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President's Newsletter

Vol. 1 | Issue 2 | January 2016
Letter from the President

Conrado "Bobby" Gempesaw, Ph.D., President

In my State of the University address at the beginning of the academic year, I said that “St. John’s is moving in the right direction” with progress in setting our strategic priorities, enrollment and fundraising goals, and other academic initiatives.

This is evident in the achievements of students, faculty, and other members of our academic community outlined in this newsletter.

From a soccer star gaining national attention, to high-achieving freshmen, and our premier fundraising event of the year, you will see that the St. John’s community does not rest on its laurels but continues to provide even greater opportunities for student success.

Finally, you will be updated about the University’s strategic priorities as the action plan formulated by the diligent work of the Strategic Priorities Working Group (SPWG) is sent to the Strategic Priorities Review Team (SPRT) charged with monitoring performance under each of the recommended action items.

As we begin 2016, I thank you for supporting St. John’s and extend to each of you my very best wishes for the new year. 


Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D.


Enrollment, Retention, and Career Placement Update
  • In September, St. John’s welcomed its largest number of freshmen in seven years—3,253 new students, a 16 percent increase over last year’s entering class. The freshman class included 957 students from Catholic high schools, a 27 percent increase from last year.
  • The number of new graduate students rose to 1,395 this fall from 1,352 in 2014, a gain of 43 new students. The Peter J. Tobin College of Business alone added 28 more entering graduate students over the past year.
  • Freshman retention for the class of 2014 reached 80%, the highest freshman retention rate in the past decade.
  • For the Class of 2014, survey results show that the career placement of undergraduate students was 93.2% and 92.3% for graduate students. For the Class of 2015 the undergraduate career placement rate increased to 94.1% while the graduate career placement rate increased to 93.1%.
  • The Pamela Shea–Byrnes Catholic Scholars Fund drew $500,364 in support since its inception.
  • Since this past summer, some 1,300 participants have attended Alumni Relations events. Visit for information on how to be involved!


Mission Update
  • Sr. Margaret John Kelly, D.C., Ph.D, completed 21 years of distinguished service as founding executive director of the Vincentian Center for Church and Society. Under her direction, the Center furthered St. John’s commitment to supporting local parishes, promoting research on the causes and alleviation of poverty, and enhancing the role of the Church and University community through interdisciplinary educational programs on social justice.
  • More than 2,000 members of the St. John’s community signed up to volunteer throughout the city for University Service Day, on Saturday, September 26, part of our annual Founder’s Week activities. The theme of the 2015 celebration was “Be Vincentian: Look with Love, Move with Mercy.”
  • Campus Ministry celebrated Pope Francis’s historic visit to the United States through events honoring the Pontiff’s encyclical letter and coverage of the remarks he delivered to Congress, at the United Nations, in Madison Square Garden, and at the focus on family at the Philadelphia synod.