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Campus Community

Preparing Students for Life After College

The University’s Ready to Launch program helps students prepare for, plan and navigate life after college.

Two male business men walking and talking together

Written by: Kevin Gfeller, BS ’20

Spring 2024

Total reading time: 2 minutes

Life after college can be intimidating. Students may be jolted by the sudden change from a highly structured academic schedule to the often unpredictable nature of professional environments. Now in its second year, Saint Joseph’s Ready to Launch program was specifically created to assist with that transition. 

Ready to Launch helps students gain internship experience and build the skills necessary to prepare for and navigate life after college. Designed with students of color, LGBTQIA+, first-generation and Pell-eligible students in mind, events are held throughout the school year covering different topics from budgeting and money management to networking and authenticity. Each event allows students to ask questions of peers, alumni, and campus and community partners. 

“Personal finance and professionalism aren’t always taught in school or even at home.” - Janée N. Burkhalter, PhD, associate provost of diversity, equity and inclusion and professor of marketing

“Personal finance and professionalism aren’t always taught in school or even at home,” says Janée N. Burkhalter, PhD, associate provost of diversity, equity and inclusion and professor of marketing, who had access to similar programming in college. “For example, some students come out of college with so much debt, they don’t know how to manage it. Another example is students questioning whether tattoos are acceptable in the workplace.” 

Providing students with valuable experiences has been essential to Ready to Launch’s success. For the 2023-24 academic year, a total of 45 students are in the program — a 12% increase over the previous year. 

“I spoke with an alumna whose company has a ‘Transition into the Workplace’ program,” says Burkhalter. “She was excited and said, ‘Some of the stuff you are doing with your students, we are doing with our new hires because they are not getting it anywhere else.’”

Current students are sharing positive feedback too. Burkhalter received numerous student surveys touting how Ready to Launch has built a tight-knit community. 

“There was one group from an event last January where students, alumni and corporate partners all checked in on each other in a group chat,” says Burkhalter. “They asked how the semester was going or shared a podcast others would enjoy. I am thinking about how we can replicate that.” 

As for the future, Burkhalter has growth in mind. 

“We are always looking for other opportunities to help students,” says Burkhalter. “We know what is helpful for students will change as each class graduates, so we need to keep being creative.”

Campus Community

A Campaign for Today and Tomorrow

University drives home the immediate impact supporting the SOAR campaign has on current students.

SJU red SOAR campaign lockup with aerial image behind it

Written by: A.J. Litchfield

Spring 2024

Total reading time: 2 minutes

As Saint Joseph’s University’s historic $300-million comprehensive campaign concludes its second year, a renewed emphasis on the immediate impact of giving has struck a chord with donors. The campaign currently sits at $184 million raised, which reflects a more than $30-million increase over last year. The key to success? Donors who believe in St. Joe’s and give generously to advance the University. 

That sentiment was the driving force behind a companion initiative to the overall campaign: SOAR for Today. There are three main priorities of the campaign: $75 million for investments in campus facilities, $100 million for funding new and existing academic programs, and $125 million in support for student financial aid. 

This undertaking to raise $125 million for scholarships and financial aid has put renewed emphasis on the largest of the campaign’s priorities. For many, financial aid is a bridge to a transformative Saint Joseph’s education. To date, the University has raised more than $60 million for this initiative and has added more than 78 new endowed scholarships. Equally important are current-use funds that donors contribute through the Annual Fund, as this support provides immediate support. 

"There is no greater gift a donor can provide than that of a Saint Joseph’s education.” - Joseph Kender, senior vice president of university relations

“Financial aid is often the difference maker for a student who wants to attend St. Joe’s and, in my opinion, there is no greater gift a donor can provide than that of a Saint Joseph’s education,” says Joseph Kender, senior vice president of university relations. “It’s a game-changer. Fortunately, our alumni and friends understand this, and we are all grateful for their generosity.”

