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2016 Weekend Recap

Her student days at St. John’s meant so much to Amy Furman ’10CPS that she had to return to the Queens campus for the University’s first Grand Alumni Homecoming Weekend, June 3–4.

 “I’m so happy to be back,” said Furman, who majored in public relations.  “St. John’s changed my life. It set me on a great path, socially and professionally, and I made friends and contacts who are still important to me. I’ll always feel close to this University.”

“I couldn’t miss it,” said David Farella ’15CPS. He watched his dad, Steven, a 1977 graduate, accept a Distinguished Alumni Award. “St. John’s is part of my life,” said the younger Farella, who studied advertising communication. “I love New York, and to me, St. John’s is the best school in the city.”

They had plenty of company, with 1,487 graduates and their families joining in the University’s biggest alumni celebration. For the first time, the full schedule of events took place in a single weekend, with activities for all ages and class years, from the 1940s through the 2000s.

View the full galleries on Flickr:

“This weekend is about what our University is—the people who are St. John’s,” said Rev. Bernard M. Tracey, C.M., Executive Vice President for Mission and Interim Vice President for University Advancement. “Our alumni live what this University is about, day in and day out, in their careers, their home lives, and the way they serve so many throughout the world.”

Though forecasts predicted clouds and rain, the sun appeared on Friday afternoon and returned the next day. Individual College and School Distinguished Alumni Award Ceremonies and Receptions launched the weekend’s activities, honoring accomplished recent and older graduates.  Saturday’s festivities began with a 5K Run/Walk and Kids Fun Run, and Academic Lectures.

Hosting a Brunch and a Q&A, Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D., President, offered updates on the University’s Strategic Priorities, which emphasize “ensuring student success.” He also shared the enrollment outlook for fall: St. John’s is on track for a freshman class of more than 3,000 students, with an average SAT of 1115 and high school GPA of 90.

A Family Event
For many, the Alumni Great Lawn Party was a high point. The scent of grilled hot dogs and hamburgers hovered above hundreds of graduates who marked their spaces with blankets and lawn chairs. Carnival rides, games, and food booths turned the campus into a giant amusement park. “I love this event,” said Kevin Reiter ’00P, a graduate of the physician assistant program. He brought his nine-year-old son, David, and four-year-old daughter, Emma. “It’s an ideal family outing for all of us.”

The day concluded with the Grand Alumni Signature Celebration Event. Guests filled the pews of St. Thomas More Church for Mass and an award ceremony honoring outstanding graduates. Immediately afterward, the weekend’s participants enjoyed cocktails and dinner in the D’Angelo Center Living Room and Ballroom.

“This was worth attending,” said Pedro Gomez ’09C, ’11MBA. “St. John’s packed a lot into one weekend—the Great Lawn Party, the Academic Lectures, Mass. Where else could we have so much fun while reconnecting with the University we love?”