St. John's University (New York City)

St. John's University[3] is a private Roman Catholic university in New York City. Founded and run by the Congregation of the Mission (C.M., the Vincentian Fathers) in 1870, the school was originally located in the neighborhood of Bedford–Stuyvesant in the borough of Brooklyn.[4] In the 1950s, the school was relocated to its current site at Utopia Parkway in Hillcrest, Queens. St. John's also has campuses in Staten Island and Manhattan in New York City and overseas in Rome, Italy. In addition, the university has a Long Island Graduate Center in Hauppauge,[5] along with academic locations in Paris,[6] France, and Limerick, Ireland.[7] The university is named after Saint John the Baptist.[4]

St. John's University
Latin: Universitatis Sancti Johannis
MottoEducatio Christiana Animae Perfectio
Motto in English
Christian education perfects the soul
FounderBishop John Loughlin
Religious affiliation
Catholic Church (Vincentian)
Academic affiliations
Endowment$756.1 million (2018)[1]
PresidentConrado "Bobby" Gempesaw
ProvostSimon Geir Møller
Academic staff
Location, ,
United States

40°43′19″N 73°47′44″W
CampusUrban, 105 acres (42 ha) (Queens campus)
ColorsRed, White, Blue[2]
NicknameRed Storm
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division IBig East

St. John's is organized into five undergraduate schools and six graduate schools. In 2016, the university had 16,440 undergraduate and 4,647 graduate students.[8] St. John's offers more than 100 bachelor, master, and doctoral degree programs as well as professional certificates.


St. John's University was founded in 1870, by the Vincentian Fathers of the Roman Catholic Church in response to an invitation by the first Bishop of Brooklyn, John Loughlin, to provide the underprivileged youth of the city with an intellectual and moral education.

St. John's Vincentian values stem from the ideals and works of St Vincent de Paul (1581–1660), who is the patron saint of Christian charity. Following the Vincentian tradition, the university seeks to provide an education that encourages greater involvement in social justice, charity, and service.[9] The Vincentian Center for Church and Society, located on the university's Queens campus serves as "a clearinghouse for and developer of Vincentian information, poverty research, social justice resources, and as an academic/cultural programming Center."[10]

The English translation of the Greek on the original seal of the University is "a lamp burning and shining" or "a lamp shining brightly" a reference to St. John the Baptist. (A later seal of the university uses a Latin phrase that may be rendered "Christian education perfects the soul".)

St. John's University was founded as the College of St. John the Baptist at 75 Lewis Avenue, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Ground was broken for St. John's College Hall, the university's first building, on May 28, 1868. The cornerstone was laid on July 25, 1869.[11] The building was opened for educational purposes on September 5, 1870.[12] Beginning with the law school in 1925, St. John's started founding other schools and it became a university in 1933.

In April 1936, St. John's bought the Hillcrest Golf Club's 100 acres (40 ha) of land for about $500,000, with the intention of eventually moving the school to the new site.[13] Under the terms of the sale, the golf club continued to operate on the site for a few years.[13] On February 11, 1954, St. John's officially broke ground on a new campus in Queens, on the former site of the Hillcrest Golf Club.[14] During the official groundbreaking ceremony, the shovel used was the same shovel that had broken ground on the original campus in 1868.[14] The following year, the original school of the university, St. John's College, moved from Bedford-Stuyvesant to the new campus. The high school, now St. John's Prep, took over its former buildings and later moved to its present location in the Hillcrest-Jamaica sections in Queens.

Over approximately the next two decades, the other schools of the university, which were located at a separate campus at 96 Schermerhorn Street in Downtown Brooklyn, moved out to the new campus in Queens. The last of the schools to relocate to Queens moved there in 1972, bringing an end to the Downtown Brooklyn campus of the university. In 1959, the university established a Freedom Institute to provide lectures and programs that would focus, in the words of university president Rev. John A. Flynn, President, focus "attention on the dangers of communism threatening free institutions here and abroad," with Arpad F. Kovacs of the St. John's history department as its director.[15] (A volume of lectures given at the Freedom Institute was edited by Kovacs and published in 1961 as Let Freedom Ring.) The university also hired the noted historian Paul Kwan-Tsien Sih to establish an Institute of Asian Studies in 1959,[16] and similarly set up a Center for African Studies under the directorship of the economic geographer Hugh C. Brooks.

