St. John’s College Alumni Magazine
About the Magazine
What is this piece you have before you?
It is not a reincarnation of The College magazine, a resource-intensive publication that the college could not continue to staff and maintain. It is not an annual report, either; it is not meant to give a detailed account of what the college is doing and how resources are being spent.
What, then, is this publication all about?
This is a look at you and your fellow alumni—what you are doing, how you are living and modeling the Program, and how you are giving back to St. John’s in meaningful ways. It is a look at the connections you are creating around the world, and it is your guide to making them even stronger.
A Sample of What You’ll Find Inside
In this issue:
- Opening Letter by Gigi Escalante
- A Re-envisioned Relationship featuring Director of Alumni Relations Chris Aamot (SF04) and Annapolis tutor and Alumni Relations Working Group member Erica Beall (A07)
- An Open Conversation with alumni Marti Acosta (A92) and Dino
- Teacher Ignites International Interest in St. John’s about alumnus Liam Goodacre (SF08), who who teaches philosophy using the Socratic method at the United World
College Mahindra near Pune, India.
- Summer Classics: A Beautiful Capacity features one of the Summer Classics seminars on Boccaccio’s The Decameron, facilitated by Santa Fe tutor Ken Wolfe (SF94) and Annapolis tutor Leah Lasell (SFGI04).
- Supporting Our Newest Johnnies describes the new Pritzker Promise Bridge Program, an extended orientation experience for qualified incoming students who would like additional preparation prior to the start of the academic year.
- Internships Connect the Lab to Life shares Susmi Sharma’s (SF21) senior year internship with Dr. Taffeta Elliott (SF97), assistant professor of psychology and education at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
- Alumni Couple Bring Their Johnnie Perspective to Life features alumni Eli Castro (SF94) and Tracy Locke Castro (SF95) and their experience at St. John’s.
- On Reading, Religion, Redemption, and Reasons for Giving is an interview with alumnus Mark Jordan (SF73), R. R. Niebuhr Research Professor at Harvard Divinity School.
- Day of Gratitude & Reunion Weekend
- Highlights from Alumni Week 2022
- Selected Notes from Classmates
- In Memoriam
- Alumni Association Honorees 2022
In this issue you will find several suggested ways to reconnect to St. John’s and spread the word about the college, including:
- Adding St. John’s to your LinkedIn profile and other social media accounts. Alumni are the best advertisement for the value of a St. John’s education. When prospective students are making their college decisions, they look to see what alumni are doing in the world. Your social media presence on LinkedIn and other platforms can show these future students what life is like on the other side of college.
- Introduce a student to the college through sjc.edu/1alum1referral. The Great Conversation will always need fresh perspectives. If you know a student who would enrich the St. John’s community, let the college know. The admissions team will send you a packet of information to share, or they can send information directly to the student.
- Introduce a teacher to the Graduate Institute. When educators experience St. John’s discussion-based pedagogy, they are frequently inspired to model it in their own classrooms. Teachers can enjoy select seminars at no cost through the Teachers Institute or earn a Liberal Arts Education Certificate in just two summers. Visit sjc.edu/teachers-institute and sjc.edu/liberal-arts-certificate.
- Be an admissions ambassador. Whether they have already been accepted to St. John’s or are still exploring their options, students have questions. You can offer answers. Share your experiences with a high school senior, answer questions from incoming freshmen, or represent St. John’s at your local high school. Interested? Reach out to or for more information.
- Submit an inspiring review of St. John’s. Prospective students and parents connect with the spirit of St. John’s through authentic testimonials from alumni like you. Share your reflections on the power of your St. John’s education with the U.S. News & World Report and other influential sites. Visit sjc.edu/submit-review.
- Support student scholarships with a gift of any size. Your annual gift to the Fund for St. John’s helps break down the financial barriers that stand between a St. John’s education and nearly two-thirds of all Johnnies. Visit sjc.edu/annual-fund.
- Spark a conversation with your Johnnie swag. Here’s how to claim your discount:
- Visit johnniestore.com by September 30, 2022
- Select “shop” from the drop-down menu
- Choose the “Alumni Magazine” category
- Stock up on alumni apparel, auto decals, water bottles, tote bags, and more...
Enjoy a 20 percent discount on select items at johnniestore.com.
St. John’s College alumni continue their learning through St. John’s many programs. Here are some of their testimonials.
- “After graduating from the Graduate Institute, I really missed St. John’s—learning through discussion was amazing. To relive this experience, I enrolled in the Year of Classics. These seminars—just an hour and a half a month—were wonderfully enriching, with intellectual classmates and insightful tutors who enhanced my learning experience. For anyone seeking to expand their intellectual horizons, I would strongly recommend the Year of Classics as the best way to learn and to exercise your mind.”
—CATHY FOGEL (AGI11)
- “A week of seminar tends to frame the events in my life. It happened all through the Graduate Institute, and it happened again at Winter Classics. We used the Emily Wilson translation of the Odyssey, and I was so taken with it that I told everyone, including an old friend from the Peace Corps. I said: ‘Dennis, I had a week seminar on the Odyssey. An old guy, after decades of sleeping with goddesses, wants to go home to see his dog, his wife, and his son, and to kill everyone who ever crossed him. His dog wagged his tail before anyone else recognized him.’ Dennis replied that he really likes to get home to see his dog too. Then in April my son’s obituary was published. Homer came again: ‘His spirit left his body. Still alive, still seeing the sunlight.’ You have to suffer, but you can get home. Consolation. Whether light-hearted or deadly serious, Winter Classics sticks with you. Come be a part of it again.”
—W. PETER BALLEAU (AGI17)
- “St. John’s has remained my diamond test for intellectual engagement, so when I recently became a Johns Hopkins professor, I chose to live in Annapolis, drawn partly by the prospect of Friday night lectures. Anxious that memory’s lens would be distorted by the gauze of nostalgia, I attended my first lecture primed for disillusion. But experience exceeded expectation. I arrived at eight and had to stand, while the students had come early, jamming the Great Hall, content to wait and to listen, and then to stay late, eager to ask questions. Whether you’re waxing nostalgic or wanting intellectual inspiration, come to a Friday night lecture. But come early. Otherwise, you’ll have to stand.”
—DANIEL H. FOSTER (SF90)
- “It was August 2020, and I was sitting in the comfort of my own home, after sanitizing groceries in our self-imposed lockdown. I pulled up my email and there was a notice from St. John’s College announcing the Eastern Classics Program would be available online. I stared at it, dumbstruck. Finally, after 20 years of wanting to study these texts, a pandemic gave me the chance. We would not sit around a physical table, but we have been participating with each other in tiles across the computer screen from homes and offices all over the world. It worked beautifully! Even Sanskrit, which I am continuing with a special study group … yes, online. Now you too can study practice realization with Dogen, trek through the north with Basho, and translate the Gīta. Enjoy!”
—PAM CARTER (SFGI08)
- “The Summer Classics in beautiful Santa Fe is a return to the memories, conversations, and friendships of your St. John’s experience. I loved my Johnnie experience and Summer Classics allows me to be a Johnnie all over again. Day to day it is very hard to have conversations on the beautiful and true with the nicest of people—Summer Classics is a return to the good life and is the highlight of my summer (perhaps even my year). I am so happy I made the decision to get back to Santa Fe and St. John’s. If you loved your St. John’s experience, I implore you to get back to the high desert come July. It will be like you never left. You will be instantly hooked all over again! LONG LIVE ST. JOHNS!”
—BILLY GERRISH (AGI11)