2019 Alumni Reunion Celebrates The Past, Present, and Future of John Jay College

2019 Alumni Reunion Celebrates The Past, Present, and Future of John Jay College

2019 Alumni Reunion Celebrates The Past, Present, and Future of John Jay College

The 2019 Alumni Reunion on April 4, 2019 gathered alumni, faculty, staff, and current students to share in their bloodhound pride, and honor this year’s alumni award recipients: Outstanding Young Alumnus, Mario Benabe; Distinguished Faculty Award Winner, Professor Bettina Murray, Ph.D.; and Distinguished Alumnus, Peter J. Mancuso. Prior to the awards dinner, attendees split up into meetup groups, such as, McNair Scholars, the Founding Generation, Pre-Law, and NYPD Law Enforcement, to mingle, relive their John Jay memories, take photos, and network. We spoke with several attendees to learn why this Alumni Reunion event was so special for them.

Teri Coaxum

Teri Coaxum ’94, ’08
B.A. Criminal Justice and M.P.A.
Adjunct Professor, John Jay

John Jay College literally changed my life. I was the first in my family to graduate from high school and came to New York when I was 16 years old. I enrolled in John Jay with a whole lot of expectations, but no blueprint. I worked two jobs and went to school full time. When I had my daughter during my sophomore year, John Jay had a daycare center that enabled me to remain in school. It’s important to come back to events like this to tell students, who may be experiencing difficulties in life, that we’re here to support and encourage them. John Jay is filled with people that want to help you succeed and take you to the next level.

Bill Stump and Jeryle Kemp
Bill Stump and Jerylle Kemp during the Founding Generation Meetup

Bill Stump ’73, ’76  
B.S. Criminal Justice, M.A. Criminal Justice
Adjunct Professor, Berkeley College and the College of Technology

I’m a big supporter of John Jay. Events such as this one are an important way of keeping in touch with the place that made your career happen for you. For most alumni, we’re able to make gains in our career because of what we learned here and because of what the College stands for. If I could offer advice to current students it would be, “Join everything. Don’t run from class the minute its over. Stay and meet friends who will become your lifelong contacts.”

Monica Murillo

Monica Murillo ’16
B.A. Forensic Psychology
Coalition for Hispanic Family Services

I came to the reunion because I love John Jay and the experience I had at this College. I built a great community here through student success and leadership opportunities—some of those wonderful people were at the meetup group. That is one of the keys to having a wonderful college experience, getting involved early in your college career. It makes a world of difference. You build a support team that inspires you and helps carry you through your college years and beyond. Those are the connections that last a lifetime.

Linda Reynolds

Linda M. Reynolds ’80
M.A. Criminal Justice
The country’s first black female Chief Deputy Sheriff

John Jay College is my home away from home. A big part of my heart is here. I love coming to alumni events and I am a proactive member here at the College. I’m on the scholarship committee and have the great opportunity to meet and interview with fabulous candidates who will one day be future John Jay Alumni. Being in a committee role allows me to see the hard work the students put in, and enables me to help promote their success. And if I can assist students to succeed, I am absolutely going for it.

Debbie Scott-Boucher

Debbie Scott-Boucher ’07
B.A. Political Science
Elementary School Teacher

“Coming to Alumni Reunion has such a deep profound meaning for me because I’m revisiting my roots and seeing people who stood by me in my moments of doubt and despair.” — Debbie Scott-Boucher, ’07

Coming to Alumni Reunion has such a deep profound meaning for me because I’m revisiting my roots and seeing people who stood by me in my moments of doubt and despair. Like Professor Bettina Murray, who is like a mother to me, she is a total godsend. She’s never taught me in the classroom, but she has taught me so much about life. After winning her husband’s scholarship, the A. Brean Murray Memorial Scholarship, I met her and our souls connected. She’s a steady guide for me, always giving me words of wisdom, encouraging me to look up and forge ahead. Professor Murray could be busy on the other side of the world, and if I need her, she’ll make herself available to me. She’s a star in my mind’s eye.

Peter De Forest

Peter De Forest, Ph.D.
Retired Forensic Science Professor, John Jay College

“I hope the students that come here realize the work and sacrifice that went into making John Jay College what it is today.” — Peter De Forest, Ph.D.

Attending Alumni Reunion lets you see the amazing evolution John Jay College has had. I was recruited to join the faculty in 1969 and was involved in bringing Forensic Science to the College. At the time, the school was like a hole in the wall, very small, and now look at it. It’s truly amazing. I remember the fight for survival in 1975. All members of the school, President Gerald W. Lynch, faculty, staff and students, took an unauthorized march across Manhattan to the Mayor’s residence in Gracie Mansion to help build support for the school and save it from closure. And now, with this huge edifice here, it seems hard to believe it was ever in danger of disappearing. It feels so secure now. I hope the students that come here realize the work and sacrifice that went into making John Jay College what it is today.  

Luis J. Chirinos

Luis J. Chirinos ’15
B.A. in Criminal Justice
Co-Founder of Tennis Serving Vets

I love this institution. Its where my love for advocacy and tennis was cemented. I bleed blue. I wanted to connect with several of the veteran alumni in the hopes of telling them about the organization I helped co-found, Tennis Serving Vets, where we use tennis as a vehicle for recovery from physical and emotional trauma, including PTSD. It’s really a great organization that gives back to those who sacrificed so much for us. As an undergraduate here at John Jay, I played for the tennis team. So, this is a nice full circle moment for me.

Camille A. Colon

Camille A. Colon ’76, ’80
B.A. Criminal Justice, M.P.A.
Agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration

I come to alumni events to give back to the College that gave so much to me. Because of John Jay I got the job everyone aspires to have, I was an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration for 25 years. I like coming to events like these to meet with students, because young people need to be mentored in a very realistic way. They need to learn that sometimes you don’t make it on the first try, but that doesn’t mean you quit, instead it means you have to keep trying. I learned that lesson from one of my professors here, Dr. Marsha Hurst. While completing my master’s program, I was a single working mother. I learned I had a tumor in my liver. She was very understanding and allowed me to withdraw from the class without penalty. I was then able to submit a paper the following semester. She said it’s the last A+ she gave in her career. She truly changed my life. That’s what happens here at John Jay, you meet professors that really care, and you’re life gets changed for the better.

Brenneis Nesbitt and Ana Gonzalez
Brenneis Nesbitt and Ana Gonzalez were among the many undergraduate seniors in attendance hoping to make connections with John Jay alumni

Brenneis Nesbitt ’19
Undergraduate
Major: Law & Society

“John Jay College has opened so many doors for me and has made me so optimistic about my future. I personally can’t wait to come back as an alumnus and give back to a school that has been so good to me.” —Brenneis Nesbitt ’19

I received a special invitation from Professor Charles Davidson and the Pre-Law Institute to attend the reunion as a way to connect and expand my network, and whenever I have the chance to get involved, I am all in. I figured I will be able meet people and build relationships with them. And who knows, those relationships could turn into job opportunities. I’m a transfer student here at John Jay and my experience has been absolutely phenomenal. John Jay College has opened so many doors for me and has made me so optimistic about my future. I personally can’t wait to come back as an alumnus and give back to a school that has been so good to me.
 

Ana Gonzalez ’19
Undergraduate
Major: Criminal Justice

Events such as these are so important because you get to meet different people, from different backgrounds, that you can learn so much from. That’s what attracted me to John Jay, its diversity, not only in the student body, but in opinions, too, from professors to students, everyone has something of value to say. Alumni Reunion is a great opportunity to come back and show how far your John Jay education can take you.

More scenes from the event:

View Alumni Reunion 2019 Post event photo gallery