The university received praise from Time Magazine in 1962 for being a Catholic university that accepted Jews with low household income. Time also ranked St. John's as "good−small" on a list of the nation's Catholic universities in 1962.[17]

The St. John's University strike of 1966-1967 was a protest by faculty at the university which began on January 4, 1966, and ended in June 1967.[18] The strike began after 31 faculty members were dismissed in the fall of 1965 without due process, dismissals which some felt were a violation of the professors' academic freedom. The strike ended without any reinstatements, but led to the widespread unionization of public college faculty in the New York City area. In 1970 arbitrators ruled that the university had not acted improperly.

On January 27, 1971, the New York State Board of Regents approved the consolidation of the university with the former Notre Dame College (New York) a private women's college and the Staten Island campus of St. John's University became a reality. Classes began in the fall of 1971, combining the original Notre Dame College with the former Brooklyn campus of St. John's, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, business and education.[19]

Circa 1989, according to Steve Fishman of New York Magazine, "St. John’s was essentially a commuter school" but that this changed after Father Donald Harrington, a Vincentian, became the president of the university that year, replacing Father Joseph Cahill. Under Harrington the school increased its infrastructure and increased its international profile.[20]

In 1990 the tuition and fees at St. John's was less than half of that at schools like NYU and Columbia.[21]

In 2010 federal prosecutors charged Dr. Cecilia Chang, dean of the school's Institute of Asian Studies and a resident of Jamaica Estates, with embezzling money from the university and by coercing scholarship recipients.[22] Chang, a graduate student alumna from Taiwan,[23] and who naturalized in 1989, began directing the Asian Center and acted as a fundraiser in 1977.[20] On Monday November 5, 2012,[23] she testified in her own trial and committed suicide at age 59 the next day.[22] Anne Hendershot of Crisis Magazine wrote that the information revealed that described Chang giving material benefits to other members of the administration was "even more damaging to the reputation of St. John’s University."[24]


  • The Very Rev. Fr. John T. Landry, C.M. 1870 – 1875
  • The Very Rev. Fr. Patrick M. O’Regan, C.M. 1875 – 1877
  • The Very Rev. Fr. Aloysius J. Meyer, C.M. 1877 – 1882
  • The Very Rev. Fr. Jeremiah A. Hartnett, C.M. 1882 – 1897
  • The Very Rev. Fr. James J. Sullivan, C.M. 1897 – 1901
  • The Very Rev. Fr. Patrick McHale, C.M. 1901 – 1906
  • The Very Rev. Fr. John W. Moore, C.M. 1906 – 1925
  • The Very Rev. Fr. John J. Cloonan, C.M. 1925 – 1931
  • The Very Rev. Fr. Thomas F. Ryan, C.M. 1931 – 1935
  • The Very Rev. Fr. Edward J. Walsh, C.M. 1935 – 1942
  • The Very Rev. Fr. William J. Mahoney, C.M. 1942 – 1947
  • The Very Rev. Fr. John A. Flynn, C.M. 1947 – 1961
  • The Very Rev. Fr. Edward J. Burke, C.M. 1961 – 1965
  • The Very Rev. Fr. Joseph T. Cahill, C.M. 1965 – 1989
  • The Very Rev. Fr. Donald J. Harrington, C.M. 1989 – 2013
  • The Very Rev. Fr. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M. 2013 – 2014
  • Bobby Gempesaw, Ph.D. 2014 – present

Gempesaw is the university's first lay president. Per the university's statutes, presidents must be priests from the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians). The trustees waived this requirement due to the limited number of candidates.

Organization and administration

St. John's University is a Roman Catholic non-profit organization controlled by privately appointed Board of Trustees which is chosen by the Vincentian order. Conrado "Bobby" Gempesaw, Ph.D., is the 17th president of the University, and the Very Rev. Bernard M. Tracey, C.M. serving as the executive vice president.[25]

The University is organized into six colleges and schools:

  • St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • School of Education,
  • Peter J. Tobin College of Business
  • College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
  • College of Professional Studies (St. Vincent's College)
  • St. John's School of Law.


