While organizing St. John’s Instagram Live Commencement Celebration to honor the Class of 2020, planners knew exactly which entertainer they would ask to run the May 31 virtual event: DJ Zeke, also known as Ezekiel O. Akinyemi ’08TCB.
“For large-scale events, Zeke is the only option for us. His knowledge of the University is unparalleled; he knows the script, the audience, and the community. He is part of the St. John’s University family,” said Corinne Gentile, Director of Enrollment Management Events. “When planning events for thousands of visiting families, entertainment is key, and Zeke has become a trusted partner—someone who always delivers with style.”
Mr. Akinyemi most recently demonstrated those skills for St. John’s in April, when he hosted an Instagram Live party as part of the University’s first-ever Virtual Accepted Student Experience, for the Class of 2024.
He will wield his showman’s magic again when a new Instagram Live party launches at 3:30 p.m., as part of the Commencement Celebration. The party, which can be viewed on Instagram and is sponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations, will follow a series of Virtual Recognition Ceremonies the University created to showcase its 2020 graduates.
In addition to the new graduates, and current and prospective students, St. John’s welcomes faculty, alumni, administrators, and staff to join in the digital festivities.
“Even after you graduate, you are still a part of St. John’s. You are always a Johnny,” said Mr. Akinyemi.
The alumnus, who was born on Staten Island and is now a Queens resident, is a living testament to his own words. In the years since earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, Mr. Akinyemi has returned many times to St. John’s campuses in both those boroughs to share his expertise with students as an entrepreneur who built two successful businesses: DJ Zeke Entertainment, a music, sound, and lighting production company he started as an undergraduate, and Oluwaseyi Clothing, his customized suit collection.
“My goal is to provide insight to students about networking, financial planning, and other aspects of business success,” said Mr. Akinyemi, who is often invited into classrooms by his former Tobin professors to advise students about how to establish and maintain a business.
But he is best known at St. John’s as DJ Zeke, providing his disc jockeying skills to a wide variety of large-scale, campus-based events that include charity fundraisers for Relay For Life and other nonprofit organizations, and long-held University traditions such as the Spring Fling, Winter Carnival, Accepted Student Day, Open House, and Week of Welcome.
One of the most sought-after DJs to perform at other colleges and universities, Mr. Akinyemi also spins his mix of reggae, hip hop, salsa, and reggaeton at corporate events, weddings, and private parties. His high-energy performances extend to the international stage, in venues that include Barbados, Jordan, Switzerland, and Trinidad.
Mr. Akinyemi discovered his passion for music and knack for deejaying when he was a teenager volunteering his time in the sound booth of his church. Soon after starting his college career at St. John’s, Mr. Akinyemi became the go-to guy for social events on campus.
“I provided DJ entertainment for pretty much every organization event on campus,” he said. “I was totally immersed in the St. John’s culture because of that.”
Mr. Akinyemi credits his experience as a Student Orientation Leader for preparing him to perform well at events that attract hundreds or thousands of spectators. “As an Orientation Leader, there were times when I had to speak for long periods in front of 600 students and parents, and then keep them all entertained by making up games to help them learn about the campus culture,” he recalled.
As for his continued devotion to his alma mater, Mr. Akinyemi points to the strong connections long forged between the University and its more than 190,000 alumni.
“St. John’s taught me about the power of networking, and I have always been impressed with the incredible ability of the alumni to help each other while they continue to support undergraduate and graduate students,” he said. “The networking opportunities St. John’s nurtures help me build great relationships and friendships that have also brought me success in business.”
He added, “If you go to St. John’s, your network grows; because you are a Johnny, people are very willing to help you along the way.”