The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Flames of the TORCH

     After an utterly dismal 2003-2004 scholastic year, one which was capped with a basketball sex scandal that gave the declining program and University a major black eye, St. John’s University bounced back with a year of promise.

      The basketball program rebounded with a new team, a new coach in Norm Roberts, and a new attitude. The entire athletic program enjoyed ample success, from the traditionally reputable basketball team to a brand new lacrosse program.

     Out of commission since 1994, the St. John’s men’s lacrosse program was revived in 2004 under head coach Rick Sowell. Manned with 26 freshmen, the team showed great promise in a tough ECAC conference despite their anemic 2-11 record.

     Spring sports continued to impress with a terrific baseball season, one which led to an NCAA Tournament bid before being eliminated by Oregon State in the Regionals. The Johnnies sent six players to the Major League draft, led by Boston Red Sox’ first round selection Craig Hansen.

     Along with impressive runs by the women’s basketball, men’s fencing, and Big East champion women’s golf teams, the athletic department served as a microcosm of a year of growth at St. John’s.With the completion of the Taffner Athletic Field House set for September, the University’s athletic program will surely enjoy even greater prosperity in years to come.

     Likewise, the University grew spiritually and socially, as the construction of St. Thomas More Church provided the campus with a much-needed venue for the campus community to gather for Mass.

     In April, the University managed to unite under the tragedy of the death of Pope John Paul II, undoubtedly one of the Catholic Church’s greatest and most charismatic popes of all time.

     University President, the Rev. Donald J. Harrington C.M, who had met with the late pope on several occasions, gave a stirring homily after returning from a trip to Rome during John Paul II’s passing. At a mass honoring the late pontiff, Father Harrington said, “We have to let God and John Paul II work through us. We cannot allow this special moment to leave us unchanged. My prayer is that this will help us open our hearts as human beings and as members of the University.”

     The University seemed to adopt Harrington’s mantra of change, as its Residence Life program found a solution to its housing dilemma. Due to a lack of available dormitories, St. John’s was forced to reject 48 percent of its upperclassmen’s housing applications in 2005, leading to a small uproar within the University’s residential community.

     The conundrum was quickly solved with the purchasing of Union Turnpike apartments, a much needed alternative for those depending on living on campus in the fall.

     Likewise, The Torch demonstrated vast improvement both academically and socially, as the student newspaper gained both popularity and recognition. News stories concerning several Student Government, Inc. votes drew great interest from readers, as did controversial editorials on radical racial speakers that had visited St. John’s in the past year. With a new managing board and a revamped staff, The Torch will surely continue in the forward progress of the University.

     It is evident that after a year of growth and renewal in 2004-2005, the upcoming scholastic year will surely be the next step in the academic, athletic, social, and spiritual evolution of St. John’s University.

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