St. John's is a large, four-year, primarily nonresidential doctoral/research university.[26] The full-time, four-year undergraduate program is balanced between arts and sciences and the professional fields.[26] The university is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and has 13 specialized accreditations.[27] 93% of professors have their PhD, although a majority of the faculty is Catholic laity there is still a large amount of clergy members who serve the college.

During the 2017–18 academic year, the annual base tuition for traditional (Queens and Manhattan campuses) and distance learning students is $39,690 ($41,386 for third- and fourth-year students in The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, and $45,444 for third- to sixth-year Pharm.D. majors in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences). In fall 2016, 96 percent of St. John's undergraduates received some $497 million in financial aid. Seventy-four percent of student borrowers who graduated between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016, had an average loan debt of $34,234.[28]

Student body

By circa 2013 the student body originated from 122 countries, and Father Harrington stated that the majority of the student body was not of a Catholic background.[20] The school enrolled homeless students and in general had emphasis on enrolling students from less favorable financial circumstances.[20]

In fall 2016, St. John's enrolled 21,087 students—16,440 undergraduates and 4,647 graduate students. There were 3,248 new undergraduates—the largest freshman class at any US Catholic college or university. Students came from 46 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and 127 countries. The freshman retention rate was 84 percent. There were 1,461 new graduate students. In 2016, the University conferred more than 4,000 undergraduate and graduate degrees.[29]

For fall 2017, St. John's received 27,000 applications for freshman admission, with an anticipated enrollment of more than 3,000 students. The average SAT score of accepted students was 1200, with an average high school GPA of 3.49.[30]


St. John's employs 1,195 full- and part-time faculty members, more than 90 percent of whom possess a doctorate or other terminal degree in their field. The student-to-faculty ratio was 18:1; five University faculty members were featured in The Princeton Review’s “Best 300 Professors.”[31]

Rankings and reputation

University rankings
Forbes[32] 407
Times/WSJ[33] 401–500
U.S. News & World Report[34] 179
Washington Monthly[35] 272

The Peter J. Tobin College of Business at St. John's University has been ranked by Poets&Quants in their second annual ranking of the “Best Undergraduate Business Programs of 2017.”

St. John's School of Law jumped 25 spots to 82nd place nationwide in U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 “Best Law Schools” rankings.[36]

St. John's law school is ranked #38 nationwide for placing graduates in the 100 biggest law firms, making it a 2017 National Law Journal “Go-To Law School”

U.S. News & World Report’s listing of the “2016 Best Online Programs” ranked St. John's Internet-based graduate business, graduate education, and undergraduate programs among the top 100 in their respective categories.[37]

In the 2016 U.S. News & World Report ranking of "National Universities", St. John's undergraduate program was ranked tied for 153rd in the nation, with the School of Law ranked tied for 74th and the School of Education ranked 115th.[38]

In 2015 The business Insider ranked St. John's University 15th on the list of most underrated colleges and universities in America.

In the 2011 edition of the Best 368 Colleges published by The Princeton Review, St. John's was named a "Best Northeastern College."[39]

Forbes ranked St. John's 406th on its "America's Top Colleges" list in 2018.[40]

Student life

Students at St. John's are also encouraged to participate in service activities through Campus Ministries, or several other service organizations in New York as part of their collective education. The university also provides funding to the Student Government, Inc. (SGI) to be disseminated among 180 academic, professional, and recreational student organizations, and hosts many notable guest speakers throughout the academic year.[42]

Although no rail station directly serves the campus, numerous stops offer one bus connections via MTA. For the subway, these stations include Kew Gardens/Union Turnpike, 169th Street and Main Street Flushing. The LIRR's Jamaica Station also provides direct bus service to campus. The St. John's Campus Shuttle runs non stop from Jamaica Station to the Queens Campus Monday through Friday.[43]

