Employee Convocation Honors St. John’s Faculty, Administrators, and Staff

May 24, 2024

Days after celebrating its most recent graduating class, St. John’s University paused to acknowledge the contributions of its longtime employees.

The University’s annual Employee Recognition Convocation on May 23 honored nine employees with Outstanding Achievement medals. Another 26 retiring employees were presented with Certificates of Recognition for their years of service to the University.

The convocation, held at Carnesecca Arena, followed a weeklong series of graduation ceremonies, climaxed by the University’s 154th Undergraduate Commencement on May 19. A lunch followed the convocation at Taffner Field House

“We have been on this stage a few times lately,” University President Brian J. Shanley, O.P., said in his welcome remarks. “Despite the fact that we might self-identify with our particular jobs, we are doing something much bigger together. That much bigger purpose is that we are all educators. We are all engaged in educating young people.”     

In all, 90 employees were acknowledged, including 52 for 25 years of service. Three more employeesWilliam J. Boyle, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Division of Arts and Humanities, The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies; Gary V. Mongiovi, Ph.D. ’78CBA, Professor, Department of Economics and Finance, The Peter J. Tobin College of Business; and Ann M. Hurt ’89MLS, Registrar, School of Lawwere recognized for 40 years of service to St. John’s.

Joseph Sciame ’71Ed, the recently retired Vice President, Office of Community Relations, was acknowledged for a 60+-year association with the University that began with his hiring in 1962.

“It’s been incredible,” Mr. Sciame said of his long tenure at the University. “St. John’s commitment to a quality education and a spirit of service enables people to become their best selves.” 

Keaton Wong, J.D., Associate Vice President for Human Resources, presented Outstanding Administrator Achievement medals to three administrators: Lauren Alexis Drakakis, Information Technology Systems Architect, Office of Information Technology; Liauty E. Elie ’11C, ’16GEd, Assistant Director, Office of Student Financial Services; and Sr. Patricia Evanick, D.C. ’97GEd, Campus Minister for Faith Formation and Leadership, Office of Campus Ministry.

Gregory A. Danca, Jr. ’13CPS, Quality Assurance Investigator, Office of Public Safety; Eileen T. Jounakos ’90CBA, Department Chair Secretary, Department of Philosophy, St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and Diane M. Spitz, Department Chair Secretary, Department of Psychology, St. John’s College, received Outstanding Staff Achievement medals.

Nancy S. Kaplan ’90SVC, ’92MBA, ’94PD, ’00Ed.D., Vice Provost for Academic Engagement and Partnerships, presented Outstanding Faculty Achievement medals to Keith Cozine, Ph.D., Chair and Associate Professor, Division of Criminal Justice and Homeland Security, Collins College of Professional Studies; Courtney Selby, J.D., Professor of Legal Research and Associate Dean for Library Services, School of Law; and Yong Yu, Ph.D., Professor and Graduate Director, Department of Biological Sciences, St. John’s College.

Among the retiring employees were André McKenzie, Ed.D., Vice Provost, Academic Support Services, Office of the Provost, whose career at St. John’s began in 1986 as Assistant Dean of Student Development. Dr. McKenzie served as distinguished speaker and received the President’s Medal at the University’s undergraduate Commencement in 2022.  

See the complete list of honorees and watch the video of the 2024 Employee Recognition Convocation.