The efforts of the SOAR for Today initiative have invigorated philanthropic support for these vital goals. The result is donors like Lori Nicoletti Peruto, Esq., BS ’83, general counsel for the Philadelphia Suburban Development Corporation, who has chosen to make a second current-use gift, despite already having made a gift in support of an endowed scholarship.

“Scholarship support has always been my highest priority. If a student is otherwise qualified, the ability or lack thereof to write a check for tuition should not get in the way of their receiving an excellent SJU education,” says Peruto. “I included a current-use gift because that takes care of today's students while the endowment takes care of tomorrow's students.”

SOAR for Today, and the Saint Joseph’s community’s reception to it, have resulted in a campaign that is both poised to improve the campus and programs for future generations, while simultaneously funneling immediate support to current students today.

Campus Community

A Conversation with Women’s Golf’s Inaugural Head Coach

Alumna Theresa Luu, BBA ’22, was named the first head coach of the University’s new varsity women’s golf team, which will premier in the fall of 2024.

Theresa Luu in graduation attire in front of Mandeville Hall

Written by: Paige Verrillo, MS ’25

Spring 2024

Total reading time: 3 minutes

Saint Joseph's University announced the addition of women’s golf as a varsity sport beginning in the fall of 2024, bringing the University’s offering of Division I intercollegiate athletic programs to 21. Women's golf is the first addition for sports on Hawk Hill since the inclusion of women's soccer during the 1996-97 academic year. 

Theresa Luu, BBA ’22, will serve as the first head coach. As an undergraduate, Luu was a four-year letterwinner with the club golf program and served as the team president for two years. Not only is Luu a knowledgeable teacher of golf and a passionate alumna of Saint Joseph’s, she also shares the mission and vision for the University’s athletics program. Luu is eager to create a supportive and motivating environment so that every Hawk can reach their full potential. 

What does being the first head coach for Saint Joseph's women's golf program mean to you?

This is a dream come true. … Not only is this a great addition to SJU athletics, but also to women’s golf as a whole. It is a step in the right direction to grow the game of golf for females. Additionally, being the first head coach allows me to be able to build the program in a way that instills the values of hard work, perseverance and determination, both on and off the golf course.

What have you learned from your time at St. Joe's that you plan to pass on as a coach?

My time at Saint Joseph's has been influential in shaping my understanding about the Jesuit values and the concept of cura personalis — care for the entire person. This principle emphasizes the importance of the holistic development of one's physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual and social well-being. As a coach, I plan to pass on these lessons by creating a culture within my team that prioritizes the well-being and development of each athlete.

What is your primary focus as you build our women's golf program?

To create a culture of women empowerment, grit and determination. I want to focus on serving as a mentor and advocate for success in academics, athletics and personal development for each player, empowering them to excel not only in golf but also in their future endeavors beyond collegiate athletics.

Tell us about your personal experience with golf.

I started playing golf when I was 7 years old, joining golf camp as the only female golfer. However, I did not let that deter me from the sport; I pushed myself hard each and every day, knowing that I had to train harder in the gym to gain my distance and be present on the golf course to build my confidence. I traveled and played on the junior tours: AJGA, Hurricane Tour, NJPGA, Philly PGA and other local tournaments. I found my love for coaching through being a coach at my course, Town and Country, which eventually led to me obtaining my LPGA Professional Teaching Certification. I am excited to be one of the young female professionals and to live out my dream of having a huge impact on women’s golf.

Campus Community

Mental Health Walk Urges Students to Be Kind to Your Mind

Community hosts its ninth annual Out of the Darkness walk, aimed at bringing students together to advocate for mental health.

Sweeney Field at Saint Joseph's University

Written by: Layal Srour, MS ’25

Spring 2024

Total reading time: 2 minutes

During the fall semester, more than 200 students participated in Saint Joseph’s annual Out of the Darkness walk to raise awareness for suicide prevention and mental health disorders. Students attended the walk sporting blue shirts with positive messages, including “You Matter” and “Be Kind to Your Mind.” 

The University’s Dean’s Leadership Program initiated the Out of the Darkness walk in 2015 to honor the memory of a student who lost their life to suicide after a long struggle with mental health issues. 

