November 16, 2010
For many employees of St. John's University, the willingness to
do something special for the students is a defining characteristic
of their membership in the St. John's family. Their commitment
takes many forms, one of which is a desire to support the
University through membership in The Loughlin Society, St. John's
premier group of donors.
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To express his personal gratitude for all that they do for the
University, St. John's President Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M.
hosted an appreciation breakfast on Monday, November 8, 2010 on the
Queens campus for these special employees. Fittingly, the guests
were moved to hear from an outstanding student whose life has been
directly impacted by their generosity.
In August, 2006 Jenai Mapp-Watson '10TCB, '12G arrived in
America from her home in Barbados "… excited, full of dreams and
scared to death. My father told me, ‘Jen, follow your dreams, don't
you dare let not having money stop you'."
Although half of her tuition was covered by a Scholastic
Excellence scholarship, there were many semesters where this gifted
student was unable to attend the first days of classes because of
insufficient funds. Her family tried to help her out by sending
money from home whenever they could, but it simply wasn't
Faced with the real possibility of having to discontinue her St.
John's education, Jenai sought and received additional scholarship
assistance from the University, allowing her to remain and complete
her degree. Eager to show her appreciation for what was done for
her, this former President's Society student initiated a program
called Bridge the Gap on the Manhattan campus, a student-led
initiative designed to raise funds for a variety of service
She was pleased to express her appreciation to the employee
members of The Loughlin Society.
"Ladies and gentlemen, before you stands your trophy," she said.
"Thank you for seeing me, when I felt invisible to the world. Thank
you for seeing my struggle and holding out a hand to lift me up.
Thank you, on behalf of every scholarship recipient who could not
look at you today, and share their specific, special and all
important story with you today. Thank you, for your Vincentian
Jenai is continuing her education as a graduate student in St.
John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, where she is studying
for her M.A. in Global Development and Social Justice.
Acknowledging that variations of Jenai's story can be found
throughout the student population, Fr. Harrington thanked those in
attendance for their generosity.
"Employees who are members of The Loughlin Society don't just
come to St. John's to work," he noted. "It's clear by your
membership in The Loughlin Society that you strongly believe in our
mission and in the special calling that we have as a university.
Coming here to work is being part of something much bigger, bigger
in the sense that what we do ultimately changes lives. I thank you
for believing in and investing in St. John's."
For many employees, membership in The Loughlin Society is a
reflection of a personal as well as professional commitment. They
are genuinely grateful for what the University has done for them,
and believe that they have an obligation to help make it possible
for others to receive the same advantages that were given to
"As with many St. John's alumni and employees, I owe a lot of my
success in the wider community to my St. John's degree," remarked
Joseph Sciame '71Ed, Vice President, Community Relations. "I
believe in giving back to sustain the legacy of the University, and
I believe that our alumni and our employees should do something to
be a part of St. John's success. It's a sacrifice to contribute
every year, but it's a wonderful sacrifice and something we should
For Madeline Larsen, Assistant to the Dean of St. John's The
School of Education, giving back to St. John's is her way of saying
thank you for the superior education that three of her children
received during their time at the University. She considers her
membership in the St. John's family as special in many ways.
"I'm very happy to work here and I'm very happy that I'm in a
position to give back at some level for what was given to my
children," she said. "They all had a wonderful education at St.
John's, and the very least that I can do is to give back as a way
to show my appreciation for what was done for them, and for my
James O'Keefe '79SVC is Associate Dean of St. John's College of
Professional Studies and Professor of Criminal Justice. He
remembers what it was like during his own student days to achieve
his dream of a St. John's education, and sees that same scenario
played out in the lives of the students with whom he interacts
see the students in my classes rushing off to part-time jobs every
day," he said. "They tell me about how hard it is for them to work
and get through four years. As a member of The Loughlin Society it
makes me feel great to know that I'm helping the students, not just
in my classroom but by doing my part to help support them
financially. That's what St. John's is all about, and now that I've
come full circle from student to alumnus to employee, I'm happy to
do whatever I can."
As Administrative Assistant to Fr. Harrington, Carolyn Madaio is
able to observe the Vincentian mission in action in a variety of
ways. She is uniquely aware of the University's commitment to
helping to meet the needs of its most deserving students, and is
encouraged by the atmosphere of genuine compassion that is such a
distinctive aspect of the St. John's experience.
"As employees, I feel that we receive so much from the
University that we really should be willing to give back," she
said. "I feel good when I see the students every day and know that
we're helping them with their education. It's wonderful to be doing
something for them."
To learn more about The Loughlin Society, please call Stacey
Varghese, Associate Director, The Loughlin Society at (718)
990-2982 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.