DiJulia Among Those Celebrated, $450,000 Raised for Scholarship at Leadership Awards Dinner

Thursday, October 25, 2018

by Kevin Donahue

The best leaders know that leading is a team game. And the four honorees at the University’s Leadership Awards Dinner, held Thursday, Oct. 25, at the Marriott Downtown in Philadelphia, made quite a team.

Glenn P. Todaro ‘07, Eileen Cardile ‘87, Jim Norris ‘85, and Don DiJulia ‘67 made a fabulous foursome. Todaro is an exceptional promoter of the University; Cardille and Norris currently serve on the University Board of Trustees; and DiJulia epitomizes what it means to be a Hawk. (Watch video tributes to Norris, Todaro, Cardile and DiJulia.)

“The alumni we honor tonight are evidence of the impact of a St. Joe’s education,” University President Mark C. Reed, Ed. D., told the large crowd, “evidence of how far it can take you, but also how it grounds you in the things that matter the most in life.”

Those themes were present throughout the night, and never more so than in the evening’s emotional finale — the presentation of DiJulia with the Shield of Loyola, which recognizes professional success, an embrace of Jesuit values, and loyalty to the University. 

In introducing the longtime director of athletics, who retired from the position in May, Reed called him “an icon.”

“For many, he is Saint Joseph’s University,” Reed said. “This is no exaggeration. Don DiJulia is a mentor, coach, friend, confidante; he is a fan, leader, dreamer, husband, father, grandfather. If you are lucky to call him a friend, he is just the friend you need him to be in every situation.”

As if to confirm this, Grace Bendon ‘19, from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, spoke as the student-athlete representative. Bendon, SJU’s all-time leader in career wins for women’s soccer, remembered DiJulia's admonition to the athletes to improve as students and athletes., But the most important point she heard was this: "We are determined to make you the best person you can be."

Earlier in the evening, Fr. Dan Joyce ‘87, who served as host for the evening, announced that $450,000 had been raised for the Don DiJulia ‘67 Scholarship, which will be used to provide support to deserving students. The dinner is the year’s premier fundraising event for scholarship support.

DiJulia for his part, thanked a remarkably large percentage of the people he has met at Saint Joseph’s since first visiting the campus with his high school coach and teammates in 1959. From University presidents to his friends from Ridley, from basketball coaches and successor Jill Bodensteiner to Pat, his wife of 51 years (“the guiding light, the wind beneath my wings, the head coach”), DiJulia was grateful to all. And, as always, he had his eyes on the future.

“I truly believe that the next 5 to 8 years will be among the most exciting and, yet, challenging in our history,” he said, then asked the audience to remember those from the SJU community who impacted them.

“A faculty member, staff, a coach, a Jesuit … Herman in housekeeping. Dee in the cafeteria.  Why not us? It’s our turn.”

Though he retired as director of athletics in May, remains, as for so long, a constant presence on campus, currently serving as an ambassador for the president’s office. As he wrapped up, he again looked forward.

“Buckle up and stay with us,” he said. “We need you and many more to successfully complete our bold mission and vision to successfully celebrate our 175th anniversary in the year 2026!”  

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