To the University Community:
The Board was notified earlier today by Father Donald Harrington
of his intention to retire from his position as President of St.
John’s University, effective July 31, 2013. This board has had the
privilege of working with Father Harrington as he has led St.
John’s into the 21st century.
During Father Harrington’s 24 years at St. John’s, our
University has achieved extraordinary advances in its national and
international reputation and academic profile. What was a regional
commuter school when he arrived, today receives more than 50,000
applications annually, with more than 4,000 students living in
campus housing. The footprint of the University today reinforces
its identity as a metropolitan university yet includes an
exceptional international studies program with premier sites in
Paris and Rome. In the past 10 years alone, more than half a dozen
major new facilities and academic buildings have changed the
landscape of our campuses.
The tenure of Father Harrington as president has been a period
of unrivaled growth, expansion and achievement for our University.
He has been a transformative leader who guided this institution,
nurtured its community, cultivated excellence and generated
unprecedented levels of enthusiasm and support. At the same time,
the University he departs has remained dedicated to service and
education, prime components of our mission since St. John’s was
founded 143 years ago. Such has been Father Harrington’s
accomplishment as president – extraordinary, institution-wide
progress coupled with unwavering commitment to the heritage that
defines St. John’s as a Catholic university.
Father Harrington has also embedded the Vincentian mission
deeply within the University. St. John’s grants hundreds of
millions of dollars in financial aid annually; 40 percent of our
freshman class each year can be categorized as very high need
students; our Vincentian Institute for Social Action allows
students to address issues of global poverty and social injustice;
St. John’s Advantage Academy operates a partnership with the New
York City Department of Homeless Services to break the cycle of
poverty through education; and St. John’s Bread & Life soup
kitchen and community-assistance organization is a platform for
research and learning that helps 25,000 clients and provides more
than 460,000 meals annually. These deeds would not have been
possible without Father Harrington at the helm.
An announcement will be made in the coming weeks regarding the
transition to new leadership. During this time, I encourage all of
us who make up the St. John’s community – faculty, staff, students
and alumni – to share with Father Harrington our gratitude and best
wishes for the next chapter in his life.
Peter P. D’Angelo
Chairman, Board of Trustees