this year.” 

Mr. Callaway was joined by several current and former Major League Baseball (MLB) players, including St. John’s alumnus and member of the 2014 World Champion San Francisco Giants, Joe Panik; former Mets manager and New York Yankees great, Willie Randolph; former Mets closer and St. John’s standout, John Franco; and Christopher John “C.J.” Nitkowski, the highest draft pick in St. John's history and an analyst for FOX Sports, who emceed the event. In addition, the event was attended by Jeff  Wilpon, Chief Operating Officer of the New York Mets.

The Peter P. Smith Award—given to the team’s most valuable player—was presented to utility player John Valente ’17CPS, the first player in St. John's history to be named the BIG EAST Player of the Year. Mr. Valente was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 2018 MLB Draft. 

For the second consecutive year, pitcher Sean Mooney was presented with the Howie Gershberg Award as the program's top pitcher. As a sophomore in 2018, Sean tied the St. John's single season win record with 11 victories and became just the sixth Red Storm pitcher to strike out more than 100 batters in a season.

“It is amazing to see how our alumni come back each and every year,” said outfielder Ryan Markey, a junior. “Everyone is so excited to come here and lend their support to the baseball program.”