Alumni Gather for Annual January Reunion in the Sunshine State

In January, Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., president of Saint Peter’s University and members of the University’s advancement and external affairs and campus ministry teams traveled to the Sunshine State for an annual alumni gathering at the Naples Sailing & Yacht Club.

The event consisted of a private Mass followed by a brunch. The Mass was celebrated by Rev. Rocco Danzi, S.J., vice president for mission and ministry. During his homily, Fr. Danzi spoke passionately about the Jesuit tradition being alive and well at Saint Peter’s, stating that “God’s light is shining on the Boulevard.”

Following the Mass was a brunch hosted by Josephine and Thomas O’Reilly ’69. They have been hosting the event for more than 10 years. Breaking the attendance record, 44 alumni, family and friends gathered for the event. In attendance were three guests who traveled from Miami, including Robin Richison, Esq. ’03, one of Dr. Cornacchia’s former students. Also at the event were Mary Mullin (wife of Al Mullin ’61), Alice O’Shea ’57 and Connie Coyle ’68 who have known each other since attending first grade at St. Aedan’s grammar school.

At brunch, Dr. Cornacchia introduced the Pathways to Distinction video and shared achievements thus far on the plan including the enrollment of 640 new students this year, the largest freshman class in 20 years, 2,300 total full-time undergraduates enrolled, which is the most in 32 years, and 900 graduate students enrolled, which is the most ever for the University. Dr. Cornacchia also mentioned notable gifts such as $100,000 from the NCAA Accelerating Academic Success Program to improve learning environments for Saint Peter’s athletes, $1 million from the Give Something Back Foundation for student scholarships and a $3.8 million grant, the largest in University history, from the U.S. Department of Education for STEM Undergraduate, Retention, Graduation and Empowerment.

“These grants are indicative of a growing collective confidence in Saint Peter’s as being a University of distinction,” Dr. Cornacchia said.

In his speech, Dr. Cornacchia also highlighted one student’s pathway to distinction. Veramarie Jiminez ’18 decided to take time off from Saint Peter’s after her freshman year and live in a mission house in the Dominican Republic. She filled her days with prayers and chores—not a typical day for a college sophomore, but she learned that she was strong; willing to persevere through hours of labor and that service to others was where she excelled. She returned to Saint Peter’s rejuvenated and now serves her fellow students as the president of the student government association.

While in the Sunshine State, Dr. Cornacchia and Leah Leto, M.Ed. ’05, vice president for advancement and external affairs, also visited with alumni on Florida’s east coast, from Vero to Juno Beach.

To learn more about future alumni events in your area, please visit