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31st Annual Scholarship Gala to Mark the End of an Era

Retiring President S. Elizabeth A. Hill to be honored at this year's event

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SJC President S. Elizabeth A. Hill, C.S.J., J.D. (Photo by William Baker)

St. Joseph’s College will honor President S. Elizabeth A. Hill, C.S.J., J.D., at its 31st annual Scholarship Gala on Friday, November 8, at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury.

S. Elizabeth announced in June that she would retire as president of the College on June 30, 2014. She has held the post since 1997.

As of this issue’s printing, a search committee is being formed for the next president of St. Joseph’s College. The process will be ongoing through this year and into the next. S. Elizabeth’s successor will be a president who will usher St. Joseph’s College into our centennial in 2016, and a leader with big shoes to fill.

As S. Elizabeth departs from St. Joe’s, she takes with her a legacy as a passionate leader with enduring enthusiasm for education and students.

“Being with young people is a great source of hope,” S. Elizabeth told The National Catholic Reporter earlier this year. “Their idealism and belief that they can and will help make things better, that they can and will change the world, gives me hope. All our students are involved in many service projects, and their enthusiasm is a source of pride and inspiration for all of us who are privileged to work with them.”

A student of SJC herself, S. Elizabeth graduated magna cum laude from St. Joseph’s in 1964 and went on to earn a master’s degree in history from Columbia University. She studied theology and scripture in Rome under the auspices of Gregorian University before earning a Juris Doctor from St. John’s University School of Law, where she was also a Thomas More Scholarship student and president of the Criminal Law Institute. After receiving her J.D., S. Elizabeth spent time as a staff attorney in the Catholic Migration Office in Brooklyn.

In 1980, she returned to St. Joseph’s as executive assistant to then-President S. George Aquin O’Connor, C.S.J., Ph.D. S. Elizabeth stood by S. George for 17 of her 28 years at the helm before succeeding her as the College’s fifth president. “It was scary. She had been such a visionary,” she said of following in S. George’s footsteps. “She had such a huge impact on the College, bringing it from a fragile and endangered institution to a strong educational and academically viable college.”

Since her inauguration, S. Elizabeth has overseen the expansion of two campuses, most notably the construction of a state-of-the-art Business Technology Center and 24.8-acre outdoor sports facility on the Long Island Campus, as well as the launch of a comprehensive capital master plan for the Brooklyn Campus that included a 44,000-square-foot athletic complex.

Under her leadership, the College’s enrollment and range of academic offerings have continuously increased while tuition has remained consistently among the lowest in the New York metropolitan area.

During her tenure as president, S. Elizabeth secured several large grants from the federal government, including the largest in the College’s history. She was also responsible for securing successful major and estate gifts, including a bequest of $4 million to endow scholarships for students in need.

S. Elizabeth is on the Steering Committee of the Long Island Regional Advisory Council on Higher Education (LIRACHE) and sits on the board of ERASE Racism. She is on the board of directors of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and the Fort Greene Strategic Neighborhood Action Partnership (SNAP). She is also a member of the board of trustees of The Mary Louis Academy and the board of advisors for Saint Saviour High School.


For more information on the 31st annual Scholarship Gala, visit


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