October 31, 2011
Elizabeth Austin ’08TCB, ’10MBA remembers her first trip to New
York as if it were yesterday.
The Kansas City, MO native was on a recruiting trip to St.
John’s University, and Volleyball Head Coach Joanne Persico took
her out for a memorable drive through Manhattan.
“Coach took me around the city in her convertible with the top
down,” Austin recalled, “and the whole time I was sitting there
looking up in awe at these huge buildings. I started thinking,
‘What have I gotten myself into?’”
But attending St. John’s and living in the big city turned out to
be a great decision for Austin. She enjoyed a successful
career as a student-athlete on the volleyball team, received both a
B.A. in Finance and an M.B.A. in Executive Management from St.
John’s and is now working for the University as Assistant Director
of Athletic Development/Special Events. In this role, she
coordinates alumni gatherings related to athletics, Red White Club
receptions and other special programs throughout the year.
“It’s so rewarding to organize these events and show alumni and
friends the great things we’re doing here at St. John’s,” she said.
“We’ve transformed so much as a university, and now is a very
exciting time for Red Storm sports.”
On a daily basis, Austin is busy coordinating a host of events,
working on big-picture planning and ironing out the details. Most
recently, she helped organize the Chris Mullin Hall of Fame Event,
an on-campus dinner that honored Chris Mullin ’98CBA for his recent
Hall-of-Fame induction, and An Evening with St. John’s Basketball,
the premiere fundraising event for the men’s and women’s basketball
Austin especially loves working on events like these, ones that
honor the University’s athletic tradition while raising funds for
“All of our guests have a passion for St. John’s athletics,” she
said. “And when they contribute – whether through fundraisers or
joining the Red White Club – they know that they’re directly
helping our teams get better. It’s precisely this support that
allows our programs to stay competitive in the BIG EAST
The success of last year’s men’s basketball team reenergized the
St. John’s fan base, and Austin has been pleased to observe that
this enthusiasm has carried over to all of the University’s sports
“Fans are realizing that there’s so much to be excited about here
on campus,” she said. “We’ve got a nationally ranked men’s soccer
team, track and field and fencing teams with Olympic athletes on
them, a terrific baseball team and the list goes on. We’re having
incredible overall success.”
When she was a student, Austin always found time in her busy
schedule to help out at the Ronald McDonald House, participate in
Midnight Runs and serve as a member of VITAL (Vincentian Initiative
to Advance Leadership). She continues to serve others today,
frequently giving back to the community.
“That’s what I love about St. John’s,” she said. “It’s a Vincentian
school centered on great values, and there are so many
opportunities to give back. That’s something I take great pride
Though she’s a long way from Kansas City, Austin feels completely
at home in New York and attributes that largely to her time at St.
“New York has a completely different atmosphere from Kansas City,
but being at a great university filled with respectable people has
made my transition a smooth one,” she said. “And to be working to
support athletics – something our fan base and New York City has a
real passion for – is a very special and rewarding