Picture of the DAC tower

Division of Student Success

The mission of the Division is to promote student success through collaborative partnerships that support the educational mission of St. John's University.

Policies and Procedures @StJohnsNow Request Form

To accomplish this mission, members of the Division work with students, faculty, and other administrators to:

  • Focus on student learning and facilitate for individual growth and development.
  • Generate a sense of community through active promotion of the institution's core values.
  • Enhance the quality of campus life by providing a broad range of services, programs and events.
  • Serve as advocates for students, removing barriers and helping them to resolve conflicts.
  • Student Affairs is committed to providing students with programs that address new student transitions, personal growth, leadership development, and decision-making skills.

Office Location and Hours

The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, Garden Level
Tel: 718-990-2080
[email protected]

Monday to Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Student Resource: Dean of Students

The Dean of Students is responsible for promoting student success, well being, and personal development. They provide student advocacy and also serve as a resource for student concerns. The Dean of Students is available to assist students who may be in crisis.

Students seeking support and/or assistance may contact the Dean of Students, Jackie Lochrie, at 718-990-6568 or [email protected].

Resources are available at Sexual Assault: You Are Not Alone. If you would like to meet with someone from SOAR (Sexual violence Outreach, Awareness, and Response), please call our Campus Support Advisor at 718-990-8484.

You are not alone — you can get help today!

Call the Center for Counseling and Consultation at 718-990-6384 during office hours and identify the situation as urgent. The receptionist will connect you with a clinician who, after assessing the situation, will provide specific direction about what to do.

After hours, evenings, weekends, and holidays, please call 718-990-6352 for the After-Hours Helpline. The After-Hours Helpline counselor will be able to assist you with your concerns and provide a specific plan about what to do.

As a Catholic and Vincentian university deeply concerned about the health and wellness of our students, St. John’s cares about your basic needs. We recognize that too many of our students struggle with not having reliable access to nutritionally adequate food due to lack of financial resources.

Any current students struggling with food insecurity can visit Your Basic Needs for assistance and resources.

Student Success Leadership Team

Student Success empowers students to thrive outside the classroom so they can succeed in it. Under the leadership of Vice President for Student Success and Retention Strategy Sarah Jean Kelly, J.D., the Student Success Leadership Team (SSLT) works to develop a supportive and engaged campus environment and ensure an exceptional experience for our diverse student population.

Sarah Jean Kelly

Vice President for Student Success and Retention Strategy
Newman Hall
Tel. 718-990-8358

Sarah Jean Kelly, J.D., was appointed Vice President for Student Success and Retention Strategy in September of 2022. She oversees all aspects of student success, including the Division of Student Affairs, the Freshman Center, and Academic Engagement and Partnerships. She is a member of the University’s senior management group and implements new strategic initiatives and executive projects to enable St. John’s to better serve its diverse student population.

Ms. Kelly joined St. John’s University School of Law in June 2016 as the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies, overseeing the law school’s LL.M. and Legal English programs, and over the past six years she has served in several different leadership roles. Prior to her current role, Ms. Kelly was the Vice Dean for Administration at the School of Law, where she had oversight of student services, academic programs, academic centers and institutes, academic and faculty support services, special events, and marketing and communications. She has extensive experience in successfully creating a student-centered culture and has a deep and demonstrated commitment to equity and inclusion.

Before joining the St. John’s community, she spent eight years at Georgetown University. Ms. Kelly began her time at Georgetown working in career education for undergraduate students, then spent several years at Georgetown Law where, among other responsibilities, she oversaw graduate academic programs. She began her career in higher education as an undergraduate admissions counselor at Wellesley College.

Ms. Kelly earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Wellesley College, her Master of Education degree in Social Foundations from the University of Virginia, and her Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

She lives on Long Island with her wife and their two children.

Director of Residence Life
Donovan Hall, Room C-16
Tel. 718-990-2417

Director of Campus Activities
D'Angelo Center, Room 125
[email protected]

Ebony J. Calvin serves as the Director of Campus Life. Within her role she advises the programming boards, cultural groups, and religious organizations recognized under Student Government, Inc. located on the Queens campus. She has dedicated over 10 years to advising students leaders and coordinating student activities at the University.

Ebony received her BS in Marketing from SUNY New Paltz and MBA in Executive Leadership from Tobin School of Business at St. John’s University.