Fraternities and sororities



There are 32 recognized fraternity and sorority chapters at St. John's.[44]


  • The Torch is the official student-run newspaper of St. John's University. Founded in 1922, the paper has shifted in and out of the control of the university, but has been financially independent since 1980. In 1988, The Torch was inducted into the Associated Collegiate Press Hall of Fame after being awarded a number of awards from various collegiate newspaper organizations.
  • WREDtv is the official television station of St. John's University. Founded in 1970, the station is completely student-run and creates original programming centered on Student Life at the university; ranging from news and sports programs to various comedy and general interest shows. Shows are produced and shot in the television studio in the school's TV center, as well as productions shot around the St. John's campus and New York City.[45]
  • Rho Chi Post is the official student-run newsletter of the St. John's University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.[46] The newsletter accepts articles from students from all majors and contributors do not have to be a member of Rho Chi Society to submit their work. All articles are peer-reviewed.[47]
  • The Storm Front is the official student-run newspaper of St. John's University Staten Island Campus.[48] It was organized in 2005 and succeeded The Arrow as the campus newspaper after The Arrow was later seen as a throw-back to the university's former Redmen theme.
  • Proteus is the literary magazine of the Staten Island Campus. It is released as a compilation of student-submitted works through the St. John's University Creative Expression's Guild.[49]
  • WSJU Radio, which opened in 1974, is the official radio station of St. John's University; the staff and crew consists of St. John's University students. The broadcasts are played in Marillac Cafeteria and simulcast on the internet. WSJU is an official member of The National Association of College Broadcasters (NACB) and the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS).[50]
  • Sequoya is an independent and student-run literary magazine[51] at St. John's University in New York City. Its mission is to showcase talents of St. John's students in the fields of literature and arts. The magazine is published annually by a collaboration of Departments of English and Fine Arts.

Performing arts

  • The St. John's University Jazz Band has been the Queen's campus' jazz ensemble since 1987. The band performs at numerous on-campus events and holds performances both as headliners and alongside the other performing arts groups. Their repertoire spans the many different incarnations of jazz music, and the group contains some of the university's most elite musicians. They are not to be confused with the pep band, which performs at the Red Storm sporting events.[52]
  • The St. John's University Mixed Chorus has been a part of the university's tradition since 1911, and is one of the two sanctioned vocal groups under performing arts. The group performs both on and off campus, as well as abroad. Their repertoire includes many classical and traditional songs, and songs with pertinence to the school's history, with recent forays into popular music.[53]
  • The Voices of Victory Gospel Choir has been the Queens campus' premier gospel music group since 1988, and is one of the two sanctioned vocal groups under performing arts. The group is known for their dramatic and impassioned performances both on and off campus, and abroad. Their repertoire contains history's many different embodiments of spiritual music in both traditional and contemporary respects.[54]
  • The Chappell Players Theater Group has been the Queen campus' dramatic arts organization since the 1930s. The group is known for their stage plays and musicals put on throughout the academic year and their hands-on approach to both on-stage performance and behind the scenes tech.[55]
  • The Chamber Music Society is a newer organization to St. John's. This group is made up of instrumentalists including violinists, violists, and cellists, singers, and composers who form small ensembles to perform at the semester concerts. CMS has performed at several events on the Queens campus such as Accepted Students Day, the investiture for Dr. Gempesaw, Women's History Month, Presidential Donor dinners, and Skull & Circle Convocation.


St. John's University locations:

Jamaica, Queens: Hillcrest, Queens – The main campus of St. John's University is located in the residential Hillcrest section of the borough of Queens of New York City. This 105-acre (0.42 km2) campus houses several academic buildings, 8 residence halls, athletic facilities, and the St. Augustine Library. The Queens campus features stone buildings and student residence halls. Facilities include laboratory and classroom buildings, the main collections of its 1.7 million-volume library; and athletic facilities for students and St. John's Division I athletic teams. The University Center is the 127,000 square foot, five story D'Angelo Center, which features banquet space, classrooms, club space, a food court, game rooms, lecture halls, and a first floor lounge.

