Annual dinner raises record amount

This year’s President’s Dinner raised more than $2 million in scholarship money for St. John’s students.

University officials said this is the largest amount raised in the fundraiser’s 12-year history.

The dinner was held at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan on Thursday, Oct. 29. Edward Cardinal Egan, of the Archdiocese of New York, was in attendance at this year’s event. Bruce Beck, WNBC 4 sports anchor, served as the master of ceremonies for the evening.

Every year at the event, St. John’s hands out the Spirit of Service Award to individuals who “have lived their lives in accordance with the Vincentian ideals of serving the underserved in a spirit of caring and compassion,” according to a University press release
This year’s recipients were Carol Kelleher and her husband, Denis, chief executive officer of Wall Street Access and an alumnus of St. John’s.

Denis Kelleher is a former chair of the University’s Board of Trustees. The pair founded the Denis and Carol Kelleher Foundation, which focuses on education. The Kelleher Center on the Staten Island campus is named after them.

Frank Sciame Jr., founder and CEO of F.J. Sciame Construction Co. Inc., also recieved a Spirit of Service Award. F.J. Sciame Construction Co., Inc. was responsible for the construction of the new D’Angelo Center.

During his speech, Denis Kelleher spoke about the optimism that he said he feels is present at St. John’s.

“When we celebrate St. John’s University we celebrate an essential optimism that permeates every corner of this great University of ours,” he said. “It’s an optimism grounded in our belief in the grace of God, in ourselves and those we love, and in the future. The optimism is infectious, and it moves us to action.”

Rev. Donald Harrington, University president, spoke about the changes that have taken place during his 20 years as president of St. John’s. He also spoke about the Vincentian mission of the University.

“I urge you to be proud of St. John’s, but to do so with a Vincentian heart,” he said. “Others need not know the good that we do – as long as we do it and as long as our students, and especially the poor, are served effectively.”