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President's Reception Celebrates New Era for Saint Peter's University

Tuesday, November 6, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Angeline Boyer
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Lights from the windows of skyscrapers illuminated the night sky like artificial stars while soft waves rippled across the Hudson River, treating guests of the President’s Reception on Thursday, October 25, to an exquisite postcard-like view of the New York City skyline – all from within the event’s location at the Hyatt Regency Jersey City.

And that’s just how the evening was: picture perfect.

The President’s Reception is an annual celebration where Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., president of Saint Peter’s University, personally thanks members of the President’s Council, a core group of Saint Peter’s alumni and friends who have demonstrated an admirable dedication to the University’s mission and students by generously making an investment of $1,000 or more annually.

"I know this is the President's Reception and it is indeed one of my most enjoyable moments each year to stand up here and share with you my – our – gratitude,” Dr. Cornacchia said during his address to the audience. "But the whole reason we all support Saint Peter's – whether it be as faculty members or administrators, donors or community partners – the reason we all do it is for our students and for their promising futures and what that means to our world.”

As alumni, friends, faculty, staff, and students joined together for an evening of elegance, Dr. Cornacchia delivered an address that updated those in attendance about the University’s monumental milestones from the past year.

The reoccurring theme for the evening was "Tradition and Progress,” which is a simple and concise summation of the values Saint Peter’s continues to live by. One of these triumphs occurred on August 17, 2012, when Saint Peter’s College officially became known as Saint Peter’s University.

"The attainment of university status is a giant step forward for this institution,” Dr. Cornacchia said during his speech.

In his address, Dr. Cornacchia noted that university status holds positive changes for Saint Peter’s, such as a renewed emphasis on Jesuit mission and identity, the recruitment and retainment of the best and brightest faculty, and the emergence of new – as well as enhanced – programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. And yet while Saint Peter’s continues to pursue change, the University also treasures the rich 140-year history that made the dawning of this new era possible.

"Nearly 94 percent of our support comes from those of you who are in this room and the others who make up the 567-donor President's Council,” he said. "Your belief in our past, present and, especially, our future is what fuels us to pivotal moments such as becoming Saint Peter's University. Who knows what's coming in the next 10, 25, 50 years for us? With support like yours, the possibilities are limitless.”

Dr. Cornacchia thanked supporters for their continued generosity and belief in Saint Peter’s special brand of Jesuit education, which ensures that "Tradition and Progress” continues, and helps to create new possibilities for current and future generations of students. One of these students is Jamie Lisanti ’13, a communication major and a member of the women’s soccer team who was recently inducted into the Most Noble Order of the Peacock.  This special society inducts top students for attaining the highest scholastic average in all courses throughout their first three years at the University.

As the student speaker at the President’s Reception, Lisanti echoed Dr. Cornacchia’s words regarding the importance of a Jesuit education.

She said, "Because of the small class sizes, I have been able to establish strong relationships with my professors and receive a very personalized education. Cura personalis is Latin for "care for the entire person” and is one of the Jesuit ideals and a foundation of the Saint Peter’s education. The strong relationships with my teachers, and their care and support for my future endeavors after I graduate, is the quintessential example of cura personalis. Ultimately, this has enabled me to achieve high academic success during my time at Saint Peter’s.”

Another student in attendance, Hannah Charles ’14 – a history major with ambitions of becoming a teacher – treated guests to a rendition of "Ave Maria” on the steel pan with piano accompaniment by Salvatore Simone ’73, a recently retired member of the general maintenance department at the University.  

The President’s Reception also featured another special celebration of Saint Peter’s past and present. University Archives and the Theresa and Edward O’Toole Library set up an exhibit at the Hyatt – Photographic Highlights of Saint Peter’s, 1872-2012 – for attendees of the reception to enjoy. The exhibit featured such items as a replicated copy of a 1965 Michaelmas Convocation program signed by Martin Luther King Jr., a photograph of Saint Peter’s Jesuits from 1888, and a collage of images from the University Celebration BBQ held in September. Replicas of the original charter as well as the letter President Cornacchia received from the State of New Jersey granting University status were also on display.

"[The exhibit] perfectly summarizes our story, 140 years in the making,” said Dr. Cornacchia. "What better way to pay tribute to the present and look forward to the future than to celebrate our past. None of what we have achieved this year would have been possible without our rich tradition.”

With views of the past, present and future, guests left the President’s Reception with an optimistic outlook for the next chapter for The Jesuit University of New Jersey.

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