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Delaney Reception Welcomes Graduates into the Alumni Community

The Duncan Family Sky Room was alive with a jubilant vibe as the Class of 2017 celebrated their last few days together during the John J. Delaney ’50 Alumni Reception. The celebration officially welcomes the new graduates into a family of more than 30,000 alumni who call Saint Peter’s University alma mater. Also in attendance were GOLD (Graduates Of the Last Decade) alumni and the Class of 2007, which was celebrating its 10-year reunion.

Enthusiastic graduates reminisced as they shared their last few days at Saint Peter’s together. The event featured a photo booth, dancing, food and drinks.

Nikki Mederos ’05, ’07, ’10, adjunct professor at Saint Peter’s and president of the Saint Peter’s University Alumni Board, addressed the class.

Having three degrees from Saint Peter’s, Mederos understands why the students choose to come here, “I personally chose Saint Peter’s for its welcoming atmosphere and as a full-time working adult with two small children at the time, a very flexible schedule.”

In addition to providing the first opportunity to welcome the Class of 2017 as the newest members of the alumni community, she also introduced the awards given out that night to two graduates and a member of the faculty, which commemorate their outstanding contributions to the University community.

“These award winners display the best of what Saint Peter’s is—a community of caring individuals who are dedicated to the spirit of excellence and engaged in service,” said Mederos.

Marilyn Cohen, Ph.D., professor in the sociology and urban studies department and the director of women’s studies program, was selected as the 2017 recipient of the George F. Johnson, S.J. Faculty Award for excellence in teaching and success in leading students to greater knowledge. David Surrey, Ph.D., professor in the sociology and urban studies department, introduced Dr. Cohen to the crowd, emphasizing that she filled a void in the sociology department because she was the first female faculty mentor in that department and she represented the students in the room. She founded the gender sexuality minor and forced students to raise their level of writing.

The James J. Damiano ’53 Award – named after a dedicated member of the Alumni Board from the Class of 1953 – was presented to two members of the graduating class who have demonstrated leadership and scholarship during their time at the University. James Brzozowski ’17 received the award for the night session and Jessica Garrett ’17 was honored with the award for the day session.

Elizabeth Kane, M.B.A., evening dean of the School of Professional Continuing Studies, introduced Brzozowski, saying that she knew from the moment she met him at the instant decision event he attended that he was serious about his education and dedicated to his work.

“This 60 year old man has all the qualities needed to pursue a degree: passion, determination and motivation,” Kane said, highlighting that he has a perfect 4.0 GPA and that he has made the dean’s list every term. Brzozowski hopes to continue his work of teaching English to Chinese students.

David Bryngil ’91, director of The Victor R. Yanitelli, S.J. Recreational Life Center, introduced Garrett and highlighted her many accomplishments, including recruiting new students, giving tours as a Pavo, serving as an EMT and RA, being a peer educator and funding two organizations on campus.

“Jessica is a true servant leader and pillar of virtue. She is a woman for others,” said Bryngil.

In an effort to give back to the University that gave them so much, The Senior Class Gift Advancement Ambassadors presented University President Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., with a check for the Senior Class Gift. The gift was raised as part of a crowd funding campaign and included an annual Senior Class Gift commitment from Anne Butler ’69. The class was able to raise $3,255 for The General Scholarship Fund.

“By contributing, you have given future peacocks the chance to experience the transformative impact of the Jesuit education offered here at Saint Peter’s,” said Arlene Ganess ’17, one of the Senior Class Gift Ambassadors.

The Delaney Reception, hosted by the Saint Peter’s University Office of Alumni Engagement and the Alumni Board serves as a starting point for every member of the graduating class in remaining an integral part of the University family. During the event, the Class of 2017 discovered that commencement does not mark the end of their relationship with Saint Peter’s. It is only the beginning of a lifelong connection to the Peacock family. After the Delaney Reception, each graduate knows Saint Peter’s University is a place they can always call home.

To view photos from the evening, click here. To stay connected with fellow alumni, visit the alumni community page here.