For the first time in over 18 months, more than 100 McCallen Society members joyfully gathered in person on the Queens, NY campus for the annual Appreciation Mass and Luncheon, which took place on September 15, to honor their continued dedication to the University.
The McCallen Society is made up of alumni, benefactors and friends who include the University in their estate planning. Their donations fund scholarships, programs and initiatives, as well as upgrades and improvements to the facilities needed to ensure student success. It is named in honor of Reverend Thomas J. McCallen, CM, former University Treasurer, who was instrumental in acquiring the Hillcrest Golf Course which eventually became the University’s Queens Campus.
âWe recognize the members of the McCallen Society for your leadership, your generosity through your planned giving to the University, and most of all, for the positivity you bring to our students. Thank you very much for your incredible goodwill, âsaid Susan M. Damiani ’87CBA, Director, Office of Gift Planning and The McCallen Society, during welcoming remarks.
âDonors change lives. Donors are the foundation of the life of a Catholic, Vincentian, metropolitan, and global mission, âsaid Jason Wright, psychology student, associate student, Office of Gift Planning, as he reflected to the assembled group. âI pray that you all understand the impact you have on the students and the University. Can’t wait to pay it in the future.
âIt’s a perfect vehicle to give away. It’s a very satisfying legacy, âsaid James Spero ’69C,’ 71G, expressing his appreciation for being a member of the McCallen Society.
The Reverend Brian J. Shanley, OP, 18th President of the University, was the main celebrant of the Mass at St. Thomas More Church which preceded the festive lunch.
After receiving a warm welcome, Fr. Shanley explained that his first priority during his first year as president of the university is to develop a strategic plan “to determine where we want St. John’s to go to.” the future and to determine how we’re going to get there â.
âThere will be opportunities for all of you to weigh in,â said Fr Shanley explained. âWe will be a thriving school because St. John’s is a strong institution with great academic offerings. “
But the University cannot be successful without philanthropy, he noted. âGratitude is one of the most important things to express in life. It is something that we have to practice every day.
âAs a university president this is one of my favorite things to do,â said Fr Shanley. “So, to all of you: thank you.”