Class of 2023 Speakers

Brooklyn Campus

Sherrie Van Arnam
Brooklyn Campus Speaker
Doctorate of Humane Letters, honoris causa

For nearly four decades, Sherrie Van Arnam stood as a stabilizing force and an influential figure at St. Joseph’s University, New York. She held various leadership roles at the Brooklyn Campus after graduating college and arriving at the institution in 1972, most recently serving as special assistant to the president for Student Life until her retirement in 2021. 

Ms. Van Arnam was the vice president for Student Life at the Brooklyn Campus from 2015 to 2019 and briefly assumed the same role on the Long Island Campus in an interim capacity. She provided leadership to various offices and services, including the Office of Campus Ministry, the Council of the Arts, and the Office of Counseling and Wellness.

Hired as an administrative assistant in the Office of the Academic Dean, Ms. Van Arnam was promoted to admissions director in 1974 and, in 1983, became the student activities director. 

Beloved by students, faculty and staff alike, she oversaw student services and athletics from 1991 to 2008 and after a two-year stint as director of student activities and co-curricular programs became the assistant dean of students in 2010.

During her tenure at St. Joseph’s, Ms. Van Arnam had a hand in developing, implementing or overseeing the First Year Experience (FYE) program, the Student Leadership Experience, the Council of Multicultural Clubs and Organizations, and many other fixtures of the institution.

A trusted member of the President's Cabinet and the Brooklyn Campus’ Senior Leadership Team for many years, Ms. Van Arnam made countless contributions to the University’s long-term success.

Maeve McKeon
Brooklyn Campus Valedictorian

As the daughter of two college professors, Maeve McKeon grasped the importance of school at a young age and strove to be a well-rounded college student when she arrived at St. Joseph’s University.

Maeve’s parents asked only two things of her and her sisters growing up: try your best and be kind. Never pressured to succeed academically, Maeve developed as a leader and model citizen. 

Her willingness to take on leadership roles in prominent student groups at St. Joseph’s – including the Student Government Association and the softball team – made her an influential figure well-suited to lead the Class of 2023 as Brooklyn Campus valedictorian. 

As vice president of the SGA, Maeve played an integral role in facilitating and promoting student-led events, including a support drive for the victims of the Turkey-Syria Earthquake in February. She also served on the budget committee, working with the treasurer to maintain the SGA’s financial stability.

Maeve played on the campus’ softball team for four years and served as a team captain during her senior season. She helped facilitate a partnership with Team IMPACT that integrated 10-year-old leukemia patient Phoenix Scott as an honorary program member. 

Additionally, she served as vice president of the Law and Justice Society for over two years and was an active member of the Honors program throughout her time at the University. In each of her leadership positions at St. Joseph’s, Maeve endeavored to motivate herself and her peers to be better students and people.

A criminal justice graduate with a minor in Spanish, Maeve plans to live out the University’s mission as a member of the Peace Corps. 

Long Island Campus

Marian Russo
Long Island Campus Speaker
Doctorate of Humane Letters, honoris causa

A pillar of the St. Joseph’s University, New York community for 30 years, Marian Russo continues to exemplify the University’s five core values — integrity, intellectual rigor, spiritual depth, social responsibility and service. As the beloved director of Student Services and Activities on the Long Island Campus, Ms. Russo instilled in students a passion for extracurricular involvement until her retirement in 2013.

Ms. Russo started at St. Joseph’s in 1984 as assistant to then-director Marge Brennan before quickly advancing in her role. This came after 20 years of teaching English at Commack High School and Madonna Heights School on Long Island. 

Ms. Russo took great pride in overseeing and supporting many clubs and organizations, as well as hosting a plethora of events that allowed St. Joseph’s students to discover and celebrate their individuality and leadership skills. She dedicated herself to the students, who found their voice and vision under her guidance.

For Giving Day in 2022, the University created the Marian Russo Student Activity Fund in honor of her service to the institution. Thousands of dollars were raised to provide opportunities for St. Joseph’s students to learn, grow and thrive in the pursuit of a better world.

She shared that she has been blessed with a beautiful and amazing family: her mom and dad, Theresa and William Fouchardt; her late husband Ray, who served as an adjunct professor and tennis coach at the University; her daughters Cynthia and Laura; her granddaughters Olivia and Sophia; her son-in-law Mike; and her best friend Loretta.

Asma Hosein
Long Island Campus Valedictorian

Whether it’s in the classroom, leading a club, or serving her community, Asma Hosein lives out the St. Joseph’s University, New York motto Esse non videri — “To be, not to seem” — every day.

A child study major with a concentration in psychology, Asma stands up as a leader once more this spring, as she represents the Long Island Campus as its Class of 2023 valedictorian. 

Asma’s commitment to St. Joseph’s five pillars became abundantly clear even before she started attending the University, having been selected as a recipient of the University’s Presidential Scholarship. 

Throughout her four years at St. Joseph’s University, Asma served in many leadership roles, including co-program director for Campus Activities Board, co-founder and president of the CEC/Educators Club, orientation team leader and planning committee member, president of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education, senate member of the Student Government Association, member of the Student Alumni Association, co-founder and treasurer of the Women’s Empowerment Club, vice president of the Muslim Student Association, and member of the LEAD program. She’s also been the recipient of many awards at the University, has been named to four different honor societies and has made the Dean’s List each semester. 

Asma’s drive to help others also shines through in her community service. She served as coordinator and tutor for a program where St. Joseph’s students tutored students in the Patchogue-Medford School District. Additionally, she’s served in many positions at the Selden Mosque, including coordinator of SMYLES, a summer leadership program; kindergarten teacher at Saturday School; co-coordinator and vice principal of the mosque’s summer program; and co-coordinator of the Muslim Girls’ Youth Group.

Asma is enrolled to begin pursuing her M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages at St. Joseph’s next fall. She has also landed a position in the Patchogue-Medford School District.