The walk created an atmosphere of support for those who are grappling with mental health issues and made a space where they could feel connected to their peers. The Out of the Darkness Walk also provides an opportunity for attendees to self-reflect on their own mental health, to remember those whom they have lost and to be supported in the grieving process.

"Everyone struggles in their own way, so when you provide people with a platform to speak on it, it really makes people more comfortable.” - Nick Farrell, BSBA ’24 founder of the HOPE Initiative and Student Senate chair of Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)

“People are willing to talk about [mental health] more now,” says Nick Farrell, BSBA ’24, founder of the HOPE Initiative and Student Senate chair of Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) at St. Joe’s. “There’s more of a safe space to speak about issues like this because obviously everyone struggles in their own way, so when you provide people with a platform to speak on it, it really makes people more comfortable.”

This fall, the Dean’s Leadership Program will host its 10th anniversary walk to raise money and awareness for suicide prevention.

“I think it’s very important for events like this where you can join together, come down to earth and realize that we are all the same at the end of the day,” says Nicoletta Viscione, BS ’24, member of the Dean’s Leadership Program.

Campus Community

Philly Hoops Champs

The Hawks are the Champions of the Philadelphia Big Five for both men’s and women’s basketball.

SJU men's basketball team standing in front of the Big 5 flag

Written by: Paige Verrillo, MS ’25

Spring 2024

Total reading time: 3 minutes

The 2023-24 season marked the first time in school history that both the Saint Joseph’s men’s and women’s basketball teams claimed the Philadelphia Big 5 title.

The group of five NCAA Division I schools, La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph's, Temple and Villanova, have continually played each other every year since the mid 1950s, a feat unparalleled in any other city in the United States. At the start of the 2023-24 season, the Big 5 expanded to include Drexel on the men’s side with the introduction of the Big 5 Classic.

Men’s Basketball Earns 21st Big 5 Crown

Men’s basketball's Big 5 Classic journey began at home on Nov. 10, 2023, as Lynn Greer III, BA ’25, paced the Hawks with a career-best 11 assists and added 13 points as St. Joe’s topped Penn, 69-61.

Looking to go undefeated in their pod, the Hawks traveled to Villanova on Nov. 29, 2023, with the winner set to advance to the Big 5 Classic title game. The Hawks got an early lead on the Wildcats, with back-to-back three pointers from Cameron Brown, BSBA ‘23, MBA ’24, and Xzayvier Brown, BSBA ’27. Erik Reynolds II, BSBA ’25, helped finish off the victory as the junior capped the night with a game-high 24 points as the Hawks topped the Wildcats, 78-65.

Advancing to the inaugural Big 5 Classic title game on Dec. 2, 2023, at the Wells Fargo Center, Saint Joseph’s took control from the start. Reynolds II, Cameron Brown, and Xzayvier Brown pushed the Hawks to a 34-23 lead at halftime. The Owls cut St. Joe’s lead to four in the second half, but Greer III and Rasheer Fleming, BA ’26, made sure Temple would get no closer as the Hawks pulled away for a 74-65 win. Following the victory, the 21st Big 5 crown in program history, Saint Joseph’s championship banner was raised to the rafters of the Wells Fargo Center.

The men’s team was selected to compete in the 2024 National Invitation Tournament, facing Seton Hall in the first round. And while the Pirates outlasted the Hawks in overtime, 75-72, Saint Joseph’s capped the 2023-24 season with its most wins (21) since 2015-16 (28) and first postseason appearance since 2015-16.

Women’s Basketball Claim Undefeated Big 5 Season

On the women’s side, the Hawks swept the city as well, going 4-0 in Big 5 play for the first time since 2013-14. Opening city series play at Penn on Nov. 14, 2023, Saint Joseph’s used a second-half surge to vault itself to a 77-49 win at The Palestra.