A portrait photography of Eric Finkelstein

Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs
The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, G002
Tel. 718-990-6525

Eric M. Finkelstein serves as the Assistant Vice President for Planning and Outcomes for the Division of Student Success. He provides strategic oversight to the areas of Residence Life and New Student Orientation as a member of the student success leadership team. With bachelor and master’s degrees from Salisbury University and experience at four other higher education institutions, Eric has nearly 23 years of experience in catholic higher education, with 17 of those years as an administrator at St. John’s.

Eric has overseen the growth of the residence life program on and off campus, and led the program through the automation of student-facing administrative services, the launch of the StarRez housing management software, and training for staff on the global campuses. In his current role, Eric coordinates strategic initiatives across the division in accordance with the University’s strategic planning process. A member of the University’s Emergency Management team, Eric led Residence Life’s Hurricane Sandy and COVID-19 pandemic response, including the coordinated move-out of occupied buildings and safe, modified reopening for residential students, and initiated the student concerns committee at St. John’s. Eric lives on Long Island with his wife, three children, and golden doodle and is currently a doctoral candidate in the Educational Leadership program in the School of Education at St. John’s University.

David N. Gachigo, M.P.A, M.A.

Associate Dean Student Affairs and Interim Vice Provost for Staten Island
Campus Center, B9
Tel. 718-390-4345

David N. Gachigo serves as the Interim Vice Provost on our beautiful St. John’s University Staten Island Campus. Prior to his current role, David also served in other capacities within the Division of Student Affairs on the Queens campus and the older Manhattan campus at Murray Street. His diverse role in supporting student success has been rooted in the intentional coordination and collaboration of the Office of Student Life in concert with other campus community partners in supporting New Student Recruitment efforts, New Student Orientation, Student Engagement, Student Mentoring and Academic Support Services.

David received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Public Administration degrees from The University of Montana, Missoula. He also has, a Master of Arts in Government and Politics (International Relations Concentration) degree and an Advanced Certificate in International Law and Diplomacy from St. John’s University. He is currently working on his doctoral degree in World History.

Director of Finance and Business Operations
The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, G012
Tel. 718-990-1531

Director of Data Management and Assessment
The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, Garden Level
Tel. 718-990-7987

Dean of Students
The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, G023
Tel. 718-990-6568

A portrait photograph of Jackie Lochrie

As Dean of Students, Jackie Lochrie serves as the chief student response member of the Student Success team. She responds to students with conflicts, questions, or concerns, advocates for students, and provides resources to resolve challenges. Students facing basic needs insecurities, crises, or circumstances that affect their ability to be successful are provided with the necessary resources to thrive academically and socially, with overall well-being as a priority. Over Jackie’s 30 years of experience, she has led most areas of Student Affairs, providing a vast knowledge of St. John’s University and its growth. This has also afforded her a unique perspective of students’ ever-changing needs and their resilience in pursuing a St. John’s University degree. University-wide partners afford her the network to advocate and support students to secure what they need to attain student success.

Jackie was part of the planning and implementation to bring our first residence hall to an all-commuter campus and led the integration of smart-card technology. She was instrumental in assuring student needs were met with the expansion of global and Manhattan and Long Island campus locations. Jackie serves as the University Deputy Title IX Coordinator, ensuring all federal and state mandates are met, providing a fair and discriminate-free opportunity for students to receive accommodations, resources, and fair due process. Most recently, she was integral in the University’s efforts during Covid as part of a limited number of employees granted essential worker status with access to campus. In this first responder role, Jackie directly engaged with hundreds of students needing fiscal, academic, and emotional resources. Jackie liaised with faculty to ensure remote class accessibility and coursework accommodations. She partnered with constituents to coordinate essential travel, storage, basic needs funds, and extended housing.  She led the testing efforts of thousands of students and assured appropriate isolation and quarantine protocols while enabling students to participate in remote classes and maintain enrollment.

Originally from Western Pennsylvania, Jackie lives in Little Neck, NY. She is a three-time alumna of St. John’s and a doctoral candidate in the Instructional Leadership program at the St. John’s School of Education.