Branch campuses:

  • Staten Island – Originally Notre Dame College, today the Staten Island Campus has expanded to include 16.5 acres (67,000 m2) serving over 2,000 students who are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The 16.5-acre (67,000 m2) campus features lawns, apartment-style student residences, and architectural styles that range from red-brick colonial to the modern. The campus is located in the residential Grymes Hill section of Staten Island.
  • Manhattan – St. John's Manhattan campus houses St. John's School of Risk Management, a division of The Peter J. Tobin College of Business. It is located at 101 Astor Place in the East Village area of New York City. The campus occupies 71,000-square-feet on the first three floors of the 12-story, 400,000-square-foot building. The campus is close to other major institutions of higher education, including The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Art and Science, New York University, and The New School. The facility was dedicated on October 9, 2014, after relocating from 101 Murray Street on Manhattan's lower West Side.
  • Rome, ItalySt. John University - Rome functions as a graduate degree-granting institution and supports undergraduate study-abroad programs. Study abroad programs on the Rome campus are offered on the undergraduate level for fall, winter, spring and summer terms in several academic fields. The campus also offers graduate programs leading to a Master of Arts or Master of Business Administration degree. The campus is located on a city block in the rione of Prati and houses both academic, residential and administrative space on four floors. On-campus dormitory housing is available to all accepted undergraduate and graduate students. The campus was founded with the help of the Catholic University of American and helps to keep close ties between the university and the Vatican.[56]
  • Paris, France – In 2008, St. John's announced the formation of full-time and semester-abroad programs at a new academic location in Paris, France. The location is situated within the Vincentian Motherhouse in Paris.
  • Hauppauge – St. John's University's Long Island Graduate Center is home to graduate programs in The School of Education and St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The campus is centrally located at 120 Commerce Drive.[57]

Campus renovations

In 2008, St. John's University broke ground for the new University Center/Academic Building, one of the largest and most comprehensive construction projects in St. John's recent history. Located between Sullivan Hall and the Taffner Field House on the site that currently serves as stadium seating for lacrosse and track and field events, the 110,000 square feet (10,000 m2) complex has been designed to significantly enhance student life on campus. Now completed, the building, rises dramatically over the upper campus, contains 14 technologically sophisticated, state-of-the-art classrooms with approximately 800 seats. In addition, it includes a café, lounge, recreation and entertainment spaces, student organization offices and conference and meeting rooms devoted exclusively to student use. The building is named "The D'Angelo Center" after board of trustees member Peter D'Angelo '78 MBA, and his wife Peg D'Angelo '70 Ed.

In 2005, St. John's constructed Taffner Field house, and dramatically renovated Carnesecca Hall and the University Center. Renovations to Carnesecca Hall included a 6,400 sq ft (590 m2). Health Center, for use by Student Life and athletics, including weight training equipment, aerobic and dance studios, and a student lounge. The University Center renovations consisted of reconfigured office and meeting space for Student Life and academic clubs, and the addition of audio/visual rooms for all varsity athletic teams. Taffner Athletic Field House was $23 million initiative. The two-story, 38,000 sq ft (3,500 m2). structure adjacent to Carnesecca Hall includes four basketball courts, academic classrooms.

The 2004–2005 academic years saw $35 million in capital projects, including the completion of St. Thomas More church, the DaSilva academic building, Carnesecca Hall Fitness Center, and Belson Stadium. In 2005 the science labs and student life facilities were the target of an additional $60 million in capital enhancements. In regards to its expansion plans, the university has had a contentious relationship with the surrounding community in the past.[58] In 2007, however, it was discovered that the university was planning to lease a building under construction by a separate company for an off-campus dormitory.[59] Residents argue that such a plan goes against the school's pledge of being a "good neighbor" towards the community.[59] The university, however, contends that it did not break the pledge for it was only leasing the structure not building it.[60] Nevertheless, opponents, including state Senator Frank Padavan, argue that such an explanation is "disingenuous".[59]

The university has seen much growth on its campuses in order to attract students from outside the New York area. In 1999, the first dormitory was completed on the Queens campus. As of 2008, the campus now contains seven dorms and a townhouse complex.[61]


