With the theme “Focus on Your Future,” St. John’s University unfurled the welcome mat on Sunday, October 3, for the Fall 2021 Open House, the first such event to be hosted in person since the start of the pandemic more than 18 months ago.
Current students, faculty, administrators, staff, and other members of the University community enthusiastically greeted nearly 500 high school juniors, seniors, and others who gathered with their families under sunny skies on the campus in Queens, NY, for a face-to-face sampling of life as a Johnny.
“The Fall 2021 semester is off to an exciting start, and the Office of Admission is grateful to be hosting this year’s open house live and on campus,” said Samantha R. Wright, Executive Director, Office of Admission. “Most importantly, I believe our visiting students experienced what it means to be part of a large institution, with state-of-the-art facilities and with a steadfast commitment to, and focus on, each student’s personal and professional growth.”
“This open house provides our prospective students and their families with the unique opportunity to engage with our world-class faculty, interact with dynamic employees from departments essential to each student’s St. John’s experience, and tour our beautiful campus facilities with our current students,” Ms. Wright added.
St. John’s is one of only a handful of higher education institutions in the New York City region to offer an in-person open house this semester. Throughout the event, St. John’s maintained its COVID-19 Safety Policy, requiring all on-campus visitors, current students, and employees to show proof they are fully vaccinated against the virus and to wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status.
Those safety measures, however, did not dampen the high spirits that permeated the Open House activities, most of which took place outdoors on the University’s Great Lawn.
Jonathan Gabriel, of Mineola, NY, a senior at Mineola High School, said he gained much more confidence in pursuing a major in business after speaking with representatives on hand from The Peter J. Tobin College of Business. “When I first arrived on campus today, my idea of majoring in business was very broad. But after talking to the people at Tobin, I am concentrating on marketing, finance, or accounting. That kind of focus gives me more peace of mind regarding my future.”
Added his mother, Pascale Gabriel, “I think this school will be good for him—it has a friendly feel to it.”
Jonathan and other prospective students delighted in a new initiative unveiled to help celebrate the day, “SJU CRIBS,” which enabled current St. John’s students to submit a video that shows off their residence hall rooms. Visitors were able to see the videos as they were posted outside Montgoris Hall, as well as cast votes for their favorite ones.
Throughout the day, Student Ambassadors guided visitors on tours of the campus. They were able to view the site of the University’s new Health Sciences Center, which will break ground later this year, and provide cutting-edge technology designed to foster interprofessional, educational opportunities among academic programs.
Prospective students toured the University’s five schools and colleges and explored recently renovated learning spaces, such as The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, and the Computer Science, Cyber Security, and Homeland Security laboratories. They were also able to visit the Television, Film, and Radio Center; Fine Arts Studios; Dr. M. T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery; Advanced Graphics Lab; Technology Commons; Media Arts and Design (MAD) Lab; and the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences research laboratories.
“This is a really well-organized open house, and that is helping me to focus on what I want to explore on campus,” said Ronald Fung, of Fresh Meadows, NY, a senior at Stuyvesant High School, who is considering a career in the pharmacy industry.
While taking in the sights, visitors listened to welcoming remarks that were provided through a campus-wide video, which featured members of the St. John’s leadership, including University President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P.
“We are proud that we are a place of opportunity and of change for families. That is the distinctive spirit of St. John’s University,” Fr. Shanley said. “We care about your sons and daughters as if they were our own. We will give them the same care, love, and respect that you have given them, because we know how special they are to you and how important they are to us.”
Guests learned about programs such as Study Abroad, Catholic Scholars, and Career Services while attending a Student Services Fair. They also met with deans and faculty members to explore St. John’s academic programs, before enjoying a grab-and-go lunch.
Sarah Joseph, of Flushing, a senior who attends John Bowne High School, learned about St. John’s from her sister, Casandra, currently enrolled as a sophomore. “Everyone is so upbeat and happy. This is a very welcoming atmosphere,” Sarah commented as she strolled along the Great Lawn with her parents.
“I am interested in St. John’s because it is steeped in cultural and racial diversity,” she said. “I enjoy plenty of that in my neighborhood, and I am looking for that same vibe as I think about which college I will attend.”
Katryna Padilla, a Manhattan resident in her senior year at Frank McCourt High School, listed the University’s photography program, proximity to her home, and the quietness of the Queens campus as some of her major points of interest in attending St. John’s.
“I am looking to be part of a big community where everyone comes together,” she said. “I feel that I can find that here.”
Students interested in visiting the University’s 16.5-acre campus on Staten Island can attend its Open House on Saturday, October 16, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Queens campus hosts a second Fall Open House on Saturday, November 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students can register online for these events.
Those who can't make it to campus can attend virtual events hosted by faculty, program directors, the Office of Admission, and student ambassadors.