The Impact of Giving

In an age of artificial intelligence, see how your gifts support a true education—and what it means to this community of human thinkers. Then read our annual reports for an in-depth look at the state of the college and the strengths that set us apart.

Rylee Bain (A25)

Rylee Bain

“Campbell Hall is one of the more adored dormitories on campus, with spacious and charming rooms that have housed everyone from freshmen to seniors. It’s a beautiful building, but it needs some upgrades. Simple things like renovating the bathrooms have already improved the quality of life for currents residents, and the planned upgrades will reinstate Campbell as a highly sought-after living space. Moving the coffee shop and the bookstore to Campbell and improving the accessibility will allow all members of our community to take part in the fun. I am very grateful to have been a resident of Campbell, and I can’t wait to see how the new-and-improved dorm looks!”

Our Annapolis residence halls are historically significant buildings, but they are also places where the Program is lived—all day, every day.

Through the generosity of the Jay Pritzker Foundation, Campbell Hall is undergoing a restoration that will turn the largest residence hall on campus into a mixed-use social hub, complete with a bookstore and coffee shop, modernized infrastructure, better ADA accessibility, and improved housing options for students.

This timely renovation will complement the newly restored Mellon Hall and make the east side of campus a destination for all community members seeking great conversation.

Bridget Lynch (SF23)

Bridget Lynch

“To graduate debt-free from college sounds like a dream. At St. John’s College, it is my (very sweet) reality, and at the time that I was applying to college, it did not occur to me that the generosity of others would have such a profound impact on my life. I get to frolic in the minds of Rousseau, Euclid, and Austen! I cannot help but be moved by my experiences, to be shaped by the sincerely marvelous, and I am so grateful for that place to be St. John’s College.”

St. John’s 2019 tuition reset made the college more affordable, yet our students still require an extremely high level of financial assistance. Approximately 80 percent of current freshmen receive need-based financial aid—the highest percentage in our peer group. Demographic statistics indicate this trend will continue: more of our students will represent lower-income households, and many will be the first in their families to attend college.

As a result of philanthropic support, students paid just over $15 million in tuition during the 2022 academic year but received $18.5 million in financial aid.

Michael Mazenko

Michael Mazenko
AP English Teacher and Writer, Cherry Creek High School, Greenwood Village, Colorado.

“Attending Summer Classics was the highlight of my summer. When I was looking for a place to read, write, and think, a colleague, who is a St. John’s alum and regular Summer Classics participant, recommended it to me. I was instantly intrigued, not to mention thrilled, when my school’s post-graduate specialist connected me with the college and secured financial support through our Southwest Scholars partnership. Since then, I have sung the praises of the Summer Classics experience and urged others to consider this wonderful opportunity.

Personally and professionally, the St. John’s program offers a rich, culturally engaging, intellectually stimulating experience I won’t ever forget.”

By providing educators with affordable access to St. John’s seminars, we can help them to better understand our discussion-based approach to learning and promote the college more effectively and enthusiastically to their students.

Through philanthropic support, K-12 educators can attend select seminars, including Summer and Winter Classics, at a greatly reduced cost—and in some cases, no cost at all. Teachers are also eligible for significant scholarship support to earn a master’s degree or a Liberal Arts Education Certificate through the Graduate Institute.

Brooke Nitti (SF26)

Brooke Nitti

“Reading about a place like St. John’s is one thing, but my experiences at Summer Academy showed me firsthand what this college has to offer. Experiencing seminar for myself was pivotal because I felt exactly how electrifying and enlightening that kind of conversation could be. I was equally moved by the culture I found here. I felt so welcomed and supported by everyone I met, and I understood that, as a student, I would be truly valued and respected by my community. I came away from this program with complete confidence that St. John’s was the right place for me.”

Summer Academy gives high school students a chance to enjoy great conversations in a Socratic format alongside St. John’s tutors. For many, this unique program will be their first experience with discussion-based learning. It is also one of the college’s most reliable pipelines for future students: one in six current freshmen participated in Summer Academy, either in-person or online, while in high school.

A record number of high school students attended Summer Academy in 2023, and one out of three students received help with travel costs and tuition.

Avery Lin (SF25)

Avery Lin
Avery Lin (SF25) comes to St. John’s from Colorado Academy, a Southwest Scholars partner school.

“When an admissions email suggested I could learn directly from Aristotle, Plato, Machiavelli, and Darwin, I was curious. I thought ‘intriguing…but there are probably better places for me.’ However, as I began touring other schools and hearing the same pitches about career paths and double majors, I kept thinking back to St. John’s.

What if I wanted something more? What if I wanted to learn not just about the world, but how to live meaningfully in it? Thanks to my school’s involvement with Southwest Scholars and the financial support I received through it, I found myself realizing that St. John’s was not just another small liberal arts college. It was not just a better place—it was the only place for me.”

