Back and Better than Ever: Family Weekend Returns to St. John’s

October 11, 2021

A total of 654 families—more than 2,634 students, parents/guardians, siblings, and relatives—joined together at the Queens, NY, campus of St. John’s University on October 8–10 for Family Weekend.

“We are thrilled to bring Family Weekend back this year with creative opportunities for students and families to gather in a safe environment,” said Kathryn T. Hutchinson, Ph.D., Vice President for the Division of Student Affairs.

“It is truly uplifting to see the excitement of our students and their families as they embrace this wonderful opportunity to share in the campus experience together.”

Guests began arriving Friday afternoon. Many took in the first of three Family Weekend performances of Legally Blonde the Musical by the University’s Chappell Players inside The Little Theatre.

On Saturday, students and their families filled the Great Lawn of the University for the Family Weekend Carnival, which featured inflatable rides, games of chance, food trucks, roasted corn, a pumpkin decoration table, a live DJ, and a special cast performance of a selection from Legally Blonde the Musical.

Among the students enjoying the festivities was Colette Metcalf of West Milford, NJ. “It’s a great time to see my parents and take a break from studies and training,” said the first-year student, who is also a pole vaulter on the Women’s Track and Field team.

Colette’s mother, Jennifer, was thrilled that her daughter chose St. John’s. “She’s so happy here and that makes us happy,” she said.

“We love the diversity of St. John’s, and the campus is beautiful. She has received such a warm welcome, and has felt at home here from day one.”

With Halloween just around the corner, families were invited to a timely faculty presentation, “Paranormal New York,” delivered by Matthew J. Donnelly ’87C, ’89G, ’14GEd, Adjunct Professor.

“It’s a fun look at some of the more celebrated haunted spots throughout the five boroughs of New York City,” explained Professor Donnelly. “This includes some of the more notable and famous departed New Yorkers, such as Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton, John Lennon, and Babe Ruth.” 

Families interested in learning about the University’s study abroad program were invited to the D’Angelo Center for information sessions hosted by the Office of International Education.

Among them was Anthony Romano and his parents, Theresa and Bruno ’82CBA. A sophomore Business major from East Rockaway, NY, Anthony plans to study abroad at the University’s Rome, Italy, campus this spring. “As much as I love it here in New York, I’m really excited to explore the Rome campus,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to travel around Europe, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

His father noted that their family has attended Men’s Basketball games on campus and at Madison Square Garden since Anthony was in sixth grade. “He’ll have to miss a few games next year when he’s abroad, but I think it will be worth it,” he joked. “Plus, it gives us an excuse to take a trip overseas.”

Eager to explore New York City, many families headed off campus for shopping and dining, including Jalin DeShield, a first-year student from Upper Marlboro, MD, and his parents, Jamilah and Arnold. “We’re headed to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to explore the neighborhood,” Ms. DeShield said. “I have no idea what to expect, but Jalin assures us it’s very hip. I guess we will find out.”

Later that day, the fun moved to the Residence Village, where the University hosted its beloved Residence Village Block Party, which featured music and food stations, such as a sundae bar and mashed potato station.

As the weekend concluded, many families attended the Sunday morning Community Mass at St. Thomas More Church before heading over to Belson Stadium to cheer on the Women’s Soccer team as they played BIG EAST rival Georgetown University.

St. John’s Staten Island, NY, campus celebrated Family Weekend with Spirit Night on Friday; Johnny’s Bundles—which included dinner and a movie—on Saturday; and a Family Carnival on Sunday afternoon.

“It is so important for students to stay connected to their support systems, especially this year with so many of our new students navigating the transition back to in-person classes while adjusting to college life,” Dr. Hutchinson added. “Family Weekend allows students to connect and relax with loved ones while having fun.”