A portrait photograph of Luis Manzo

Assistant Vice President for Student Wellness
The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, G027
Tel. 718-990-6911

A portrait photograph of Joni O'Hagan

Executive Director of the Center for Student Success
St. Augustine Hall
Tel. 718-990-6376

Joni O’Hagan serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Student Success, the one-stop hub of resources for first-year students, inclusive of academic and career advising, academic achievement resources and tutoring, mentoring and other first-year transition programs. She has 25 years of experience in higher education within campus activities, leadership development, career services, mentoring, parent and family engagement, and student success. Additionally, she teaches Public Speaking, Business Writing and Liberal Studies as an Adjunct Professor within the Collins College of Professional Studies at St. John's. Joni holds memberships in NACADA, AHEPPP, EACE, NACE and NASPA, and MNYCCPOA.  Joni earned a BA in History from the University of Delaware and a MS in Education and an Advanced Certificate in Instructional Leadership from St. John’s University.

Executive Assistant
Newman Hall
Tel. 718-990-1921

A photograph of Karen Simons

Director of Parent and Family Relations
The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, G021
Tel. 718-990-5783

Karen Simons serves as the Director of Parent and Family Connections. In this role, Karen gets to partner with our St. John's families so that together we help support our students. Karen is the go-to person for families when they have a question or concern. She works to connect parents and families with the person or office on campus that can best help them. While her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Notre Dame and my MBA from Georgetown University have provided me with a strong academic foundation and my fundraising job as a Capital Campaign Director for Kellenberg Memorial High School has provided me with relevant work experience, it’s her real-life experience as the mom of five (with my youngest in college) that has best prepared me for my current role. Karen loves talking with and listening to parents and family members of our Johnnies. United with parents and families as members of the St. John’s family, together they guide and support  students from Accepted Student Day all the way through to Commencement.

A photograph of Scott Wallick

Director of Student Communications and Web Content
The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, G025
Tel. 718-990-2169

Professional Development

The Division of Student Success provides a variety of professional development opportunities including:

The Division of Student Success has one large meeting every month in which the VP for Student Success and  her team provide insights and updates from senior university leadership. In addition, end of the semester and end of the year gatherings are held in December and June.

This series is designed to provide new employees in their first year of employment with a common curriculum to increase cross-functional knowledge, improve collaboration, and encourage the sharing of ideas as we assist students in a variety of roles. The series is conversational and over lunch, designed for new employees to participate as a cohort and learn and grow together.

For more information on the Lunch and Learn series, please contact Eric Finkelstein, Assistant Vice President and Chief of Staff, at [email protected].

Module 1: Welcome from Student Affairs, Mission, Equity and Inclusion

With Sarah Jean Kelly, Vice President for Student Success and Retention Strategy; Dr. Rachel Pereira, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion; and Rev. Aidan Rooney, C.M., Executive Vice President for Mission.

Module 2: Engagement Opportunities and Student Development

With Ebony Calvin, Assistant Dean of Student Life; Dorothy Longworth, Director of Campus Recreation; and Amber Wilson, Director of First Year Mentoring.

Module 3: Student Wellness and Crisis Response

With Dr. Luis Manzo, Assistant Vice President for Student Wellness; and Jackie Lochrie, Dean of Students.

Module 4: Budgeting 101 

With Kevin James, Director of Finance and Business Operations.

Module 5: Advising, Student Success, New Student Experience, and Parent Relations

With Joni O’Hagan, Executive Director of the Center for Student Success; Eric Finkelstein, Assistant Vice President and Chief of Staff; Samuel Baah, Associate Director of Orientation and New Student Experience; and Karen Moritz Simons, Director of Parent and Family Connections.

Module 6: Residence Life and Conduct

With Jason T. Bartlett, PhD, Director of Residence Life; and Jack Flynn, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Conduct.

Module 7: University Career Services

With members of the Career Services team.

The Student Success Coffee Break series is designed to provide ongoing professional development for employees of the division. Sessions in the series will cover a variety of topics designed to cultivate a culture of continuous learning and development, and usually something sweet to eat and warm to drink.

For more information on the Coffee Break series, please contact Eric Finkelstein, Assistant Vice President and Chief of Staff, at [email protected].

March 6, 2024: Engaging Students on Social Media

This presentation provided new and innovative strategies to capture our students' attention for events, programs, and important communications. It was co-presented by Scott Wallick, Director of Student Communication and Web Content, and Cherrelle Nicholson, Associate Director of Digital Communications.

