August 19, 2009
Meet Jacquelyn Torres
‘10, 2009-10 President’s
This spring, 29 new members were inducted into St. John’s
University’s President’s Society. This most prestigious
organization is made up of students whose scholarship, integrity
and maturity are accompanied by leadership skills demonstrated by
their significant contribution to the extracurricular life at St.
Founded in 1968 to showcase the “best and brightest” among the
student body during a tumultuous time when the national perception
of college students was vastly negative, the President’s Society
still represents all that is best in St. John’s students.
The new Society members—19 female and 10 male—are now considered
staff in the office of University President Rev. Donald J.
Harrington, C.M. During the upcoming year, they will typically
attend 15-20 presidential functions, acting as hosts for honored
guests who might include world or national leaders, Board members,
industry titans, and St. John’s alumni and friends.
Interested students apply for membership in the Society in their
third year and serve during their fourth year. Three equally
important criteria are considered: academic achievement (generally
a 3.5 grade average); a comprehensive knowledge of the University
and an ability to articulate it fluently; and sustained leadership
within the University that includes service both on and off St.
John’s campuses. Members are selected by a committee of University
administrators after an intensive application and interview
We invite you to meet, Jacquelyn Torres ’10, 2009-10 President’s
A Proud Ambassador of St. John’s:
Jacquelyn Torres ‘10
Jacquelyn Torres faced some technical difficulties when
transmitting her President’s Society application online. After some
frantic phone calls to the Department of Information Technology,
she managed to successfully send her application about a minute
before it was due.
After several anxious weeks, she received word from her family that
two letters had arrived from St. John’s. That day, she was
participating in a community service project with her sorority, and
would have to wait until late in the evening to open them. “I
thought, ‘Did one say yes and one say no? Did they make a
Happily, both letters welcomed Jackie into the President’s Society.
The other simply provided a schedule of events requiring her
participation now that she had attained membership in this esteemed
organization. “I couldn’t believe they selected me out of so many
well qualified applicants,” she observed.
Jackie first heard about the President’s Society in the middle of
her sophomore year. At the time, several of her friends were
members, and her curiosity was piqued whenever she saw them don
their blue suits for special events. “They would get dressed up and
go out to these evening events, and I was really curious what it
was all about.”
When Jackie learned that members of the President’s Society serve
as ambassadors for St. John’s, she immediately saw this as a
wonderful way to give back to the University that has given her a
great deal. “I have received more than just an education. I’m
coming out of the experience with so much more.”
A Life Oriented Toward Service
Jackie is no stranger to service. She attended Preston High School
in the Bronx, where all students were committed to a certain amount
of service hours that increased each year. It was there she learned
that through serving others, she was also being served.
St. John’s was a perfect fit for Jackie. Already passionate about
service, she has embraced the Vincentian mission wholeheartedly.
Her goal has been to involve herself with projects that each
reflects at least one pillar of the University’s Catholic,
Metropolitan and Vincentian mission.
She joined Theta Phi Alpha, a sorority she describes as very
service-driven. “Our mission is in line with Vincent’s. We choose
to serve those who are less fortunate than ourselves.” She and
other students in Greek Life recently represented St. John’s at
Give Kids the World, a non-profit resort for children with
life-threatening illnesses and their families, located in
Through her participation in St. John’s Leadership Development
program, Jackie participated in the University’s New Orleans
‘service plunge’ to help restore houses devastated by Hurricane
Katrina. There she spent time caulking, priming and painting homes
and being present to families who have experienced catastrophic
loss. She called the experience “life-changing,” and intends to go
Professors Always Ready to Help
An Elementary Education major, Jackie praised the faculty and staff
of St. John’s for providing all the resources students need to
excel. “I remember how welcomed I felt and how welcome I still
feel. It’s not just a happy face when you walk in the door, but
having all these resources and all these people actually caring
about you throughout your four years here. It may seem unusual that
a University cares this much, but it’s true.”
From the beginning, Jackie said, she has received vast amounts of
personal support—from administrators, from her freshman advisor and
from professors who have mentored her and continue to express their
concern for her future both in and out of the classroom.
As a member of Student Government, Jackie has seen firsthand how
getting involved and working on behalf of her fellow students can
yield positive results. She recently contacted Student Services to
inform them there were no breakfast meat options available for
Muslim students. Now turkey bacon and turkey sausage have been
added to the menu.
Having had such positive experiences at St. John’s, Jackie wanted
to educate incoming freshmen about the array of opportunities
available to them. Last year, she served as an Orientation leader,
and this past summer as an orientation coordinator, working
directly with orientation leaders.
“I love St. John’s,” she said. “I want to give incoming students
the best possible impression. The first experience they get of St.
John’s is through us and we have the power to make or break that
experience. I want to make sure everyone feels welcome.”
Jackie feels that every student should become involved at whatever
level he/she feels comfortable. However, “your experience is truly
what you make of it. It’s all about finding who you are. I
encourage everyone - whether it includes studying abroad, leading,
serving others — to take advantage of what St. John’s has to
“You take that first step and it opens up a whole new world.”