After more than thirty years of roaming the halls as a pharmacy student, professor and dean at the University, Dr. Robert Mangione will serve as permanent provost overseeing the academic sector of the University.
A unanimous vote by the University trustees on Dec. 12, allowed Dr. Mangione to shed his interim title. Mangione says he plans to continue on the Vincentian tradition at the school.
“I think the most significant thing we need to do is celebrate our Vincentian culture of academic excellence and to also cultivate that,” Dr. Mangione said. “To me, that’s where we need to be and that excites me.”
His four-month stint as interim provost came with some unforeseen obstacles including Superstorm Sandy that shut down the Manhattan campus, caused partial power outages to the Queens campus and cancelled classes for a week.
Once classes resumed, Mangione faced the challenge of fulfilling state education department requirements by making up missed class time.
Mangione sent an internal memo to University faculty and staff. After the Torch broke the news on Twitter, many students wondered why they weren’t notified as well.
“I entrusted it to faculty, that way there’s no gaps in communication and students can give feedback,” he said.
“I gave faculty full legitimate authority to comply with the state education requirements and students’ needs, I take full responsibility.”
Mangione earned his Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy and Masters in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University, and later his Doctorate in Educational Administration and Supervision.
In 1979, he became a faculty member and progressively moved up the ranks to become the Dean of College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in 1999.
Dr. Mangione credits his love for the University to his time as a college student at St. John’s. Mangione said he desired to stay at the University after graduation and become a professor.
A couple decades later and he’s right where he wants to be.
“I’m here to serve the students and the students are here to learn and improve their life as people and that’s why I came to St. John’s as a student.”
Besides working as an administrator, Mangione is also active in his field of study.
Currently, he along with Dr. Somnath Pal, Dr. S. William Zito and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness are working on a project funded by the Food & Drug Administration to find out how much and which over-the-counter and prescription medicines have gluten content, an instigating agent that directly affects people with Celiac Disease. This condition, according to WebMD.org, attacks gluten when it is absorbed by the body and makes it difficult to intake nutrients because it harms the small intestine.
Mangione’s interest in studying this, he says, roots from his own experience with this “fascinating disease” and he says he wants anyone to feel comfortable asking him about it because he wants to help others with it.
Mangione credits everything he’s achieved to the people he’s surrounded himself with, from his wife Janet to his late professor Dr. Charles Jarowski. Mangione calls them the reason for his growth and success.
“I’ve been very blessed with great parents, great life, great family, great friends, so they are sitting next to me,” Mangione said.
“I may have provost under my name but I’m standing on their shoulders and I want to do my best to never disappoint these great people and the students.”