Times are changing. The southern half of the United States is growing; the financial resources that families can afford to commit to college are shrinking. Through Southwest Scholars, a donor-funded recruitment initiative, the college is taking a strategic approach that includes outreach to lower-income communities in the six states of the American Southwest.

We now have 26 partner schools, and students enrolled in these schools are eligible for scholarships to study in Santa Fe or attend Summer Academy. The college, in turn, enjoys a stronger relationship with school personnel, who serve as ambassadors for the Program and point high-achieving students toward the college.

Rebekah Spearman

Rebekah Spearman

“The thing that stood out to me most starkly when I came to St. John’s as a job candidate was that the tutors actually heard me and thought about what I was saying. They asked me deep and genuine questions that I still think about. Since coming here, I’ve realized that the broadness of St. John’s curriculum is really generosity, a willingness and excitement to see what someone else is seeing, to love what someone else is loving. We lend each other our minds, and something magical happens: instead of talking past one another, safe in the alabaster chambers of our respective disciplines, we discover passions we didn’t know we had. There is something spiritually enriching (and deeply challenging) in becoming a beginner again. And the payoff is that, even when I am challenged by a text, I will inevitably encounter someone who is enchanted by it, and when I set aside my preconceptions and look with them, I discover new and unexpected beauty in the world.”

Small, discussion-based classes are central to a St. John’s education, and such an intimate learning experience would not be possible without new tutors to replace those who retire.

Between Fall 2017 and Spring 2020, which was a period of fiscal austerity for the college, St. John’s had the means to hire only 4 new tutors. Since then, the college has welcomed 31.

Not only do our newest tutors bring their varied interests and passions into the classroom, but they also enable St. John’s to maintain its small class sizes and low 7:1 student-faculty ratio.

Ivan Torres (SF27)

Ivan Torres
Rhett Anderson (A23) is a proud representative of the Abenaki people, among the earliest residents of what is now the state of Vermont.

“The history of the Johnnie Chair is long and storied, but the history of those who occupy the chairs is quickly changing for the better. As a first-gen low-income student, the scholarships I received from the college made my education a reality. The college has been dubbed “The most Contrarian College in America” but I think we should strive for a new title: “The most Affordable College in America” where financial aid packages do not include student loans, as mine does. That dream is not out of reach.”

Since the founding of the New Program in 1937, when St. John’s adopted an egalitarian model that was rare in higher education, the range of backgrounds represented in a St. John’s classroom has steadily expanded.

Among current freshmen, 80 percent receive need-based financial aid, 30 percent identify as students of color, and 20 percent are from families in the two lowest income brackets.

St. John’s can attract a diverse student body because your gifts fund recruitment efforts in underrepresented communities and increase the amount of scholarship support the college can provide.

Michael Brönner (SF24)

Michael Brönner

“When I first arrived on campus after 30 hours of travel, my peer mentor welcomed me with much-needed food. When classes began, I already knew my peers and knew I was not alone. When I first had to write a Math essay, I knew a Writing Assistant who would help. And when the second-semester bill looked surprisingly different, I knew whom to contact.

Friendships formed, coping methods solidified, and confidence grew. Not everything is perfect, but that is precisely why the Pritzker Bridge Program exists—and it makes me proud to be a part of this community.”

Stepping into Johnnie life can be as intimidating as it is exhilarating, especially when students face situational barriers to engagement at the college or have concerns about their academic readiness.

Through the Pritzker Bridge Program, incoming freshmen who need more time to prepare for St. John’s have an opportunity to settle in early, begin building their academic skill set, and forge bonds with the staff, faculty, and peer mentors who can help them thrive.

Results show the Bridge Program not only contributes to a positive first-year experience but also helps students persevere in their studies. Since the program began in 2020, Pritzker Bridge Scholars have returned for their sophomore year at a higher rate than their classmates.

Genevieve Hoyah (A24)

Genevieve Hoyah

“The Pritzker Bridge Program provides an incredibly valuable first step for freshmen. In the two years that I have been a peer mentor, it has been a privilege to witness the connections they are making, from gaining familiarity with campus to finding friends.

I feel the impact of the program most personally when, long after classes have begun, my freshman (and now sophomore!) mentees come up to me with questions or seek me out for a chat. They know it’s okay to ask for help.”

The first year of college is a time of self-discovery but also challenges, particularly for international and first-generation students, as well as students from underrepresented communities.

Through peer mentorships, a component of the Pritzker Bridge Program, these new Johnnies benefit from the guidance, experience, and friendship of a classmate who has walked in their shoes. Funded through a Freeing Minds gift, the initiative is part of a collegewide effort to prepare new students for success.

