In a festive celebration of all things St. John’s University, the inaugural observance of Johnnies Day was a resounding success.
The day-long event built around home games played by the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams was preceded by targeted digital promotion on social media and culminated with victories on and off the basketball court.
“Johnnies Day was months in the making and the feedback received has been overwhelmingly positive,” stated Christian P. Vaupel, Ed.D., Vice President for Advancement and University Relations.
The day began with a ceremonial proclamation issued by New York City Mayor Eric L. Adams that praised St. John’s University for its contributions to the success of New York for the last century and a half and concluded with the designation of Saturday, February 11, as “Johnnies Day” throughout New York City.
The 1870 Court tailgate party, an alumni pregame reception held at Stout NYC, helped launch the festivities. Hosted by Majority Owner of Stout NYC Hospitality Group and proud graduate Martin Whelan ’84CBA, the lively event set the stage for further merriment to come.
Meanwhile, as commuters and basketball fans passed through the rotunda of Pennsylvania Station, they were greeted by a backdrop of St. John’s branding. The Penn Station domination covered the busiest transportation facility in the Western Hemisphere with St. John’s “Education That Elevates” brand campaign images and promotions. The images and innovative design elements will be on display throughout March. Cheerful fans snapped selfies as student volunteers distributed Johnnies T-shirts, rally towels, and treats. Members of the Cheerleading team turned up the music, energy, and pregame excitement.
Inside Madison Square Garden, a ceremony was held moments before the noon tip-off of the Men’s Basketball game that featured the Red Storm against the Providence Friars. Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. presented Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P., President, with a proclamation and recognized the University for its historic growth and commitment to excellence.
“St. John’s is a vital part of the economic engine of Queens County, New York City, and beyond,” observed Borough President Richards.
In the crowd of 10,210 were many special St. John’s alumni. They included local and national radio personalities Danielle Monaro ’95SVC and Diamond Cooper ’16CPS from Z-100; Power 105.1’s Nyla Symone ’17CPS; and Larry “The Duck” Dunn, the host of First Wave SiriusXM.
Fueling off the energy of the spirited crowd and with some clutch defense and spirited play, the Johnnies never trailed in the second half. When the final buzzer sounded, the St. John’s Men’s Basketball team notched a victory over a ranked opponent, taking down No. 20/17 Providence, 73–68.
As fans streamed out of the “World’s Most Famous Arena” into the bright sunshine of an unseasonably warm winter day, celebratory chants of “We Are St. John’s” and “Let’s Go Johnnies” echoed across Seventh Avenue.
Later in the afternoon, the Women’s Basketball team—led by 26 points from senior guard Jayla Everett—triumphed over DePaul, 77–61, at Carnesecca Arena on the Queens, NY, campus. While Jayla led the charge, five Red Storm players scored in double-figures for the first time this season and the Red Storm were in command from start to finish.
As these games were being played, the far-reaching and extended family of St. John’s chimed in on social media, expressing alma mater pride while sharing selfies and congratulatory greetings.
Over the course of the extended promotion of the special occasion, the use of #JohnniesDay and #SJUelevates garnered a significant increase in digital impressions and engagements (i.e., reactions, likes, shares, etc.). Students, parents, alumni, employees, and fans of the University rallied around the message and mission of Johnnies Day and the uplifting experience found at St. John’s.