President’s Reception Celebrates the Birth and Rebirth at Saint Peter’s College
Friday, December 9, 2011
Posted by: Angeline Boyer
For years, the annual President’s Reception was held in the fall, but this year, on Wednesday, December 7, Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., president of Saint Peter’s College, welcomed alumni and friends to the Liberty House Restaurant in Liberty State Park, to thank them for their generous support of the College. As guests of the event enjoyed the impressive views of the New York City skyline among the festive decorations in the ballroom and the sound of holiday music performed by the Aidan C. McMullen Chorale, it was hard not to get into the Christmas spirit.
The timing of this event provided the perfect backdrop for the celebration since Christmas is all about giving and gratitude, but furthermore it is about birth. The recurring theme of the evening was exactly that - the birth and rebirth that is currently underway at the College.
In his address, Dr. Cornacchia discussed all of the "births” or new initiatives in progress at the College including the groundbreaking of the student center, the public phase of the Students at the Center: The Campaign for Saint Peter’s College as well as the opening of the Guarini Center for Community Memory, energy projects on campus and more. Dr. Cornacchia also touched on the "rebirth” in the College community, particularly the revitalization of McGinley Square and St. Aedan’s Church becoming St. Aedan’s: The Saint Peter’s College Church.
Dr. Cornacchia thanked the guests for their selfless giving to the College. "All of the wonderful strides the College has made in the past year, enabling Saint Peter’s College to be reborn, have been made possible by you,” he said.
Dr. Cornacchia made it very easy for guests to identify all of the initiatives that their generous contributions support, but Presidential Scholar and speaker James MacConchie ’11, truly demonstrated what these contributions mean on a very personal level.
MacConchie was given a full scholarship to Saint Peter’s College, but was sadly diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma as a freshman. He shared the trials and tribulations he faced during his battle with cancer and the tremendous support he received from the College during this difficult time. He explained that in order to ensure his future he had to continue with his education and Saint Peter’s College helped him to do that by promising to honor his scholarship upon completion of his treatment.
His fight against cancer, coupled with losing his father to another form of cancer, inspired MacConchie to become a pediatric oncologist. "I came to Saint Peter’s to study the history of the world and how societies and cultures interact, but I ended up studying cells, a much narrower chronicle of humanity, but an infinitely more personal one,” he said. The College provided him with a unique opportunity as an undergraduate researcher and continues to play a significant role today as he further pursues his education.
The event truly marked the progress the College has made since last year’s reception and the guests left with an optimistic view of the future of the Jesuit College of New Jersey.