Vincentian Mission at Niagara and St. Johns

Celebrating 60 years of dedicated service to the Vincentian Mission at St. Johns University

Tuesday, September 17, marks the 60th anniversary of the day Mr. Clarke returned to his alma mater, initially to teach part-time and assume the alumni relations director’s post.

Asked what he most admires about St. John’s, Mr. Clarke said, “The Vincentian spirit of giving that is at the very core of St. John’s mission.”

Mr. Clarke, who has worked under six University presidents and 15 deans, remains a vital part of St. John’s as Visiting Professor and Chair of the Department of Law.

“St. Vincent de Paul had an instinctive attraction to those who would understand and support his mission, and he would immediately have recognized John Clarke as a colleague and a friend,” said Rev. Patrick Griffin, C.M., Executive Director of the Vincentian Center for Church and Society. “Jack’s faithful presence and cheerful commitment to St. John’s has been a blessing for the University and its community. From sports to spirituality, from classroom to conference room, Jack has provided us with a wisdom and compassion which rests at the heart of the Vincentian charism.”
Faced with difficult financial times for several years after the death of his father when he was nine, Mr. Clarke asked the University for financial assistance when he learned St. John’s was founded in order to help immigrants attain an education. St. John’s offered him a scholarship, which he eagerly accepted.

The next generation of Vincentian leadership at Niagara University

Three of Niagara University’s newest Vincentian Scholars, freshmen Mia Brillant, Megan Frawley, and Andrew Passow, were commissioned during a Family Weekend Mass on Sept. 29, 2019. The fourth first-year scholar is Katrina Belcastro.

The Vincentian Scholars are part of a four-year scholarship program that forms leaders in the Vincentian tradition—academically, practically, and spiritually. Each scholar accepted into the program not only maintains a high grade point average, but also develops the responsibility to work side-by-side with local community leaders.


Niagara University Partners in a cause dear to St. Vincent’s heart

Niagara University’s College of Education has partnered with the Niagara Falls School District to implement a five-year Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration project that will enable the district to better serve its students with behavioral and mental health issues. The initiative, funded by a more than $2.49 million, five-year U.S. federal grant secured through the Department of Education, will add 15 part-time staff annually in schools, increase community and family outreach, provide training to help teachers identify needs early, and expand the pipeline of mental health professionals into the school setting to reduce shortages.

Campus ministers provide support for St. John’s students.

Helping to steer that moral compass are campus ministers — religious leaders who live in the residence halls.

“I’ll say, ‘so, what is your experience of God like?’ Just a simple question like that. I’ve been amazed how that open up possibilities,” said Brother Mike Sherrin, a campus minister who is ready to talk and listen.

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