Members of a prestigious St. John’s University donor recognition group recently gathered at the New York Public Library for The Loughlin Society Winter Reception, an annual event designed to allow the University to express its gratitude for the support of its most generous donors.
The event, disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic in recent years, saw a gathering of alumni and current students convene at the seventh-floor rooftop terrace of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library. For these generous alumni, membership in The Loughlin Society is a way to show their appreciation for what was done for them by giving back and helping St. John’s to continue to serve the needs of students.
“As of the end of the last fiscal year, membership in The Loughlin Society stood at more than 1,800 members and our generous donors contributed $7,580,016,” shared Christian P. Vaupel, Ed.D., Vice President for Advancement and University Relations. “For them, an important part of the joy of living is found in their joy of giving, especially when they remember what it was like when they were students getting ready to begin their own careers.”
The Loughlin Society is named in honor of John Loughlin, the first Bishop of Brooklyn, who called upon the Vincentians to establish a Catholic college to serve the children of immigrants who did not have access to higher education. Membership is presently reserved for donors who make annual gifts to St. John’s of $1,000 or more, with that giving threshold increasing to $1,500 in the 2026 fiscal school year.
Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P., President of St. John’s, addressed donors by recounting that upon his arrival he was struck by the 150th anniversary banners on campus that read “Faithful to the Mission.” “St. John’s University has always been faithful to its founding mission to be a place for immigrants and their children to obtain a quality, Catholic education,” he said. “I love the tagline of our current brand campaign, Education That Elevates, as it summarizes all that we do at St. John’s. We elevate students’ minds through the power of learning and elevate their opportunities to get to a position where you all are now—and that is to be able to give back and help the next generation of St. John’s graduates.”
Following Fr. Shanley at the podium was Natalia Raquel Acevedo, a Bachelor of Arts candidate from St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Class of 2023 and member of the President’s Society—the University’s highest honor for an undergraduate—who shared her St. John’s story with the audience.
“As a first-generation college student and the daughter of an immigrant father, conventional thinking suggests that I should not be here,” shared Natalia. “But here at St. John’s, we are in the business of challenging conventional thinking.”
Natalia is also involved in the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, an organization that aims to create an inclusive community for all faiths. In addition, she serves as a Student Coordinator in the Student Equity Workshop program in the Office of Multicultural Affairs.
“Our University is a place where we can get involved, become leaders, and give back to the community,” Natalia said. “There are many students like me here at St. John’s. Due to your generosity and support, we receive a faith-based education while being exposed to so many opportunities, both in and out of the classroom. I am grateful for these opportunities. On behalf of my fellow students, I thank you.”
Visit The Loughlin Society for more information, including how to become a member.