Santa Fe President

J. Walter Sterling

J. Walter Sterling (A93) became president of St. John’s College in Santa Fe in July 2024. He is the eighth president of the campus.

Prior to becoming president, Sterling served for nine years as dean of the Santa Fe campus, where he joined the teaching faculty in 2003. As dean, he defended St. John’s classical and radical model of liberal education while helping to pilot the college through a successful tuition reset, financial restructuring, and the $325 million Freeing Minds capital campaign.

Most recently, Sterling has chaired the effort to launch a new master’s degree in “Middle Eastern Classics.” He holds a special interest in growing and supporting the international student population at St. John’s and in expanding study abroad, internships, and co-curricular offerings.

Prior to joining St. John’s, Sterling taught at Loyola University Maryland, Temple University, and Gwynedd Mercy University. He has also worked outside academia, supporting mission-driven nonprofits such as Philadelphia’s Project HOME.

Sterling is a member of the board and visiting teaching faculty of the Rome Institute of Liberal Arts and serves on the Academic Advisory Council of the Jack Miller Center. His passion for languages and travel led him to study Italian in Florence and Hebrew in Jerusalem, in addition to teaching summer courses in Rome. In his free time, Sterling enjoys participating in triathlons and marathons and has completed six Pike’s Peak Marathons, four Ironman Triathlons, and the Boston Marathon.

Sterling is a long-term resident of Santa Fe, where he met wife Meghan Haid Sterling. Together, they have two sons, Will and Luke.

“I am extremely honored and humbled by this opportunity to serve our college community in this new way,” Sterling says. “As a graduate of St. John’s and a member of the faculty, and with all the other ways the college has shaped my family and my life, I know firsthand the benefits of this education, and I know that what makes St. John’s so special is unfortunately too rare today and more needed today than ever.”

more about President Sterling

Press Release: St. John’s College Appoints Nora Demleitner as Collegewide President, J. Walter Sterling as Santa Fe President 

An Essay by J. Walter Sterling “Timeless and Timely: A Defense of the Great Books

A Lecture by J. Walter Sterling “Freedom of the Intellect is a Sacred Thing: A Brief Exploration of Freedom, Liberal Education, and the St. John’s Program.”