Paul F. Engelhart ’82GEd, who was honored at the St. John’s University Alumni Convocation on October 20, has spent a lifetime in the service of those society has marginalized or forgotten. For more than 25 years, he has been an integral member of Catholic Charities of Long Island, currently serving as Chief Operating Officer.
Tell us about yourself and your affiliation with St. John’s University, particularly The School of Education.
When I decided to pursue a career in the field of human services, I was very fortunate to receive a two-year graduate assistantship to offset the cost of my tuition as I pursued a Master of Science degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from The School of Education at St. John’s University. This provided scholarship assistance for my classwork and the opportunity to work with professors on their research initiatives.
How has a St. John’s education impacted your career path?
From my very first class, it was reinforced that it was a privilege to serve individuals in need. It was emphasized that we needed to respect the trust that individuals would place in us as professional counselors. Those with limitations and problems in their lives suffer from a sense of low self-esteem and self-worth. Our care of these people needed to include the provision of basic dignity and respect so that they would be open to and engaged in steps to improve their lives.
How will you use this award to impact the lives of others following in your footsteps?
Though there are increasing human services needs in our society, there are fewer people going into this field. I hope that this award inspires others to consider employment or volunteer positions dedicated to serving the less fortunate.
If you could do one thing, leave one mark on the credit profession (in the business world or academia), what would it be?
To underscore the value of spirituality in the care of those who are in need.
Can you speak to a teacher/mentor who impacted or set you on your current path?
Though neither of my parents worked in the human services field, they both encouraged their children to be involved in the community and to be of service to others.
To be open to God’s will as to how I can best use the education, skills, and abilities with which He has blessed me.