Vitaminwater founder Repole, Bartiromo to speak at St. John’s

Vitamin Water founder Mike Repole, shown here at Belmont Park in 2008, is scheduled to give the commencement address at St. John's University. Photo by Christina Santucci
By Howard Koplowitz

Mike Repole, the Vitaminwater founder and St. John’s University alumnus, and Maria Bartiromo of CNBC will be the commencement speakers for St. John’s graduation May 15 at the Great Lawn of the school’s Fresh Meadows campus.

“We are honored to have alumnus and highly successful business entrepreneur Mike Repole, and equally esteemed broadcast journalist and business expert Maria Bartiromo speak to our graduates this year,” said the Rev. Donald Harrington, president of St. John’s. “Both individuals are self-made success stories and their words of wisdom, coupled with the academic accomplishments of our graduates, will make for a special celebration for the class of 2011.”

The commencement procession begins at 10 a.m. About 2,800 graduates will receive their degrees at the ceremony and roughly 20,000 family members, friends, administrators and students are expected to attend, the university said.

Repole, who graduated from St. John’s in 1991, will be receiving an honorary doctor of commercial science degree at the ceremony.

Repole co-founded Glaceau, the company that makes Vitaminwater — headquartered in College Point — and sold the company to the Coca-Cola Co. for $4.1 billion in 2007.

Repole is currently chairman of the board and operating manager for Pirate Brands, the maker of the healthy snack food Pirate’s Booty, and chairman and majority owner of Energy Kitchen, a chain of healthy fast-food restaurants throughout the metropolitan area.

Repole has also been successful in the horse racing industry and his three-year-old thoroughbred, Uncle Mo, is favored to win the Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the Triple Crown.

Bartiromo, host of CNBC’s “The Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo,” will receive an honorary doctor of letters degree from St. John’s’ Staten Island campus.

Bartiromo’s show is one of the highest-rated programs on CNBC and airs Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. She has covered Wall Street for more than 20 years and is anchor and managing editor of the nationally syndicated “Wall Street Journal Report with Maria Bartiromo,” which is rated the most-watched financial news program in the country.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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