Renovated Sullivan Hall Offices for The School of Education and Mission Organizations

September 13, 2023

The twin missions of education and St. John’s University’s Vincentian charism were united on September 11 in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the renovated first floor of Sullivan Hall.

Six months of renovation work produced a glittering office space that now houses the recruitment center for The School of Education, the University Mission Offices of Campus Ministry, and the Vincentian Institute for Social Action. In a lobby packed with representatives of all three institutions, James D. Wolfinger, Ph.D., Dean, The School of Education, noted the values shared by The School of Education and the Office of University Mission.

“Our work focuses on academic excellence and a commitment to moral principles,” Dean Wolfinger said. “We want our graduates to be professionals and scholars who advocate for equitable and ethical education, and who challenge students to be vanguards for powerful and positive change.”

“We focus on educating people to go forth and build a better, more inclusive, and more just world,” Dean Wolfinger continued. “In making our Vincentian ideals real, it’s only fitting that we share the first floor of Sullivan Hall together.”

The Office of University Mission works to ensure St. John’s fulfills its Catholic and Vincentian identities, following in the example of St. Vincent de Paul, whose ministry was rooted in helping those in need. In 2022, St. John’s students logged nearly 97,000 service hours in 125 agencies and at 11 sites on four continents.

Working under the umbrella of University Mission, Campus Ministry promotes Catholic and interfaith initiatives in areas of spiritual engagement, worship, and social justice. Among its initiatives, the Vincentian Institute for Social Action enables members of the St. John’s community to study issues of poverty and social injustice. The institute houses the Ozanam Scholars program and Academic Service-Learning and partners with a number of community agencies on social justice research projects.

The School of Education was established in 1908 and was only the second school in New York State to award graduate degrees to teachers. Today, it strives to prepare teachers committed to socially responsible education rooted in advocacy, leadership, and intellectual curiosity.

In praying over the renovated facility, Rev. Aidan Rooney, C.M., M.Div., M.Th.’78NDC, Executive Vice President for Mission, recognized the role The School of Education plays in maintaining St. John’s Vincentian identity.

“My prayer is that this becomes a place where students and ministers are formed, as they start mapping out a future to which God calls them,” he said.

Simon G. Møller, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, University Distinguished Professor, and Provost Endowed Chair, said the renovated Sullivan Hall facility is the latest in a series of measures designed to carry St. John’s into the future. 

“What the School of Education does is educate the next generation of teachers. It doesn’t get much more important than that,” he said. “This is an amazing facility and it has taken the work of a number of people to make it happen. I couldn’t be happier for St. John’s.” 

Demonstrating St. John’s commitment to sustainability, the renovated facility was designed with best practices for energy-efficiency and environmental friendliness. It is illuminated by high-efficiency LED light fixtures that automatically shut down when rooms are empty, conserving energy. A new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system was installed, accompanying a series of new and more efficient exterior windows.

Echoing Rev. Rooney’s blessing, University President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P., celebrated the ribbon-cutting with a toast. “Here’s to those who built this facility, those who work here, and those who come and go from here,” he said.