June 03, 2013
Fifty years is a long time. But for the members of the Class of
1963, those years seemed to pass in the blink of an eye, especially
when they were reminiscing and sharing memories with their fellow
alumni at The Jubilarian Society Dinner.
embraced the milestone of their 50th Anniversary by contributing
generously to a Class Gift that will ultimately be used to endow a
scholarship for future St. John’s students. They have already
raised over $48,000, and according to Class Chairperson James J.
Reilly ’63CBA, expect to reach the $50,000 needed to establish the
scholarship in the near future.
“This will be the first time that a Class Gift was able to endow a
scholarship,” he said, “and that’s a really nice legacy for the
Class of 1963, something I’m very happy to be a part of. I went to
night school on Schermerhorn
Street, and I got a good Catholic and professional education at
St. John’s. The Vincentians gave us all a sense of the importance
of the value of reaching out to those in need, and those values
have stayed with me throughout my life. St. John’s mission made a
big impact on me, and I’m glad to see that those ideals are as
strong today as they were when I was a student. St. John’s is a
great institution, and if I can help in any way, I’m happy to do
The Jubilarian Society is reserved for alumni who are celebrating
or have already celebrated the 50th Anniversary of their graduation
from St. John’s. Although their lives have taken them in many
different directions after graduation, the opportunity to reconnect
with their former friends and classmates brought them all back home
to St. John’s.
was a dream come true for me when I graduated from St. John’s,”
remarked Alan J. Thompson ’63UC. “I was working during the day and
going to school at night, which wasn’t easy, but it was definitely
worth it. The University gave me a great education, and it served
me well over the years. After graduating from the Schermerhorn
Street campus I enjoyed a successful career in the insurance
industry. When I retired in 2003 I took up sculpting, something I
had always wanted to do. St. John’s encouraged us to try new
things, and I guess that has stayed with me even after all these
Not surprisingly, the University has changed dramatically since the
Jubilarians were students. For many who went to school on Lewis
Avenue or Schermerhorn Street, this was their first time on the
Queens campus. And even those who attended the Queens campus but
had not been back since graduation marveled at what the University
had become during those intervening years.
“When I was a student there were only two academic buildings on
campus – St. John Hall and St. Albert Hall,” recalled Claire
Sullivan ’63Ed. “This is my first time back at St. John’s since I
graduated, and it seems like only yesterday that we were going to
class and trying to figure out what our future would be like. This
anniversary celebration is such a nice thing for St. John’s and for
us graduates. I have to try to come back more often in the
John (’52C, ’63G) and Gloria Mihalik ’58G, ’63Ph.D. their
attachment to the University goes well beyond the degrees that they
earned so many years ago. They met at St. John’s when both were
studying Microbiology in the Graduate Division of St.
John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and this year are
celebrating both the 50th Anniversary of their graduation and their
50th Wedding Anniversary.
“This is our first time back in 50 years, and what changes we’ve
seen,” said Gloria. “I would never have believed that the
University could change so much if I didn’t see it for myself.
There are so many people from our class here tonight, and it’s
great to hear them tell about where their lives and careers have
taken them since we were students. Even though we’ve all gone our
separate ways, we all share the same connection to St. John’s. It’s
what keeps us together, and why we’re all here tonight for this
special celebration. John and I left the University with much more
than our academic degrees. We left with a loving spouse and have
shared each other’s life for the past 50 years.”
years since their arrival at St. John’s have been equally
fulfilling for Bart (’63CBA) and Virginia Frazzitta ’63CBA.
They met during the first day of Freshman Orientation on the
Schermerhorn Street campus, got engaged at the end of their Senior
year, and were married a few months after graduation. They have
carried the St. John’s spirit within them ever since.
“My memories of the years I spent at the University are absolutely
wonderful,” he acknowledged. “I was awarded a baseball scholarship
and played for two great coaches. Lou Carnesecca ’50C, ’60GEd,
’00HON was the Freshman Coach and Jack Kaiser ’49C was my Varsity
Coach. Those were great years for both Virginia and I, and St.
John’s is still important to both of us. Two of our daughters went
to the University, so we’re a real St. John’s family. I feel that
the Vincentian education is based on values that are important to
all of us. Tonight, as I look back over five decades, I can’t
believe that the time has passed so quickly. Now that we’re
officially Jubilarians, I guess that makes us senior members of the
St. John’s family. And what an honor that is!”