17th Annual President’s Dinner raises $2 million for scholarships

Alumni honored for Vincentian work; NBC 4 anchor Bruce Beck hosts


Attendees pose with the president and his wife at the annual President’s Dinner. L to R: William Collins and Lesley Collins, dinner co-chairs; honoree Kevin Reed; University President Dr. Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw; Clavel Gempesaw; honoree Anthony Butler; Peter D’Angelo, Chair of the Board of Trustees; and honoree James Riley, Jr. Photo provided by St. John’s University

This year’s St. John’s University President’s Dinner acknowledged “A Commitment to Service.”  Individuals who have lived a Vincentian life were honored for their outstanding commitment to service at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, on Thursday, Oct. 30.

Since the first President’s Dinner in 1998, this major fundraising event has accumulated over $26 million.

This year’s event raised over $2,405,000 in donations.  Those funds will provide scholarships to future St. John’s students, according to a University press release.

President Conrado “Bobby” Gemepesaw, Ph.D., hosted the successful 17th Annual President’s Dinner.  This was Gemepesaw’s first year hosting the President’s Dinner.

William Collins ’76C and wife Lesley ‘83SVC, were the co-chairs of the President’s Dinner. Collins is the founder and chief executive officer of Brencourt Advisors.

They were acknowledged for all of the hard work they contributed to making the dinner a success. They thanked everyone present on behalf of future generations of St. John’s graduates.

Bruce Beck, WNBC News 4 New York Sports Anchor, served as the Master of Ceremonies.  He has performed as the Master of Ceremonies for seven consecutive years.

Alumni of all classes gathered to celebrate the success of the University over past generations and for future generations.  Many past winners of the Spirit of Service Awards were in attendance as well.

The institution honored Anthony Butler, Kevin Reed and James P. Riley by presenting them with St. John’s Spirit of Service Awards.

All honorees were introduced with A&E Television Network’s production of “Biography.”  Each video montage inspired all in the room.

Butler, executive director of St. John’s Bread and Life, captured the image of an individual with concern for others. Bread and Life provides emergency food and services to those in need.

Kevin Reed ’75C is the Retired Managing Director of Citigroup Asset Management.  Reed sponsors students in Catholic schools around the city and serves on the Board of Governors of St. John’s.

Riley ‘74CBA, ‘75MBA was the last honoree of the night.  He is a retired partner and managing director of Goldman Sachs and Company.  He also is well-known for his contributions to the Riley Family Foundation, which has created scholarships for 40 students, according to the event program.

This year’s President’s Dinner continued a long tradition of recognizing Vincentian service and raising money for scholarships.