McCallen Society Members Celebrated for University Commitment

September 24, 2021

For the first time in more than 18 months, more than 100 members of The McCallen Society joyfully reunited in person on the Queens, NY, campus for the Annual Recognition Mass and Luncheon, held on September 15, to honor their ongoing dedication to the University.

The McCallen Society is composed of alumni, benefactors, and friends who include the University in their estate planning. Their gifts fund scholarships, programs, and initiatives, as well as facilities upgrades and improvements needed to help ensure student success. It is named in honor of Rev. Thomas J. McCallen, C.M., former University Treasurer, who was instrumental in acquiring the Hillcrest Golf Course that eventually became the University’s Queens campus.

“We recognize The McCallen Society members for your leadership, your generosity through your planned gifts to the University, and most of all, for the positivity that you provide to our students. Thank you very much for your incredible goodwill,” said Susan M. Damiani ’87CBA, Director, Office of Gift Planning and The McCallen Society, during welcoming remarks.

“Donors are life changing. Donors are the foundation of living a Catholic, Vincentian, metropolitan, and global mission,” said psychology major Jason Wright, Student Associate, Office of Gift Planning, during his reflection to the assembled group. “I pray you all understand the impact you make on the students and the University. I cannot wait to pay it forward in the future.”

“This is a perfect vehicle for gifting. It is a very satisfying legacy,” said James Spero ’69C, ’71G, in expressing his appreciation for being a member of The McCallen Society.

Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P.,  the University’s 18th President was the principal celebrant at the Mass celebrated in St. Thomas More Church that preceded the festive luncheon. 

After receiving a warm welcome, Fr. Shanley explained that his first priority in his inaugural year as University President is to develop a strategic plan “to determine where we want St. John’s to go in the future and to establish how we are going to get there.”

“There will be opportunities for all of you to weigh in,” Fr. Shanley explained. “We will be a school that thrives—because St. John’s is a strong institution with terrific academic offerings.”

But the University cannot enjoy any success without philanthropy, he noted. “Gratitude is one of the most important things to express in life. It is something we need to practice every day.”

“As a university president, it is one of my favorite things to do,” Fr. Shanley said. “So, to all of you: Thank you.”