January 31, 2007
The moment one student leapt from her seat, another jumped up,
and then another, frantically waving for the auctioneers’
Moving like pistons, they tried to out-shout each other with
bids for an astonishing variety of items – a one-on-one
introductory class at Tiger Schulmann’s Karate, dinner and a movie,
a ballroom dance lesson.
The bidding “war” was in good fun, and for one of St. John’s
University’s most valued causes. Students, faculty and staff at the
Staten Island campus raised more than $4,000 by joining in the
Third Annual Founders Week Auction.
The proceeds will support one of the University’s most popular
service opportunities – the “International Plunge to Panama,” in
which students spend two weeks serving the needy in that
Central American nation.
The auction is one of scores of events held for Founders
Week, in which the St. John’s community celebrates and reflects
upon the legacy of St. Vincent de Paul. It was Vincent who founded
the Congregation of the Mission (also known as the Vincentian
Community) in France more than 300 years ago.
The Vincentian Community established St. John’s University in
1870. Today the University is internationally known for its focus
on academic excellence and programs promoting social change through
“This is something I love to do,” said Joseph Caldarera ’78 NDC,
who served as a co-auctioneer at the event. Caldarera said he
supported campus activities at St. John’s to express his gratitude
for the encouragement he enjoyed as an undergraduate.
“I always wanted to be the guy who could donate a million
dollars to the University, said Caldarera, a retired New York City
police lieutenant. “Though I can’t really give a million dollars, I
can do this.”
Also serving as auctioneer was Danny Burke, a junior in The
Peter J. Tobin College of Business at St. John’s. “This was wild,”
he said, “and for a really excellent cause.” Burke is President of
A Campus-Wide Effort
Faculty and administrators at the Staten Island campus supported
the event by providing a number of items for auction. For example,
Theresa Cantarella, Director of Financial Aid at the Staten Island
campus, baked and donated a batch of “Aunt Theresa’s Best-Ever
Homemade Chocolate Cookies.” Professor Paulette Hughes donated a
one-hour lesson in Ballroom Dancing.
Other items included a gift certificate for dinner at Filippo’s
restaurant and a movie at UA Stadium 16; a one-on-one, introductory
session at Tiger Schulmann’s Karate; and an authentic Irish Tea for
six to eight people with Sister Joan Mahoney, Campus Ministry.
“I think this is an important part of the Vincentian Mission,”
said student Corazon Grajales. “These service plunges let you help
people in places like Panama, New Orleans – places that shouldn’t
“I wouldn’t have missed it,” said another student, Fran
Ferrante. “We would want others to help us if we were in need.”
Founders Week this year was held from Thursday, Jan. 25, to
Wednesday, Jan. 31, on all five of St. John’s University’s
locations: the Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan campuses; the
Oakdale, NY, Graduate Center; and the Rome, Italy, campus.