May 30, 2007
Three outstanding Staten Island community leaders were honored
at the Second Annual Evening with the President at the Richmond
County Country Club on May 16. The event attracted over 140 alumni,
friends and local business owners to recognize the contributions of
the honorees to the University, their communities and society, at
University President Rev. Donald J.
Harrington C.M., Vice Provost Sharon Lynch Norton Esq. and
other members of the administration presented the awards to the
honorees and spoke in praise of their merits. “[The honorees] have
embraced the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul and extended his
philosophy of caring and compassion for others into very real
situations for very real people,” said Dr. Norton.
The President’s Medal was awarded to Linda Baran, first female
Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of the Staten Island
Chamber of Commerce. A staunch supporter of the local business
community, Baran pioneered several avenues of growth at the Chamber
including welcoming the input of St. John’s students for the
Chamber’s marketing strategy. Baran is also a member of the
Community Advisory Boards for Fresh Kills Park, West Shore Land Use
and the Stapleton Homeport. She was also recently named to the
Staten Island Traffic and Transportation Task Force by the Office
of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The President’s Medal was also awarded posthumously to Patricia
Gilmartin ’56NDC. Gilmartin was an educator in the New York City
school system for over 30 years, renowned for her commitment to the
success of her students. A graduate of Notre Dame College before it
became part of St. John’s, she led a distinguished career which
began at several schools on Staten Island including PS 17, New
Brighton; PS 54, Willowbrook; and PS 8, Great Kills. She became
principal of PS 21, Elm Park and remained there until her
retirement, when she brought her knowledge and expertise to St.
John’s as a member of the adjunct faculty—brilliantly preparing the
next generation of teachers for the rigors of the field. Gilmartin
also served on several schools’ boards including St. Joseph by the
Sea High School, Sister Elizabeth Boyle Early Learning Center and
St. Peter’s Elementary School.
The Terence Cardinal Cooke Medal was presented to John J.
Brennan for his almost 50 years of academic excellence at St.
John’s and his untiring work on behalf of the Staten Island
community. He began a notable career at St. John’s as an adjunct
instructor of history, served as a full-time member of the faculty,
dean of University College, Brooklyn Center and chair of the
Division of Social Sciences for two terms. At the Staten Island
campus, Brennan served as director of Evening and Weekend Programs,
assistant vice president of Notre Dame College and associate dean
of Notre Dame College. He is perhaps best known for his
extraordinary leadership of the Honors Program, which has enriched
the lives of thousands of high achieving students. Brennan was also
a member of several organizations such as Community Planning Board
#3, the Democratic County Committee of Staten Island and the
Village Green Residents Civic Organization.
The evening included cocktails and the award presentation. Funds
were also raised to support the Staten Island Scholarship. Guests
expressed their pleasure with the event and their desire to
continue supporting the University. "I'm always happy to see any
event that supports St. John's,” said Dr. Larry Arann. “This is a
universal educational institution that has a well-deserved