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President's Newsletter

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

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

With the start of the fall 2016 semester, I would like to share with you recent updates, achievements, and new developments here at St. John’s University.

In this issue of the President’s Newsletter, we highlight the accomplishments of our students in scholarship, athletics, and service. We also introduce three noted scholars and academic leaders who recently assumed the position of dean and 39 new faculty members with distinguished backgrounds in teaching and research. Furthermore, we celebrate the accomplishments of our alumni who were recognized with distinguished alumni awards during our first Grand Alumni Homecoming Weekend and the 90th Anniversary Gala of the School of Law.  

I am also pleased to announce that William L. Collins ’76C, ’12HON has recently been elected Chair of the Board of Trustees. Bill Collins is a dedicated alumnus who has supported St. John’s University in various capacities over many years. Please join me in congratulating Bill on his new leadership role.

In my State of the University address, I spoke about the major successes we realized this year in recruitment, enrollment, retention, and placement. I also emphasized the need to sustain change to ensure that we are building an even stronger foundation for student success both in the classroom and in their professional lives.

I remain proud of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni and appreciate the continued support of the St. John’s community.


Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D.


Enrollment, Retention, and Career Placement Update
  • This fall, for the second consecutive year, St. John’s will enroll more than 3,235 new freshman, making the University the nation’s largest Catholic institution of higher education in freshman enrollment. In addition, more than 400 new transfer students have enrolled, a seven percent increase over last year. 
  • Catholic high school enrollment remains strong, with 30 percent of this year’s entering class having attended a Catholic secondary institution.
  • The Staten Island campus projects more than 245 new freshman, a 53 percent increase over last year’s enrollment and the highest in more than six years.
  • Freshman retention rate for the fall 2015 class has increased to 83.5 percent, which equates to over 100 more freshman students returning for their sophomore year as compared to the previous year.
  • University-wide, the number of new graduate students who have registered for fall has increased by three percent compared to the same time last year.
  • The number of international students who have submitted tuition deposits rose by 16 percent over this time last year, with a projected enrollment increase of 15 percent.
  • University Career Services launched a pilot externship program in January that provided students with a three-day “shadowing” opportunity at the offices of 18 participating employers, seven of whom were St. John’s alumni.
  • On-campus recruiting activities continued to increase this past year, with 55 employers posting 224 positions and conducting 692 interviews on-site at St. John’s.
  • Recent graduates achieved a 94.1 percent placement rate in terms of employment or placement at graduate schools within six months of graduation.


Athletics Update
  • A record 203 St. John’s student-athletes were named to the BIG EAST All-Academic Team for the 2015–16 academic year.
  • Seventy-eight percent of the University’s student-athletes achieved a cumulative grade point average above 3.0 in 2015–16.
  • The Red Storm won three BIG EAST Championships as women’s soccer earned the regular-season title, while women’s basketball and men’s tennis captured the conference’s tournament crowns.
  • St. John’s student-athletes dedicated over 2,413 hours to service projects as all 17 teams were active in the community.
  • At the 2016 Olympic Games, Team USA fencer Daryl Homer ’13CPS took home a silver medal in men’s individual saber, while Dagmara Wozniak ’13C earned a bronze medal in the women’s team saber competition



Advancement Update
  • The first Grand Alumni Homecoming Weekend (June 3–4, 2016) drew 1,487 graduates and their families to the Queens campus for activities including class reunions, alumni award ceremonies, a jubilarian celebration, and the popular Great Lawn Party, featuring food, rides, and games. Next year’s event is scheduled for June 2–3, 2017.
  • Reflecting continued support for today’s students, alumni and friends contributed a total of $20.62 million in 2015–16—the second best non-campaign fund raising record in St. John’s history.
  • Giving to alma mater promises to remain strong in 2016–17, which began with a 19 percent higher alumni participation rate than this time last year.



Mission Update
  • As the Vincentian Community celebrates its 200th Anniversary in the United States, the University’s theme for this year’s Founder’s Week (September 20–27) is “Vincentian Education: Illuminating Minds, Creating Opportunities, Serving the World.” 
  • As part of the Vincentian Convocation, Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, C.M., Ed.D., President, DePaul University, delivered the Vincentian Chair of Social Justice Lecture at St. Thomas More Church on Thursday, September 22. The event honored these individuals:

    Vincentian Mission Award
    David L. Gregory, J.S.D.,
    Dorothy Day Professor and Executive Director of the Center for Labor and Employment Law, St. John’s School of Law

    Caritas Medal
    Barrier Free Living
    Accepted by Paul Feuerstein
    President and CEO

    St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Medal
    Marie C. Fouché ’11G
    Ladies of Charity International Representative to the Vincentian Family Haiti Initiative; Ladies of Charity, St. John’s University

    St. Vincent de Paul Medal
    Stephen Hernon ’07GEd
    Principal, St. Brigid School

    Frédérick Ozanam Award
    Don Bosco Workers, Inc.
    Accepted by Gonzalo Cruz
    Executive Director

    President’s Medal
    Rev. Stephen C. Bicsko, C.M.
    Retired Chaplain, St. John’s School of Law

    Degree of Doctor of Pedagogy
    Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., Ed.D.
    President, DePaul University
  • Supporting the Strategic Priorities Action Plan, the Office of University Mission will implement a pilot program to make the mission orientation and development process more robust, with an increased focus on “Being Catholic,” “Being Vincentian,” and “SJU as Catholic and Vincentian.”
  • In collaboration with DePaul and Niagara Universities, the Office of University Mission sponsored a Vincentian Heritage Tour in France (June 29–July 1) for seven employee members of the Vincentian Mission Institute.
  • The University has introduced the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, enabling students to gain a better understanding of the prison community by taking a course with inmates at Rikers Island.