Vincentian Father Donald J. Harrington announced his resignation May 3 as the president of St. John’s University. He had been president at St. John’s for 24 years. His resignation takes effect July 31.
In a letter announcing his resignation to St. John’s faculty and students, Father Harrington said, “I do this with the firm conviction that the vision I held for this institution has largely been fulfilled.”
A statement from St. John’s board of trustees chairman Peter D’Angelo said Father Harrington’s tenure has been “a period of unrivaled growth, expansion and achievement for our university. He has been a transformative leader who guided this institution, nurtured its community, cultivated excellence and generated unprecedented levels of enthusiasm and support.”
St. John’s also built its first dormitories on its campuses in the New York boroughs of Queens and Staten Island and established a campus in Manhattan.
However, Father Harrington alluded in his own statement to “the difficulties for everyone during the past year.”
New York magazine published unflattering stories about a series of business ventures involving Father Harrington and his chief of staff, Rob Wile. And a former St. John’s dean and chief fundraiser, Cecilia Chang, stood trial on charges of defrauding the university and forcing international students to do personal work for her. Chang committed suicide the day after she took the witness stand in her own defense.