April 10, 2012
Andrew (’09CPS) and Hannah Conti ’09C have much to be
thankful for. They have a warm and loving marriage, a beautiful
baby and a wealth of shared experiences that bring them closer
together every day.
And most of it is because of St. John’s!
Although they grew up within a few miles of each other, the couple
actually met during Freshman Orientation. A few months later they
discovered that they were both going to New Orleans as part of a
University-sponsored Campus Ministry “Plunge”, an initiative
designed to offer help to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The
experience left a lasting impression that they have never
“The New Orleans Plunge was a wonderful experience,” recalled
Hannah. “We both heard about this trip and it was the first time
that St. John’s ever sent students down to New Orleans because it
was the year that Hurricane Katrina hit. We both really felt called
to go down and see how we could help. We saw some really incredible
things when we were down there. The devastation was unbelievable.
It was a powerful bonding experience between Andrew and I.”
It was on the night that they returned from New Orleans that Andrew
asked Hannah out. They soon learned that they had much in common,
especially when it came to the important place that the Catholic
faith held in their lives. Both quickly became active participants
in the University’s many Campus Ministry activities, both on and
off-campus, as a way to follow the example of St. Vincent de Paul
by embracing the call to serve others.
“I did the Midnight Runs for a year,” said Andrew, “where we
brought food and other essentials to the homeless. That was a great
experience, because it allowed me to connect directly with the
homeless in New York City. It really changed my perception of
homelessness and poverty. All of a sudden the suffering of others
became very real and personal.”
Noting that both she and Andrew were very involved with their
parishes before coming to St. John’s, Hannah remarked that she was
grateful to enroll at a university that placed such an emphasis on
reaching out to others.
“I’ve always loved doing service,” she said, “and that’s actually
one of the reasons that I came to St. John’s. I knew that the
University had such wonderful service opportunities and the
Catholic and Vincentian environment was very attractive to me.
During my years as a student I was a Sacristan and I worked in St.
Thomas More Church. I was also a Eucharistic Minister and
In addition to being appreciative of the spiritual life of St.
John’s, Andrew is quick to acknowledge that the University was
instrumental in helping him to make the important contacts that got
him started in a successful career immediately after
“I was having a conversation with one of my professors on the
morning of Commencement,” he recalled, “and he invited me to a Long
Island I.T. Professionals luncheon later that week. I went thinking
that I’d get my resume out there and get more comfortable talking
to employers and try to drum up some interest, but it turned out
even better than that. I met someone there who took my resume and
later that week I was called for an interview. The next week I had
a second interview and by two weeks after graduation I had a job.
I’ve been working at the company for the past three years and
recently got promoted to a management position within the IT
Given their strong connection to the University and its Vincentian
charism, it comes as no surprise that they began their life
together by being married by Hannah’s uncle, a priest from North
Carolina, at a concelebrated Mass in St. Thomas More Church.
Despite the many demands placed on young parents just starting to
raise a family, the couple remains committed to staying connected
to St. John’s.
“Andrew and I feel strongly about teaching our son about St.
Vincent de Paul,’ remarked Hannah, “and we hope to raise him in a
family that is committed to giving back to the community. I learned
so much about myself at St. John’s, and I loved the spirit of the
Catholic and Vincentian values and the people who were so ready to
share them. I was recently back at St. John’s for the 5 p.m.
Sunday Mass in St. Thomas More Church and it was wonderful to see
so many students and Campus Ministers and people whom I spent so
much time with. It’s a very special community, a very caring and
vibrant community that I connect with very strongly. Going back to
St. John’s feels like coming home.”