Saint Peter’s Path to Distinction Celebrated at Annual President’s Reception
#Grateful and #Blessed were trending at this year’s President’s Reception, held on October 13 at the Pleasantdale Château in West Orange.
The President’s Reception is an event held annually to thank and recognize the members of the University’s premier giving society, the President’s Council. Gratitude was the theme of the evening, and it emanated from every individual at the event.
The President’s Council is comprised of alumni ranging from the Class of 1936 to 2016, faculty, administrators, friends of the University and corporations and foundations. Appreciation for these loyal donors was expressed in multiple ways throughout the evening.
Attendees had the opportunity to meet and take photos with students who held signs that read #Blessed, #Grateful and “Thank you for investing in me.” They heard words of gratitude from Saint Peter’s University President Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., and from Veramarie Jiminez ’18, president of the Student Government Association. In addition, the donors were thanked in a video highlighting Pathways to Distinction: The Saint Peter’s University Strategic Plan.
“Gratitude is at the heart of all we do,” said Dr. Cornacchia during his address, as he highlighted some of the recent University accomplishments that would not have been possible without the support of the President’s Council. Dr. Cornacchia shared that the University is grateful for the record-breaking number of freshmen and transfer students and the largest graduate enrollment ever with 900 students. The University is also grateful to be the recipient of a number of large grants and gifts including a $1 million gift from the Give Something Back Foundation for student scholarships, a grant from the NCAA Accelerating Academic Success Program to improve learning environments for student-athletes, and the largest grant in University history: $3.8 million from the U.S. Department of Education for a STEM project titled SURGE.
“These grants are indicative of a growing collective confidence in Saint Peter’s as being a University of distinction,” Dr. Cornacchia said as he unveiled the video that demonstrated all that Saint Peter’s has accomplished and what the University aspires to achieve through Pathways to the Distinction. At the heart of this plan lies the desire to graduate students for careers and purposeful lives through teaching excellence, experiential learning and community engagement. The video called on the audience to, “harness our collective power to forge the next chapter in Saint Peter’s remarkable history.”
Students are the individuals most impacted by the gifts of the donors. One grateful student, Jiminez, took the stage to share her story. She learned to appreciate Jesuit values when she took a year off from college to live in a mission house in the Dominican Republic. She discovered that her purpose in life was to give back to others.
“Serving in this mission house showed me that I was strong and willing to persevere through hours of labor. Service to others is where I excelled,” she said.
Saint Peter’s welcomed her back with open arms as a sophomore. She went on to become president of the Student Government Association; a job for which she feared she was ill prepared. However, she realized that her passion outweighed her fears and she would be successful as president, developing her own leadership style.
“Thank you for helping us build our lives by what you give,” she concluded.