The Summer Book Club is a professional learning community of colleagues who enjoy learning something new. Between June and August, interested colleagues meet four times over refreshments to discuss a common read, typically on a topic related to our work.

For more information on the Summer Book Club please contact Eric Finkelstein, Assistant Vice President and Chief of Staff, at [email protected].

2024 Summer Book Club

The inaugural Summer Book Club selected The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness by Jonathan Haidt. As we reconsider the students we serve (and how we serve them) in higher education, this book provides a perspective to help us better understand their lived experience as they arrive on our campus.

This fund is available to cover conference attendance, webinars, workshops, and other opportunities and is funded at the unit level. St. John’s University is a member of National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) at the divisional level.

Student Communications

Student Communications works to educate and inform students on the programs, events, and opportunities that significantly impact their experiences at St. John's. We promote student success through collaborative partnerships that support the educational mission of the University. To support these strategic goals, we:

  • Support student learning, growth, and development
  • Encourage engagement and a sense community for all students
  • Enhance the quality of student life through services, programs, and events
  • Promote the University’s mission and core values

The Division utilizes Emma to send students important announcements, opportunities, and promotional information via Emma. To sign up or manage your subscription, please visit this page.

Contact Information

Scott Wallick
Director of Student Communications and Web Content
The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, Garden Level
[email protected]

Any member of the University community may submit a request for a student communication via the St. John's Now request form. Requests must be received 10 business days in advance of the target distribution date.

To best meet your communication goals while recognizing the feedback we receive from students, we avoid the “cafeteria” approach. Instead, we choose to understand your needs to help you meet your goals with the tools and techniques we have developed and continue to improve.

Currently we communicate with students via these platforms:

For assistance with the electronic campus signs (e-boards), please contact Marketing and Communications.

* We are only able to add events for the Division of Student Affairs and student groups and organizations. Other members of the University community may contact their Marketing and Communications liaisons for assistance adding their events to the calendar.

Every request is reviewed to ensure the communication is appropriate, adheres to these guidelines, and is complete and meets quality standards. Requests must be received 10 business days in advance of the target distribution date.


For a communication to be distributed to a broad selection of students, it must:

  • Be critical and germane to the University’s mission and values;
  • Be essential to a University office with official approval and endorsement of that office;
  • Support an issue of student health or safety;
  • Provide information for a mandatory student responsibility or event; or
  • Promote a significant opportunity, promotion, or special event.

Best Practices

  • Be brief.
  • Clearly state your goal, i.e., what you want students to do.
  • Make your message actionable; give the reader something to act on or click.
  • Data shows effective subject lines are very short. Aim for two to three words.
  • Avoid using formatting for emphasis (e.g., bold, color, large fonts); instead, rewrite.
  • If an event requires registration or RSVP, use a form.
  • Try to use the second-person grammatical voice, e.g., “you should” and not “students should”.
  • Specify a contact point by phone and e-mail.

We oversee mass e-mail sent to students to ensure that communications are consistent, accurate, and coordinated. All unsolicited mass e-mail to students must be approved in advance by the director of student communications.

Typically, we only send e-mail to students for significant announcements regarding registration, important deadlines, and other need-to-know information. Such e-mail should be compelling, brief, and to the point.

Routine information about campus events, activities, programs, etc., may be promoted via other communication channels Our office is responsible for maintaining the integrity and effectiveness of e-mail as a platform of communication with students.

Surveys and Research

If your request includes a survey as part of research, Institutional Research approval is required. For information on this process, IR Tools and Resources.

If a random sample of students is required as part of the project, a list may be provided to us by Institutional Research if requested.

Social media is the most effective means of communicating with a large, nontargeted student population; posts are shared via our official Division of Student Success social media accounts to reach an active and engaged audience on their preferred platforms. Our content adheres to the Social Media Community Guidelines.

Graduate Assistantships and Fellowships

The Division of Student Success offers exciting Doctoral Fellowships and Graduate Assistant opportunities for highly qualified, ambitious, and motivated graduate students in many of the departments throughout the Division.

Graduate Assistantships offer tuition remission and a stipend as part of the compensation package depending on the position. Please note that there are a limited number of positions available with the Division of Student Success.

Any available positions will be posted to the Graduate Assistantships and Fellowships page (please see the bottom of the page under "Division of Student Success"). Please review this page for information on the required academic criteria and required forms.

If you have any questions about your application, please contact [email protected].