Alumna Relishes Staten Island Campus Experience
A native of Staten Island, NY, Maria Tychi-Kefalas ’83CBA chose to attend St. John’s University as a Management major because she wanted to stay close to home. Her father passed away one week before her graduation from Saint Joseph Hill Academy High School, and it was important for her to be near her family.
“St. John’s also had an amazing business program,” Ms. Tychi-Kefalas stressed. This cemented her already strong desire to attend the Staten Island campus, which is now celebrating its 50th anniversary.
St. John’s is also a family affair for Ms. Tychi-Kefalas. Her brother is an alumnus, and her daughter, Christina Maria Kefalas, is a Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology major on the Staten Island campus, slated to graduate in 2022.
Ms. Tychi-Kefalas spoke highly of James O’Keefe, Ph.D. ’79SVC, Vice Provost, Staten Island campus, and Professor, Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, and Homeland Security. “He does an amazing job of addressing the concerns of students and parents on the Staten Island campus.”
Recalling a simpler time, Ms. Tychi-Kefalas fondly remembered her days on the intimate campus, which to this day gives students an opportunity to get to know their peers and professors in a more profound way. “I made great friends there—we laughed and danced all the time.” She also played several intramural sports, including basketball, bowling, and volleyball.
Ms. Tychi-Kefalas served as President of Delta Kappa Delta and Secretary of Student Government, Inc., and was Vice President of her senior class. She also served as a member of the campus chapter of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which, coupled with the influence of her family, instilled in her a desire to give back to her community.
As she navigated through a successful career in banking that has lasted almost 40 years, Ms. Tychi-Kefalas felt the influence of St. John’s every day, as she sought to treat her coworkers with the same Vincentian spirit instilled in her there. “St. John’s taught me to be the best I can be—to trust in God and to never be intimidated.”