“We want to get the message out that it is not just what students are learning here, but how they are learning it that sets us apart.”
Barbara Goyette combines two great passions in her job as Vice President for Advancement at St. John’s College in Annapolis. An American history buff, she has the opportunity to work on a campus dating from America’s earliest days. And as a St. John’s graduate who remains devoted to its unique mission, she is charged with marshaling the resources the college needs to secure its future and to sustain the academic program that is at its heart.
Given Goyette’s love of American history, it is fitting that she works at St. John’s, where history is alive in the books that are studied and colonial America is part of the college’s heritage. In 1937, when educators Stringfellow Barr and Scott Buchanan brought a bold new curriculum based on the “Great Books” to St. John’s, they borrowed rhetoric from the colonial founders of this country. “Barr and Buchanan cared deeply about democratic ideals,” says Goyette. “This was during the late 1930s and the rise of Fascism in the world made democracy precious.”
After graduating from St. John’s, Goyette studied philosophy at Catholic University and then worked as a magazine editor and writer. Her editorial experience prepared her to take over the job of public information director at St. John’s in 1994. “It was an exciting time—we were creating so many new things,” she recalls. “I was pleased to be a part of the St. John’s community again.” Among her many accomplishments during her eight years in communications, Goyette breathed new life into media relations and publications, guided the establishment of an effective new graphic identity for student recruitment publications, and created a distinctive new alumni magazine, The College, which serves both the Annapolis and Santa Fe campuses.
In 2002, Goyette took on the role of vice president for advancement, working with Jeff Bishop who had assumed an expanded role overseeing a major fundraising campaign. Knowing that for many students, St. John’s was not just a college, but a “life-changing epiphany,” she developed ways to approach alumni for their support. “I understood how the advancement message had to be geared for a Johnnie audience. I understood why someone would attend St. John’s College and want to support it later,” says Goyette.
As vice president, her position involves everything from travel to alumni gatherings across the country to leading Executive Seminar groups to long-range strategic planning. Soliciting support, whether it be for a financial gift to the college or a volunteer’s time, poses particular challenges. To this effort Goyette brings her skills as a communicator and her passionate belief in the college’s mission. “I admire that St. John’s still exists, that we are not swayed by trends, that we stay true to our course, our mission of liberal education,” says Goyette. We want to get the message out that it is not just what students are learning here, but how they are learning it that sets us apart.”
-Adapted from an article for Inside Annapolis magazine. Please contact the Communications Office for the entire article.