University set to celebrate 14th annual Founder’s Week

St. John’s will commemorate its 14th annual Founder’s Week beginning January 25 on the Queens and Staten Island campuses through mass, lectures, open panel discussions and other events.

The events of the week will be based on the theme of “Vincentian Beyond Borders: Building a Civilization of Love,” which was created by the Vincentian Mission Counsel (VMC). The theme was derived from the teachings of St. Vincent DePaul, founder of the Congregation of the Mission (C.M.).
According to Mary Ann Dantuono, associate director of the Vincentian Center, the VMC decides the theme for each year by evaluating the “science of the times,” the needs of the university, and the core values.

This year, Dantuono said that the events will emphasize “loving the other,” which is one of the seven core university values.
Founder’s Week begins on January 25, the Feast of the Conversion of St. Vincent, with opening mass on the Queens campus presided over by University President Reverend Donald J. Harrington, C.M. presiding on Queens Campus.

The event will also recognize more than 200 award recipients, who were nominated by employees, staff or administration of the St. John’s community.

The student recipients will receive the “Charity Embraces Justice Award” for the values shown by their actions and day-to-day life.

Angela DiLalla, assistant to the vice president for Campus Ministry, and coordinator of the event, said, “I hope that by recognizing these students, it’s a great way to get the university community to become aware of the Vincentian values… what it means and remaining faithful.”

A formal ceremony and luncheon will be held after mass to honor the recipients who “serve as global citizens” to both the St. John’s community and the outside community.
DiLalla, a St. John’s alum, said that it makes St. John’s special to celebrate its history and values through these recipients.

“It’s a privilege to be able to come into contact with these students. It gives me great hope that the students are embracing the Vincentian mission.”

The week will continue with “Building a Civilization without Borders,” by Reverend Peter Le Jacq, M.M., M.D., a St. John’s alum of the class of 1976. He will speak about his experience as one of only 100 Catholic priests worldwide helping to educate doctors in East Africa.

Dantuono said that Le Jacq is a model of St. Vincent de Paul for his life of service to others. Currently, he is raising support for Bugando University College of Health Sciences (BUCHS), which is the first Catholic medical school in Africa.

Another highlight of the week will be “Crossing Borders and Discovering Our Vincentian Roots: An Intercultural (Francophone) Dialogue on St. Vincent De Paul, Business and Ethics.” Dantuono said that this is a new event for this week where 48 French exchange students from the Manhattan campus will engage in a discussion with 48 students from the Queens campus.

She explained that it is “an
opportunity to meet people from across the world,” through a round table discussion about St. Vincent, how language is key to cultures, business and ethics, and how to approach business and ethics through the Vincentian mission.

The week will end with the Vincentian Convocation, which will be a presentation of various awards and medals to the St. John’s community.

Other events of the week will include a week long library exhibit, various service opportunities and luncheons.

Founder’s Week first began in 1995, when the university decided to have an opportunity for all students, staff, and administrators to honor the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul, celebrate his life and to be inspired to carry on his spirit. De Paul wanted to make a difference in the world he lived in by working with both the rich and the poor.