St. John’s University is Catholic, Vincentian and
As a university, we commit ourselves to academic excellence and
the pursuit of wisdom which flows from free inquiry, religious
values, and human experience. We strive to preserve and enhance an
atmosphere in which scholarly research, imaginative methodology,
global awareness, and an enthusiastic quest for truth serve as the
basis of a vital teaching-learning process and the development of
lifelong learning. Our core curriculum in the liberal arts and
sciences aims to enrich lives as well as professions and serves to
unify the undergraduate experience. Graduate and professional
schools express our commitment to research, rigorous standards, and
innovative application of knowledge. We aim not only to be
excellent professionals with an ability to analyze and articulate
clearly what is, but also to develop the ethical and aesthetic
values to imagine and help realize what might be.
St. John’s is a Catholic university, founded in 1870 in response
to an invitation of the first Bishop of Brooklyn, John Loughlin, to
provide the youth of the city with an intellectual and moral
education. We embrace the Judaeo-Christian ideals of respect for
the rights and dignity of every person and each individual’s
responsibility for the world in which we live. We commit ourselves
to create a climate patterned on the life and teaching of Jesus
Christ as embodied in the traditions and practices of the Roman
Catholic Church. Our community, which comprises members of many
faiths, strives for an openness which is “wholly directed to all
that is true, all that deserves respect, all that is honest, pure,
admirable, decent, virtuous, or worthy of praise” (Philippians
4:8). Thus, the university is a place where the Church reflects
upon itself and the world as it engages in dialogue with other
St. John’s is a Vincentian university, inspired by St. Vincent
de Paul’s compassion and zeal for service. We strive to provide
excellent education for all people, especially those lacking
economic, physical, or social advantages. Community service
programs combine with reflective learning to enlarge the classroom
experience. Wherever possible, we devote our intellectual and
physical resources to search out the causes of poverty and social
injustice and to encourage solutions which are adaptable,
effective, and concrete. In the Vincentian tradition, we seek to
foster a world view and to further efforts toward global harmony
and development by creating an atmosphere in which all may imbibe
and embody the spirit of compassionate concern for others so
characteristic of Vincent.
St. John’s is a metropolitan university. We benefit from New
York City’s cultural diversity, its intellectual and artistic
resources, and the unique professional educational opportunities
offered by New York, Rome and other cities throughout the world
where our students study and serve. With this richness comes
responsibility. We seek and welcome opportunities to partner and
plan with our metropolitan communities. We encourage them to use
our intellectual resources and professional expertise in developing
solutions that address strategic issues of mutual concern. On the
local, state, national and international levels, our alumni serve
as effective leaders and responsible citizens. We pledge to foster
those qualities required for anticipating and responding to the
educational, ethical, cultural, social, professional, and religious
needs of a dynamic world.
Mission Statement of St. John’s University, New York
Approved by the Board of Trustees, March 13, 2008
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The Vincentian tradition at St. John’s University is the
foundation and the source of the core values its members strive to
embody: truth, love, respect, opportunity, excellence and
Knowledge in accord with reality, behavior faithful to
ethical standards. St. John’s affirms the threefold
mission of a university to seek truth through research, to
disseminate it through teaching and to act on it. The University
values and utilizes the perspectives of different cultures to
assist its members in seeking truth and developing ethical
standards, while affirming the Judaeo-Christian tradition.
Focusing and extending minds and hearts to nurture
one’s own and another’s good. Love expressed in the
University community is not a feeling but an action for the
corporate good manifested through the time, talent and energy of
its members. It is a responsible dedication to utilize available
resources and turn them towards humanity’s good.
Awareness of and esteem for all
individuals. A courteous regard for all people whose
diversity is embraced and shared in learning, teaching and service
to others within the University community and beyond.
Circumstances favorable to serving others and
preparing one’s self for a fulfilling life. Guided by
its central commitment to equality, justice and Christian morality,
the University makes its resources available to all its members to
pursue their individual and collective interests.
Striving, growing, never being
complacent. The St. John’s Community empowers and
inspires students, staff, faculty and administration to succeed in
programs which assist them in every area of achievement.
Vincentian spirituality in action, a response to God’s
call to give of ourselves. Our obligation and
commitment to service lie not only in our active compassion as an
institution, but in the cultivation of these priorities and values
in the members of our community. We are committed to a life of
stewardship as a caretaker of God-given talents, resources and
knowledge, and caregiver responding to the needs of others.
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St. John’s University will empower diverse learners with quality
education for life. Through innovative teaching, research and
service we will foster rational, spirited inquiry and intelligent
reflection. Our student-centered approach will be shaped by a
caring, energized, nimble culture. Enlivened by our distinctive
mission, our graduates will excel in the competencies and values
required for leadership and service in a rapidly evolving global
community. As a Catholic and Vincentian university, we will be
known worldwide for addressing issues of poverty and social
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- Develop our academic and institutional culture to be
student-centered and committed to lifelong learning.
- Enhance resource development and prioritize resource allocation
to achieve our Vision.
- Build an organization of strong leaders where faculty,
administrators and staff are enabled, motivated and engaged.
- Institutionalize our new Vision and planning culture in the
context of Mission and external challenges.
