St. John's University Announces Commencement 2024 Honorees

Confetti at 2022 SJU commencement
March 15, 2024

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Brian Browne, 917-561-7068, [email protected]

(Queens, NY, March 15, 2024) – St. John’s University will confer honorary degrees upon Most Reverend Robert J. Brennan ’84C, Bishop, Diocese of Brooklyn, NY; Edward A. Caban ’89SVC, Commissioner, New York City Police Department; and Robert F. Kalenka ’84CBA, ’91MBA, Corporate Vice President, Investor Communication Solutions Operations, Broadridge Financial Solutions, at the Undergraduate Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 19, at 10 a.m. on the Great Lawn of the Queens, NY, campus.

Jim Ziolkowski, Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of the international nonprofit organization, buildOn, will be the Commencement speaker at the Undergraduate Commencement Exercises, and he will also be conferred an honorary degree during the ceremony.

Mr. Ziolkowski founded buildOn in 1991, leading the organization to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through service and education. buildOn implements youth service learning in underserved schools in the US and constructs schools in economically impoverished countries. Mr. Ziolkowski has been featured on numerous television news stories and is The New York Times bestselling author of Walk In Their Shoes: Can One Person Change The World?

“Commencement Weekend 2024 will see a return to campus of a great collection of our best and brightest alumni, and in Jim Ziolkowski, a person that lives the enduring St. John’s mission of service to others,” stated Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P., President. “The Class of 2024 will receive one final lesson on the importance of the call to service as demonstrated by the honorees and speakers participating.”

St. John’s will host Commencement Exercises for graduate-level students earning degrees from our six Schools and Colleges on Friday, May 17. The invited speakers for each of these ceremonies are as follows:

Graduate-Level Commencement Exercises for
St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies
Friday, May 17
10 a.m., Carnesecca Arena, Queens Campus

Ceremony Speaker:
Patricia M. Reilly ’74C, ’75G
Government Affairs Consultant
Bolton-St. Johns

Graduate-Level Commencement Exercises for
The School of Education
The Peter J. Tobin College of Business
Friday, May 17
4 p.m., Carnesecca Arena, Queens Campus

Ceremony Speaker: 
Frank Sadlier Dinger, Jr. ’71MBA
Chairman and Special Adviser
William H. Sadlier, Inc.

School of Law Commencement Exercises
Monday, May 20
5 p.m., Carnesecca Arena, Queens Campus

Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient
Hon. Rowan D. Wilson
Chief Judge
New York State Court of Appeals

Please visit the Commencement Schedule of Events webpage for a complete list of ceremonies.

About St. John’s University: 

St. John’s University is a private, coeducational, Roman Catholic University founded in 1870 by the Congregation of the Mission (the Vincentians), with its main campus located in Queens, NY. St. John’s University also has New York campuses on Staten Island (until June 2024) and in Manhattan; a campus in Rome, Italy; and locations in Paris, France, and Limerick, Ireland. St. John’s University is comprised of six Schools and Colleges, including the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences; The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies; St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; The Peter J. Tobin College of Business (including the Maurice R. Greenberg School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science); The School of Education; and the School of Law.

As of Fall 2023, the University has more than 1,400 full-time and part-time faculty; almost 16,000 undergraduate students; and 3,992 graduate students from 44 states and 119 countries. St. John’s offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs, including 16 doctoral programs.

Media must RSVP for Commencement in advance. Please contact the University’s Office of Media Relations at 718-990-1621; [email protected].

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