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Presidential Search Update

Dear Friends of St. John’s College,

I am pleased to announce that the Search Committee of the college’s Board of Visitors and Governors has selected Panayiotis “Peter” Kanelos to be St. John’s new president in Annapolis, succeeding Chris Nelson in that position. He will begin his new role in Annapolis on July 1, 2017.

Peter Kanelos comes to St. John’s from Christ College, a nationally-renowned honors college at Valparaiso University, where he served as dean for the past four years. He has an accomplished record in higher education. As dean, he was responsible for the strategic leadership, coordination, and guidance of Christ College and his efforts led the college to achieve its largest and most diverse enrollment in its history. He also oversaw the administration and finances of the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts, a network of 100 colleges and universities that advances liberal arts education through conferences, workshops, publications, and fellowships. And like Johnnies, he shares a deep appreciation for Shakespeare—he has authored and edited numerous books, articles, and essays on Shakespeare and is the founding director of the Interdisciplinary Shakespeare Studies Program at Loyola University Chicago.

“I have been a Johnnie at heart for a very long time,” Kanelos said. “St. John’s is, quite simply, the paragon of liberal learning, and I am honored to be joining such a storied institution and such an extraordinary community.”

My thanks go to the Search Committee for its hard work and to the team of search consultants from Isaacson, Miller, led by David Bellshaw, which assisted the Committee in the identification and selection of candidates. The Search Committee reviewed more than 100 presidential candidates, including several from the St. John’s community. The selection process was thorough and robust. Final candidates visited both campuses to meet and interview with faculty, staff, and alumni, and the Committee convened several times during the search. After careful deliberation, the Committee has recognized Peter’s enthusiastic support for the St. John’s Program and wealth of leadership experience.

“I extend my thanks to the Presidential Search Committee for their outstanding efforts,” said Ron Fielding, chair of the St. John’s board. “The search process is an immense amount of work, and the committee members have produced a candidate that I am excited to be working with.”

“Peter Kanelos brings to St. John’s College a rich understanding of the value of a liberal arts education,” said Annapolis President Chris Nelson. “With his leadership experience in academia, he also brings a palpable energy and great enthusiasm for our distinctive community of learning.”

Peter holds a PhD from the Committee on Social Thought at University of Chicago, a MA in Political Philosophy and Literature from the University Professors Program at Boston University, and a BA in English from Northwestern University.

“The search process made me confident that Peter will be a wonderful partner in the work of ensuring St. John’s continues to offer its transformational program to new generations,” said Santa Fe President Mark Roosevelt. “He is both strong and collaborative, which is just the combination we need.”

My sincere thanks go to my fellow members of the Presidential Search Committee, which included BVG members, two deans, faculty representatives, and alumni, for their dedicated work that has led us to this excellent result, as well as to all those who participated in the interview process and who provided me with valuable input and perspective.

I look forward to joining all of you in welcoming Peter, his wife Christina, and their daughter Emmie and son Theo to our college community.

Sincerely,

Perry Lerner
Chair of the Presidential Search Committee

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