Tony Blair pays surprise visit to St. John’s event

A reception that already had star power with many renowned professionals and St. John’s alumni in the same room, reached new heights as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair paid a surprise visit to the event.
Blair dropped into the Loughlin Society event in Manhattan on Thursday, December 4 to see one of his close friends James Schiro, who is the CEO of Zurich Financial Services and a member of the St. John’s Board of Trustees, and addressed the crowd of nearly 300 assembled.
“I feel a real sense of honor and privilege to be with you here,” Blair said. “I felt that because of what Jim told me about St. John’s and the difference it made in his life and in the lives of many others.”
Blair spoke after St. John’s senior Pedro Gomez, who is part of the university’s President’s Society - the school’s highest student honor society that meets frequently with the school’s president - addressed the audience and talked about his own experience choosing St. John’s and his time spent at the school.
Gomez, who is majoring in marketing at St. John’s, said that he never believed that St. John’s would have given him the opportunity to meet someone of Blair’s stature. However, he said he was more impressed that Blair listened to his words and commented on the call to service that Gomez and many of the St. John’s students recognize.
“It was just an honor for me to share the stage with him,” Gomez said.
Blair then talked about the impact that St. John’s students have while studying in New York or abroad as well as the influence those students have when they finish their careers at St. John’s and venture into the workforce.
“Each of these students takes that special spirit out and gives it to the world,” Blair said. “Because the thing that the university teaches is that it is important that that spirit does not just stop in your immediate community but is actually related to the challenges, the difficulties, the problems and also the opportunities that beset our world at this time.”
St. John’s President Reverend Donald Harrington thanked Blair as well as members of the Loughlin Society - who make education opportunities possible for a number of St. John’s students who would not be able to attend the school without the financial support of the group.
“I believe we are blessed first and foremost because we are faithful to our mission,” Harrington said. “We are faithful to our mission of educating students with an education that is clearly value and faith based, and we are faithful to our mission or serving the poor.”

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