President’s Dinner Raises $2.7 Million


Photo Courtesy/Jad Nammour

President Gempesaw, third from left, along with the night’s honorees

Angelica Acevedo, Editor-In-Chief

Nearly 1,000 members of the St. John’s University community raised more than $2.7 million in donations at the 21st Annual President’s Dinner at the New York Hilton Midtown on Nov. 4.

According to the University’s website, 800 pre-registered guests gathered at the Hilton’s Grand Ballroom.

The President’s Dinner is meant to bring together all generations of St. John’s alumni, trustees, employees, supporters and students in order to raise funds for scholarships.

It also honors members of the St. John’s community who “embody the University’s Catholic and Vincentian values in their life and work” with the Spirit of Service Award.

This year, the honorees were former Provost and current faculty member Robert A. Mangione ’77P, ’79GP, ’93PD, ’99Ed.D.; alumnus Pascal Desroches, M.B.A., C.P.A. ’86CBA and his wife, Yvette E. DeGannes ’86CBA; alumnus James E. Galowski ’85CBA and his wife, Anmarie; and Global Loan Opportunities for Budding Entrepreneurs (GLOBE).

Each honoree had a video introduction before they gave heartfelt speeches thanking the University for the recognition.

After being introduced by the Master of Ceremonies Tarik S. Turner ’98C, President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw took the stage to thank the honorees, members of the Board of Trustees, donors, alumni and current students.

“Tonight, we have many students here with us whose passion for learning and serving others inspire all of us to support the President’s Dinner,” Gempesaw said. “To our students, thank you for reminding us why we are a university. Hopefully in 20 or 30 years from now, you will also have the opportunity to be honored with the Spirit of Service Award.”

To close the night, alumnus Carvens Marcel Lissaint ’14CPS, who currently stars in Broadway’s award winning play “Hamilton,” performed three songs to the delight of attendees.

Accompanied by two other students for the first song (President’s Society member Kayla L. Knight and Remy A. Martin ’16P, ’18GEd), Lissaint encouraged guests to clap and sing along to Marvin Gaye’s classic “What’s Going On.”

Sophomore Jackie Alvarez said she was glad to have the opportunity to network with alumni at the dinner.

“That’s what St. John’s is all about — it’s all about the opportunities they give us, the networking with all our alumni. It was a great evening,” she said. “It was good to see the alumni contribute, the alumni honored, the alumni who received the Service Awards, they’re giving us something to live up to and it’s good to see the St. John’s legacy out there in the real world.”