June 14, 2008
After an exciting
first night, Reunion Celebration Weekend 2008 continued with
on-campus events on Saturday, June 14. Attendees who stayed
overnight in the residence halls enjoyed breakfast in Montgoris
Dining Hall and a few early risers even took advantage of a yoga
class on the Residence Village lawn.
Tours of the campus were provided via trolley car for those who
wanted to get a look at the physical transformation of St.
John’s. Many had been students at other campuses that have
since closed, while others had not been back to the Queens campus
Within the last 10 years, residence halls, St. Thomas More
Church, a soccer stadium and other facilities have been built while
several other construction projects are currently under way
including townhouses for students and a new University
Center/Academic Center, which will house student and academic
Lou Caldarola '58CBA, who had returned twice since graduating,
was impressed with the changes to the Queens campus. “I would
have loved to go to school with these facilities,” he
exclaimed. Barbara McCusker '68Ed, '71GEd proudly observed
that changes to the campus are making an impact. “There’s a
dynamic sense that St. John’s is becoming more upscale and
improving not only its campus but its student body,” she
said. “This is New York City and we’re surrounded by other
elite schools like Columbia, New York University and Fordham.
So St. John’s is stepping up.”
Although the face of the campus is changing, the Vincentian
mission remains the same. Rev. Kevin G. Creagh, C.M. '91SVC,
'04PD, Associate Vice President for International Sites and
Chaplain for Institutional Advancement led a tour of St. Thomas
More Church, giving reunionites a glimpse into the many ways that
St. John’s Vincentian identity is alive and well today, as it was
in their student days.
“[The Vincentians] believed in tending to the physical needs
first,” Creagh stated as he shared about the early work of the
Vincentians in New York. “It’s hard to educate people if
they’re hungry,” he explained. Creagh discussed the many ways
that Vincentians chose to serve the underprivileged in New York
including establishing St. John’s University—and the many ways they
are still making their mark in New York by serving
McCusker, who also attended the church tour with two of her
sorority sisters recalled the emphasis on values at St. John’s in
her student days. ”People from St. John’s had a sense of
working hard and doing the right thing,” she said. “Of the
130+ credits we took, 33 of those were some combination of religion
and philosophy classes.” And not much has changed.
Students still take classes on philosophy and religion today to
gain an understanding and appreciation for St. John’s unique
In addition to Saturday’s tours, the afternoon and evening held
anniversary suites for those celebrating the 25, 40 and 50 year
anniversaries of their graduation from St. John’s, a Loughlin
Society Reception and 50th Anniversary Medal Ceremony, Gala
Cocktail Reception and Gala Dinner Dance.
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