Fishman stated that in 1989 the school was best known across the United States for its basketball team.[20]

St. John's 17 NCAA Division I teams compete in the Big East Conference, with the exception of the fencing team, which competes in the ECAC. From 1979 to 2013, St. John's was a charter member of the original Big East Conference; in July 2013, St. John's and the other six non-FBS schools in the original Big East broke away to form the current Big East. The athletic program fields sixteen intercollegiate teams: basketball, soccer, baseball, lacrosse, tennis, golf, and fencing for men and basketball, soccer, softball, volleyball, tennis, track and field, cross country, golf, and fencing for women. In 2002, the university eliminated five men's athletic teams and one women's team in order to comply with Title IX rules prohibiting activities that receive federal assistance from discriminating on the basis of gender.[62] Until prior to the 1994-1995 school year, the St. John's mascot was the Redmen, which referenced the red uniforms worn by the university in competition. However, the name was interpreted as a Native American reference in the 1960s, and was changed to the Red Storm after mounting pressure on colleges and universities to adopt names more sensitive to Native American culture.[63][64] The Redmen name still remains popular among fans. The basketball team is the most popular collegiate basketball program in New York City and has a worldwide following. There are numerous fan forums that support the basketball program, in addition to all of the university's teams. The most popular is which often leads the mainstream sports media in breaking news regarding its sports teams. The men's basketball team has the 7th-most NCAA tournament appearances (28), two John R. Wooden Award winners, 11 consensus All-Americans, 6 members of the College Basketball Hall of Fame, and has sent 59 players to the NBA. Even even as late as 1990 was said to not compare to other basketball powerhouses like Michigan State. However, of the top 5 teams, Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Duke, and St. John's, St. John's is the only team not to win an NCAA championship for basketball, and currently holds the NCAA Division I record for most NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship appearances without a championship. St. John's men's basketball has won several National Championships including the 1911 Helms Athletic Foundation National Championship and the 1943 and 1944 back to back NIT National Championships.[65] The men's basketball team has achieved success in the NCAA Tournament as well including appearing in the 1952 NCAA National Championship game, advancing to the 1985 NCAA Final Four and having appeared in the NCAA Elite Eight in 1979, 1991 & 1999. Their most recent appearance in the NCAA Tournament was in 2015. The Red Storm play most of their home games at Madison Square Garden, "The World's Most Famous Arena", while their early non-conference games are held at Carnesecca Arena on the St. John's campus in Queens.[66] St. John's University holds the second best winning percentage for a New York City school in the NCAA basketball tournament (second to City College of New York – which won one NCAA Div 1 Championships as the CCNY Beavers men's basketball[67]) St. John's has the most NIT appearances with 27, the most championship wins with 6, although they were stripped of one due to an NCAA infraction.[68] In 2008, St. John's celebrated its 100th year of college basketball.

The St. John's men's soccer program has appeared in 15 consecutive NCAA tournaments, advancing to the Sweet 16 in each of the last ten seasons, and the Final Four on 3 occasions. They have captured 11 Big East Championships, including the 2006 season title as well as the 2009 season title, and in 1996, St. John's won the NCAA National Championship. Their home games are hosted at Belson Stadium, a state-of-the-art 2,300-seat stadium on the university campus.[66] In 2006, the men's soccer team became the first American soccer team to be invited to play in Vietnam. The team played against several Vietnam Football Federation squads as well as participating in community service.[69]

The St. John's baseball team has been to the College World Series six times, recorded 26 NCAA appearances, 6 Big East Championships and have sent over 70 players on to professional baseball careers, most recently 2014 World Series Champion Joe Panik of the San Francisco Giants.[70] The 3,500-seat "Ballpark at St. John's" was renamed "Jack Kaiser Stadium" in 2007 after the Hall of Fame Coach and former St. John's Athletic Director. The stadium is one of the largest college baseball stadiums in the northeast, and is a featured venue on the EA Sports MVP NCAA Baseball video game.[66] The stadium had been conceived out of a deal between the university and the Giuliani administration, wherein the latter wanted to find a location for a single-A team that would be affiliated with the New York Mets. Expressing concern about quality of life issues and the spending of public money for a private religious institution, surrounding neighborhood civic groups and local politicians protested the plan. In order to placate their concerns, however, the Mets offered to open it up to the communities for local high school games and youth programs,[71] and the stadium was built amid many large-scale protests by community residents and by State Senator Frank Padavan,[72] while also using city financing.[73] The Red Storm played the first ever game at the Mets' new ballpark, Citi Field, on March 29, 2009.

