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Joan M. Quigley ’77 Serves as Keynote Speaker at 2013 Michaelmas Convocation

Joan M. Quigley ’77, former New Jersey assemblywoman, provided the keynote address for the 2013 Saint Peter’s University Michaelmas Convocation. Students, faculty, staff, parents and friends gathered at the Yanitelli Recreational Life Center (RLC) on the University’s Jersey City campus on Wednesday, September 25, for the Convocation, which recognizes Saint Peter’s students who have excelled academically throughout the 2012-2013 school year.

During her address, Quigley recounted what she believed her life would consist of as a woman: being a wife and mother. She achieved the stereotypical goals set upon her, stating that she had the family, the house in Jersey City and even a dog. Yet, she always felt that something was missing.

“Every time I looked out my window, there was Saint Peter’s calling to me,” she said. Quigley finally decided to enroll. I took the plunge, and my life truly changed.”

Quigley joined the Saint Peter’s community at the same time that her youngest child entered school. She received a bachelor’s degree in urban studies (summa cum laude) in 1977, while simultaneously receiving an associate’s degree in public policy from Hudson County Community College. Quigley went on to receive an academic scholarship to Rutgers University, where she earned a master’s in public administration.

Her political career began during the campaign for Frank J. Guarini H ’94 for Congress, in which he asked Quigley to become his campaign manager.

“At the time, I was the first woman to run a major political campaign,” she said, a campaign that turned into a victory for Guarini.

Later, Quigley became an assemblywoman, representing parts of Hudson and Bergen counties in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1994 to 2012.

Quigley is presently the president and CEO of the North Hudson Community Action Corporation, which consists of 11 family health centers in three counties, four Head Start programs and a host of social service agencies that provide job placement, food and housing assistance, immigration counseling and help for veterans.

Quigley stated the secret to her professional success was communication, and urged all students in attendance to connect and correspond with as many people as possible for their professional and personal wellbeing.

“Whatever you want to achieve, you won’t be able to do it alone,” she stated, stressing the importance of communicating with bosses, family, coworkers and other individuals to network, work as a team in the workplace and more.

Quigley concluded by saying, “Saint Peter’s is justly proud that the University educates future leaders in every field.” Many of those leaders were in attendance to receive distinct awards, such as undergraduate awards and inclusion into various honor societies.

Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., president of Saint Peter’s University, congratulated the students, faculty and parents on their successes.

“Thanks to all of you for making Saint Peter’s a place of growth and grace,” he said.

Each year at the Michaelmas Convocation, 10 senior students are inducted into the oldest scholarship society at Saint Peter’s, the Most Noble Order of the Peacock (MNOP), for attaining the highest scholastic average in all courses throughout their first three years at the University. The students inducted into this year’s MNOP society include Steven Sheftall, Sandesh Bhandari, Animesh Singh, Vanessa Vogel, Laura Reinhart, Aimee Schnecker, Shadman Hassan, Kevin Croucher, Tyler Carle and Ayasser Ramirez.

Additionally, students received achievement awards in all academic areas, including the sciences, arts and business, among many others, and guests were treated to performances by the Aidan C. McMullen Chorale.

View more photos from the event here.