Saint Joseph’s moved to 2-0 in the Big 5 as they outlasted Temple, 67-65, in overtime behind a 21-point, 13-rebound performance from Laura Ziegler, BS ’26, on Nov. 22. Villanova followed on Dec. 9, 2023 at Hagan Arena. St. Joe's recorded its largest comeback of the season with a 10-point deficit in the second half, earning a 73-67 victory. 

The Big 5 championship was decided at Hagan Arena where the Hawks took on the La Salle Explorers. Emotions were high throughout the game, and in the fourth quarter, the Hawks opened with eight straight points, as back-to-back triples from Chloe Welch, MS ’25, and Talya Brugler, BSBA ’25, gave them a 51-32 lead and eventual 64-39 victory. Champions at last!

The Hawks went on to play in the Women’s Basketball Invitation tournament (WBIT), making it all the way to the quarterfinals against Big 5 foe Villanova. While the Hawks came up short against the Cats, this was a record-setting season, as St. Joe’s won their program-best 28 games and made it to their first postseason quarterfinals since the 2004 season.

Campus Community

Renovations Take Saint Joseph’s Athletics to New Heights

Thanks to the generosity of longtime supporter James J. Maguire, BA ’58, student-athletes on Hawk Hill will soon have the tools to take their game to the next level.

Inside new athletic center at Saint Joseph's University

Written by: A.J. Litchfield

Spring 2024

Total reading time: 3 minutes

It is not a stretch to say that a well-managed Division I athletics program can play a transformational role for individual student-athletes, the campus community and the entire University. Saint Joseph’s has fully embraced this, making college athletics a living and breathing part of the total SJU experience. The ongoing renovation of the newly named Maguire Athletic Center will take that integration to an elite level, thanks to the generous support of James J. Maguire, BA ‘58.

The plan for the re-envisioned Maguire Athletics Center will amplify the experience of every student-athlete on Hawk Hill by providing first-class facilities that support both their physical and mental well-being. To accomplish this, renovation efforts are targeted at improving three main categories: student-athlete community, performance and training, and fan experience. 

A critical component of this effort is a reimagined entry vestibule to the Maguire Athletic Center. This new hub of student activity will improve circulation and provide lounge areas, a nutrition counter and healthy snack offerings powered by Aramark. Locker rooms and lounges will also be updated to provide additional vital gathering spaces that build community and culture among teams.

Performance and training updates will include a world-class basketball training facility, dedicated erg room for rowing, an upgraded golf team room and flexible training space for use by the track programs. Additional performance-related features will include an updated weight room and sports medicine suite, and wellness space for all student-athletes.

“I am a strong believer in the student-athlete experience and this facility will not only provide a competitive edge for our basketball programs, but it will also improve the experience for all of our student-athletes." - James J. Maguire, BA ’58

At the center of the renovations surrounding performance and training will be the massive multi-purpose indoor practice field. When an internal audit was done of existing facilities, it became clear that the pool in the athletic center was duplicative and occupied space that could be better utilized. This new turf field, being installed over top of the now concrete-filled pool, will provide both lacrosse and soccer programs with ample room for practice and training, while also providing supplemental practice space for baseball, softball and additional programs. 

The expansive and modernized basketball training facility will provide Saint Joseph’s men’s and women’s basketball programs with dedicated training facilities. This includes two full-sized courts, dedicated strength training areas and rehab space all accessible 24/7 and exclusively for men’s and women’s basketball. These facilities will be among the best in the Atlantic 10 and beyond, which will allow SJU to continue the tradition of attracting and retaining exceptional basketball players. 

“I am a strong believer in the student-athlete experience and this facility will not only provide a competitive edge for our basketball programs, but it will also improve the experience for all of our student-athletes,” says Maguire of his lead gift, which has spurred others to give generously.

To date, $27 million has been raised in support of this vision. Though fundraising continues, this infusion of funds is allowing Saint Joseph’s to reimagine and improve the facilities offered to student-athletes in a way that embodies the spirit of cura personalis — care for the whole person — while simultaneously ensuring the brand of competitive excellence that has become synonymous with Hawk Hill.