Alumni Gather to Celebrate St. John’s Law and One Another


Taking a seat next to his fellow honorees at the St. John’s Law Alumni Association Luncheon a couple of weeks ago, Jonathan Sack ’89 knew he would feel some nervous excitement. But he didn’t expect his time on stage at the Manhattan Center’s Grand Ballroom to be an emotional affair.

Along with close to 300 fellow alumni, he was there to celebrate alma mater all together and in person for the first time since 2020. As they mixed and mingled with friends, faculty, students, and administrators, the celebrants bid on silent auction items, raising funds to support the Public Interest Center’s programs and initiatives.

View event photo gallery

Sack and five others also had the distinct honor of receiving the Law School’s Belson Medal that afternoon. As Dean Michael A. Simons explained to the attendees, the medal is named for Maxine ’98HON and Jerome Belson ’48, ’80HON and goes to individuals who have demonstrated special loyalty and dedication to St. John’s Law through their philanthropy. More precisely, he added, “the award is given to those whose lifetime giving to the Law School has reached the Belson Circle level, which is $100,000.” In addition to Sack, this year’s Belson medal recipients were:

  • Alfred C. Cerullo III ’83NDC, ’86L
  • Richard Hans ‘93
  • Kevin Khurana ‘09
  • David Wollmuth ‘87
  • Professor Robert Zinman

The generosity of the Belson medalists and many alumni and friends worldwide sets a strong foundation for the Law School’s success, Dean Simons noted. Today, that strength is manifest in the most diverse 1L class ever; in a bar passage rate that continues to be among the best in New York; and in graduate employment outcomes that are some of the best in the country.

St. John’s Law is also well positioned to thrive into the future with the hiring of 10 new faculty members and with new additions to the leadership team, including Vice Dean for Student Success Rachel Smith, Associate Dean for Enrollment Trent Anderson, and soon-to-be Vice Dean for Academic Affairs Christine Lazaro. “You’ll learn much more about them in the coming year,” Dean Simons shared. “But, for now, I’ll just say that they are an amazingly accomplished group of scholars, teachers, and practitioners who will immeasurably enrich the Law School.”

The celebration continued with the presentation of the St. Thomas More Award to Eugenie Cesar-Fabian ’04, General Counsel at Ethic, in recognition of her outstanding moral leadership. Sharing the afternoon’s spotlight with her was James Pitaro ’94, Chairman, ESPN & Sports Content at the Walt Disney Company. He received the Law School’s Dean Harold F. McNiece Award in recognition of his outstanding career success outside the practice of law.

Reflecting on the Alumni Association Luncheon and his special honor, Jonathan Sack said it was a “magical and moving” experience. “While I was at the podium, I could feel my late father’s presence. He taught me to love the law and to never stop learning, yearning for knowledge and moreover, to listen and learn from others’ perspectives. St. John’s gave me the opportunity and tools to live the life he wanted for me, in service to others. I’m grateful for the opportunity to give back to such an incredible place. To think that the benefit I received can be amplified with others who follow is surely a blessing.”