Aiden Johnson, a first-year student at SJC Long Island, is excited at the prospect of truly finding himself during his time at the College.
And he’s just one of nearly 400 new students looking for something similar who attended Investiture — a 106-year-old tradition of St. Joseph’s College — Wednesday, Sept. 22, during common hour outside on the Danzi Field.
“This is the next step in my journey to realizing who I am,” said Johnson, who’s interested in majoring in Journalism and New Media Studies and getting involved in Studio 155 as well as the Equestrian Team. “In general, I’m just really excited to figure out who I am throughout these next four years.”
Finding Your Way in the World
The sentiment of finding oneself was echoed by St. Joseph’s President Donald R. Boomgaarden, Ph.D, when he formally addressed the College’s Class of 2025 for the first time.
“This is an important part of what we do at St. Joseph’s College,” Dr. Boomgaarden said. “Of course, you’re going to get a wonderful degree, you’re going to have preparation in life to have a successful career. But on a deeper level, on a more important level, you’re going to have a chance to explore who you are, to get to know yourself and to find your way in the world, just as all of us on this stage did.”
SGA President Antonia Dickson, a member of Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority and an Orientation Leader who’s involved in one of the College’s five-year dual degree programs, also addressed the first-year students.
“I’m sure by this point you’ve all been told 1,000 times to get involved, and I’m here today to tell you for the 1,001 time to do just that,” said Dickson, who expects to graduate in 2023 with a B.A. in English and a Concentration in Adolescence Education, and in 2024 with an M.A. in Special Education.
“As you all saw yesterday at our Club Fair, we have some amazing clubs and organizations run by some truly incredible people,” Dickson continued. “Getting involved allows you to make new friends and try new things. It pushes you out of your comfort zone and lets you find yourself. So instead of saying get involved for the 1,002nd time, I will instead leave you with this: Decisions are made by those who show up.”
It seems SJC Long Island’s newest students are doing just that: showing up and getting involved.
“I chose St. Joseph’s mostly for the clubs and the curriculum,” said Aivy Le, who’s majoring in criminal justice and who reported feeling confident in her decision to attend SJC. “I’m going to do the Psychology, Sociology and Green Team Clubs.”
Jecelyn Rocano, who plans to major in psychology, is interested in joining the Psychology Club.
“I’m excited. This signifies the next step to my future,” Rocano, who hopes to one day work for a nonprofit that helps people with cancer, said of Investiture.
Toward the end of the event, members of the Class of 2025 recited the Oath of Integrity, an act which symbolizes their formal investment into the College community.
First-year students also heard from Shantey Hill, vice president for Student Life and Campus Service; Fr. Francis Pizzarelli, S.M.M., DCSW, senior lecturer of sociology and chaplain; Gigi Lamens, vice president for Enrollment Management; Eileen White Jahn, Ph.D., executive dean; Bryan Gill, executive director of Student Involvement, Leadership and Intercultural Engagement and coordinator of FYE; Wendy Turgeon, Ph.D., professor and chair of philosophy and coordinator of SJC 100; Paulina Melin, director of Alumni Engagement; and Cristian Murphy, director of Campus Ministry.
Recognized during Investiture were three scholarship recipients: Taylor Marie Korsiak, Ryan Bendelson and Mikayla Silva-Oyola.
Korsiak, a Board of Trustees Scholar, graduated in the top two percent of her class at Deer Park High School, where she was senior president. Bendelson received the Sister George Aquin O’Connor Scholarship. He graduated from Comsewogue High School with a GPA of 99.84 in an accelerated curriculum of all honors and advanced placement classes. Silva-Oyola, recipient of the Blanche A. Knauth Scholarship, attended Lindenhurst High School, where she graduated in the top six percent of her class.
“We are so proud to see many of our students at St. Joseph’s College achieve a high level of success,” Hill said.