St. John's University invests in several innovative technologies focused on academic and extracurricular programs—the St. John's University eSports program and the Video Game Development program in the College of Professional Studies (CPS) are the cornerstone. To date, almost 400 St. John's University students have participated, and St. John’s University eSports looks forward to welcoming new students to their ranks.
St. John's University eSports is currently managed through a partnership between the Office of Information Technology, the Department of Athletics, and CPS. Students also have an important voice, making essential contributions to St. John’s University eSports and operations. Beyond organizing recreational and competitive games and competitions, student leaders have emerged from several teams.
The St. John's University Overwatch eSports team recently competed in intercollegiate competitions, such as the Overwatch League's New York Excelsior's 2019 Spring Rally, where they advanced to the quarterfinals of the 16-team tournament.
Team leaders Anthony Narvaez, a senior majoring in Information Technology, and Yanni Nicolaides, a sophomore majoring in Biomedical Sciences, led a project to create a team logo which could be used by eSports teams. After extensive testing and research, they developed an idea leveraging St. John's University's mascot Johnny Thunderbird as the inspiration and central figure in their logo design work.
The student leaders worked closely with professional graphic artists and designers to fully realize their vision. After receiving approval for their logo, the students submitted a jersey design to the ROGxMETA collegiate jersey design contest hosted by Meta Threads and ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG). Meta Threads is a lifestyle brand and a leading provider of gaming apparel for North America.
More than 20 different designs from colleges and universities across the nation were submitted for consideration. When the results were announced, the St. John’s Overwatch team's design won the competition, and the team received 20 personalized jerseys.
Representatives from the St. John's University Overwatch eSports team recently presented Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D., President of St. John’s, with a personalized St. John’s eSports jersey as a token of gratitude for his leadership and support. “It was our hope that participation in this logo and jersey design process and competition would lead to valuable knowledge and experience for our passionate group of St. John's University eSports student-athletes, but we never imagined they would win the competition,” observed David P. Hedlund, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Division of Sport Management.
He added, “What struck me most throughout this process was the professionalism of the students. Even when setbacks occurred, they continued to push forward, finding ways to overcome challenges they encountered. At St. John's University, we emphasize the importance of our Vincentian mission, which aligns perfectly with the mantra and values of gamers as a whole.”