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St. John’s University Crest embodies its heritage. The cross
proposes Christ as the center and model for moral and ethical
character. The book, a symbol of learning, bears the words,
Ecce Agnus (Behold the Lamb of God), the
testimony of St. John the Baptist to the divinity of Christ. The
heart is the symbol of the charity of St. Vincent de Paul, founder
of the Vincentians. The
represents France, the birthplace of St. Vincent, and reminds the
University of its dedication to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The escalloped shell, an ancient symbol for the sacrament of
baptism, also signifies St. James the Greater, titular of the
cathedral of the Diocese of Brooklyn, the diocese in which the
University was founded. In addition, the shell suggests an Indian
name for Long Island, “Sewanhacky,” or Island of Shells.
The motto Educatio Christiana Animae
Perfectio, (Christian Education Perfects the Soul) is
from Divini illius magistri, the
encyclical of Pope Pius XI on Christian Education.
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The Official Seal of St. John’s University sets down
symbolically the purposes of the University.
The outer register of the Seal bears the legend Sigillum
Universitatis Sti. Joannis Neo-Eboraci (The Seal of St. John’s
University, New York).
The inner register contains a Greek text (John V:35) uttered by
the Divine Teacher, Jesus Christ, in praise of St. John the
Baptist, the patron of the University: (He was the lamp, burning
and shining). The founding date of St. John’s, 1870, is included in
The central portion of the Seal displays three books surmounted
by a burning lamp symbolizing the educational aims of St. John’s
University. The three are identified by Latin titles:
Religio (Religion), Humanitas (Culture), and
Scientia (Knowledge). The burning lamp is symbolic of the
University patron, St. John the Baptist.
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What Does it Mean
to Be Vincentian?
St. John’s University looks to St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660),
founder of the Congregation of the Mission, for its vision and
inspiration. From southern France, Vincent pursued the priesthood
as a way to assure a comfortable life. Through a profound
conversion experience in his early ministry, Vincent unraveled the
central paradox of life: it is in giving that one receives. In a
Paris marked by great affluence enjoyed by a few as well as by dire
poverty endured by the masses, Vincent discovered that one finds
God and oneself in service to others. A man of deep faith, keen
intellect, great business acumen and enormous creativity, he was at
home in the hovels of the poor and in the palaces of royalty.
Respected by the powerful and loved by the poor, Vincent bridged
social classes through his works of charity and his advocacy for
In collaboration with St. Louise de Marillac (1591-1660),
Vincent organized hospitals for the sick poor, founded asylums for
the orphaned, opened workshops for the unemployed, championed
literacy for the uneducated, advocated for the incarcerated,
established local charities and reformed the education and
formation of the clergy throughout France, where his community of
priests and brothers undertook the spiritual care of the poor,
particularly those in rural areas.
In 1870 in the United States, the Bishop of Brooklyn asked the
Vincentian community to establish an institution of higher
education for the rapidly expanding immigrant community of New
York. Denied access to other institutions, the children of
immigrants, particularly those from Europe and the British Isles,
found financial support and academic challenge, as well as respect
and opportunity, in St. John’s College on Lewis Avenue in Brooklyn.
While St. John’s University moved from the Brooklyn sites in the
mid-twentieth century and now has several campuses where students
from many cultures learn and work together, the Vincentians still
offer a range of services to the local community in Bedford
Stuyvesant, the site of the first St. John’s.
Today, as a Vincentian university, St. John’s extends Vincent’s
vision and continues his unflagging efforts for the poor and needy.
New employees are introduced to the Vincentian message during a
Vincentian Mission Orientation program, which is also offered to
current employees. All at St. John’s are inheritors of Vincent’s
legacy and stewards of his mission to respect each person, serve
the needy and build human solidarity.
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About St. John's - Facts, Figures and Historical
Inside the Numbers . . .
As an employee and, therefore, a representative of St. John’s,
you should be aware of the facts, figures and historical highlights
that make up the University profile and which have helped to shape
the University over the years. The numbers given here were current
at the time of printing, but are constantly changing as the
University and the St. John’s family continue to grow and evolve
into the future.
- St. John’s offers full degree programs on four campuses –
Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan, and Rome, Italy.
Coursework, but not full degrees, are offered at Oakdale, Eastern
Long Island, and at a study abroad site in Paris, France.
- St. John’s has 6 colleges and schools – St.
John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; The School of
Education; The Peter J. Tobin College of Business; College of
Pharmacy and Health Sciences; School of Law; and College of
- St. John’s offers over 100 different
undergraduate and graduate degree programs, ranging from two-year
associate degrees to doctoral degrees.
- St. John’s employs over 1,500 full-time and
part-time faculty, and has a student to faculty ratio of
- St. John’s employs close to 1,700 full-time
and part-time staff and administrators.
- St. John’s has a total student enrollment of over
- St. John’s has approximately 3,800 students
who live in residence facilities on and around our campuses.
St. John’s Through the Years . .
The year was 1865 when the first Bishop of Brooklyn requested
the priests of the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentian Fathers)
to establish themselves in his diocese for “the purpose of
opening a day college where youths of the city might (be given) . .
. a solid education . . . moral training necessary to maintain the
credit of Catholicity.” In 1870, St. John’s College was
founded. To view the University’s major historical milestones
through the years follow the link in the right sidebar (Intranet
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See links at right for the University’s Organization Chart
and the Officers of Administration.
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