St. John’s University Welcomes Incoming President’s Society Members

April 26, 2022

Membership in the President’s Society is the highest honor a St. John’s University student can achieve. As student ambassadors, who support Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P., President of St. John’s, at various events and functions, members represent the highest ideals and values to which a student can aspire; selection is a rigorous and highly competitive process.

St. John’s celebrated the 55th Annual President’s Society Induction Ceremony on April 23 at the D’Angelo Center on the Queens, NY, campus, welcoming 26 new members and bidding farewell to 22 graduating seniors.

During his opening remarks, Fr. Shanley told students and their families how excited he was to attend his first in-person induction ceremony. He thanked outgoing members for representing St. John’s with grace, dignity, generosity, and joy.

“For students to make this cut at a very elite level is a testament to all your achievements. It’s not just the academic piece, but it also represents a more holistic estimation of what you’ve done at St. John’s.”

He added, “You really are a cross section of all that’s great about St. John’s.”

Quoting the Gospels, Fr. Shanley explained that to those whom much is given, much is expected.“When you’ve been given a lot in terms of gifts, God expects a lot, and people expect a lot,” he stressed.

“You’ve clearly been gifted in so many ways, that we look forward to watching the ways in which you grow and give back to St. John’s.”

“Tonight, we formally induct students who have excelled and enhanced our University community through their academic achievements, leadership on campus, and their commitment to embrace the Vincentian values that have been a part of the University’s foundation for more than 150 years,” said Nunziatina A. Manuli ’97MBA, Assistant Vice President, University Events, and Chairperson and Coordinator, President’s Society.

Student speaker Kaitlin Byrnes, a Homeland Security major, observed, “This group is so special just by the nature of what we do. My experience in the President’s Society has been enhanced because of the people with whom I have had the honor to share this role.”

She added, “At each event, we began to feel less like a group and more like a family. Each person brings something special and unique. I am so grateful to have been able to learn from your gifts and talents throughout this year. Thank you for your kindness, your fellowship, and your friendship.”

Natalia Raquel Acevedo, a first-generation college student and Public Administration and Public Service major, set her sights on President’s Society membership in her first year. “To me, being able to represent the University in such an amazing way is a tangible reminder of everything I’ve accomplished as a St. John’s student,” she noted.

“This is the culmination of a dream,” observed Vanessa Diaz, a Criminal Justice major. “After talking to some friends who were members, I knew I wanted to apply—but then COVID happened. I didn’t think it would be possible, but here we are.”

She added, “This feels like a natural extension of my involvement at St. John’s. I feel so honored.”

Finance major Juan Arrieta, a native of Colombia, seeks to learn more about how the University is run from a different perspective. “I think membership opens a lot of doors, and there’s great opportunities to network.”

He continued, “Being selected is proof to me what’s possible when you get involved on campus. I’m an international student and have been very involved throughout my time here. I just kept pushing myself. I want to keep growing as a person—and as a St. John’s student.”