St. John’s University President Harrington to Step Down

St. John’s University, recovering from a financial scandal, said President Donald J. Harrington will step down at the end of July after 24 years in the job.

Cecilia Chang, a former dean at the second-largest Catholic college, had been charged with stealing donations intended for the university, using students as unpaid servants and lying about her income. Chang committed suicide last year after testifying at her trial.

Harrington, 67, had been thinking about stepping down “for quite a while,” and the board and others convinced him to stay, he wrote in a letter to the St. John’s community, based in the New York City borough of Queens.

“The difficulties for everyone during the past year have convinced me, after much prayer and reflection, that the time to leave the presidency has now come,” said Harrington, who is also a priest.

St. John’s, founded in 1870, has more than 21,000 enrolled students, according to the school’s website. Among its alumni are Tom Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and Ray Kelly, New York City’s police commissioner.

To contact the reporter on this story: John Hechinger in Boston at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lisa Wolfson at

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