The St. John's fencing program has also attained national prominence including Olympians Keeth Smart and Ivan Lee. In 2001, St. John's won the NCAA Fencing Championship. The team has ranked in the top five each of the last 10 years, and finished 2nd in the NCAA during 1995, 2000, 2002, 2007 and 2010 seasons. In addition to team accolades, St. John's has won twenty two NCAA Individual National Championship titles.[66] On April 12, 2016, St. John's alums Daryl Homer and Dagmar Wozniak were both named to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Fencing Team, marking the second time that each has been selected as a member of the U.S squad.[74]

St John's Women's Athletics

The women's programs at St. John's University have also enjoyed a tremendous amount of success. The women's volleyball, soccer, tennis, basketball & softball teams have combined to win 9 Big East Championships and appear in 17 NCAA Tournaments since the 1980s.

  • Volleyball - the women's volleyball team at St. John's have won 3 Big East Regular Season Championships (2006, 2007 & 2008) and won the Big East Championship in 2007 and appeared in the Women's Volleyball NCAA Tournament in 2006 & 2007.[75]
  • Basketball - along with the St. John's Fencing program, the women's basketball program at St. John's has been one of the most successful women's programs at the university. The Red Storm women's program are 4 time Big East Champions (1983, 1984, 1988 & 2016) and have appeared in 10 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournaments, including 7 appearances since 2006. On February 18, 2012, the St. John's women's team defeated perennial national power the UConn Lady Huskies 57-56, in Connecticut, to end the Lady Huskies 99 game home court winning streak.[76]
  • Soccer - the women's soccer program at St. John's won the 1994 Big East Championship and appeared in the NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament in 2009 and 2013.[77]
  • Softball - the 2015 campaign for the St. John's softball team was a historic one for the program. The Red Storm softball team won their first ever Big East Championship in 2015 and appeared in the 2015 NCAA Softball Tournament for the first time in program history.[78]


  • In the early 1960s, in one of the biggest point shaving scandals in the school's history, three St. John's athletes were accused of having taken bribes.[79]
  • The 1990 St. John's lacrosse team rape case involved five members of the St. John's University Lacrosse team who were acquitted of charges.[80][81] One student pleaded guilty to second degree sexual abuse.[82] Another member pleaded guilty to sexual assault and a third to two counts of sexual misconduct and unlawful imprisonment.[83]
  • In 2000, St. John's was criticized by the NCAA for misrepresenting facts in an NCAA investigation.[84][85]
  • In 2003, it was revealed that Abe Keita, a basketball player, was given a $300 monthly allowance and free school books to be on the team which violated NCAA standards. Expecting NCAA penalties, the university announced a self-imposed two-year ban on postseason play.[86]

Notable alumni

St. John's has over 170,000 alumni, 82% of whom reside in the Greater New York Metropolitan Area.[87] Some of the most recognized alumni are former New York Governors Hugh L. Carey and Mario M. Cuomo, former California Governor George Deukmejian, New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce Ronald H. Brown, Queen's Borough President Melinda Katz, and Grammy-nominated artist and producer J.Cole.

  • Anthony Bevilacqua, Catholic Prelate, Archbishop of Philadelphia, having previously served as Bishop of Pittsburgh.
  • Robert J. Brennan, Catholic Prelate, Bishop of Columbus, Ohio and previous auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.


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Further reading

  • Hueppe, Frederick E., "The Radiant Light: a history of St. John's College presented in the Vincentian," 1955, (St. John's University Archives).
  • Morris, Barbara L., "To Define A Catholic University: the 1965 Crisis at St. John's" (Ed. D. thesis, Columbia University Teachers College, 1977)
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