Across both campuses, 20 peer mentors are helping new students navigate their freshman year—and enjoy all the college has to offer.

Deana Moss (SF24)

Deana Moss

“Coming to St. John’s as a student from a first-generation, immigrant family and low-income background, it is reassuring to know that I have a place on this campus. In particular, the Pritzker Summer Bridge Program helped me integrate myself socially, financially, and academically. It creates that space for underprivileged students to feel identified with and heard. Now, as a peer mentor, I have seen it help many other students find their footing, and it definitely helped me feel like St. John’s College is truly the place for me.”

The Pritzer Promise, which includes the Summer Bridge Program and an annual scholarship that will match a student’s federal Pell Grant, is among the donor-funded initiatives that earned St. John’s national recognition as a “First-gen Forward” college.

St. John’s is the first institution in New Mexico to receive this designation, which acknowledges our commitment to attracting, supporting, and graduating students who are the first in their families to attend college.

Amina Federspiel-Otelea (SF25)

Amina Federspiel-Otelea

“Being an RA opened the door to many discussions that I didn’t know I had the strength to hold. It also required me to grow into a new understanding of care. How do I be at peace with being the person who shows and offers resources but cannot decide the ultimate health of a struggling student? How do I do my job to enforce campus rules in moments of social pressure against it? What does it mean to care for a community in a way that respects my own boundaries?

At times I still struggle with these questions; and yet, thanks to many discussions with my supervisors, who are very open to discussing these issues and sensitive in their responses, I am learning to grow in empathy and care while keeping my own reserves full. And I am happy and grateful to move into my junior year as a continuing RA.”

Since the launch of the Freeing Minds campaign, the college has been able to greatly expand and improve the training provided to resident advisors, enabling them to better support the students in their care.

Through a specialized training program, RAs learn how to intervene in crisis situations, recognize signs of distress in fellow students, and establish open and nonjudgmental dialogue. Anti-harassment training is another recent addition that empowers these student leaders to combat on-campus bias and foster an environment where every student can feel at home.

Charlotte Nicholas (A24)

Charlotte Nicholas

“As a Resident Advisor with a responsibility for the care of my classmates, I hugely appreciate that students can source their prescriptions, vaccinations, sexual health needs, counseling (and more!) right here on campus. The trusted staff are warm and approachable, and I know from experience that they offer professional and thorough care.

I’m grateful that the college also provides many other avenues for student mental health support, including the Dean’s Office, Public Safety, and of course St. John’s “first responders,” the RAs. We are all working together to provide campus-wide support and guidance, and I am already seeing how these efforts underpin and strengthen one another.”

St. John’s College is famously rigorous, with a workload that makes immense demands of students—intellectually, emotionally, and socially.

Students can expect to encounter stress, but they will also find an improving array of health and wellness services that are focused on their complete well-being. The newly remodeled and holistically integrated Student Health and Wellness Center in Annapolis is one example of the college’s commitment to broader, more supportive care.

At the Student Health and Wellness Center, Annapolis students can access primary medical services and free counseling, attend wellness workshops, and find resources for managing stress—all in one central location.

Iris González (SF24)

Iris González

“This summer I was given the opportunity to intern with Albuquerque Street Connect, which provides case management, primary healthcare, and therapy to individuals who are living on the streets. After spending time in the field, I worked on case reviews, cross-referencing charts and records to create a narrative of the barriers to care that each patient faced.

It is usually easier to speak about the effect St. John’s has had on my interior life than it is to talk about the real-world applicability of the skills I have acquired here—but at Street Connect, I was able to truly understand the functionality of my liberal arts education. It is with a renewed sense of purpose that I can work towards establishing myself in this field, with a continuing focus on addressing injustice in medicine at its roots.”

Summer internships, which are entirely donor-funded, give students hands-on work experience—often with prominent employers in their own hometowns. Many of these internships would normally be unpaid, but your generous gifts allow St. John’s to offer a substantial stipend, making them more accessible to students who rely on paid summer work.

As a result of the Freeing Minds campaign, undergraduate students are now guaranteed funding for at least one paid internship during their time at St. John’s.

Erin Allen (A24)

Erin Allen

“At St. John’s, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed exploring the compounding development of scientific thought in its theory and application, but to pursue a career in environmental research, I needed a more structured introduction to hands-on field research. At the University of Pittsburgh’s Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology, I gained a broader vantage point on the different avenues environmental research can take and accumulated skills I can use as a springboard to future research. I also found it immeasurably helpful to sit down with professors and talk about what I should look for in a graduate program, how the application process works, and what career options look like.

Those discussions were among the greatest benefits of my fellowship—that, and the uncontestable benefit of spending a large part of my summer wading through swamps and ponds.”

Philanthropy is the primary source of support for summer fellowships, which enable students to further their personal as well as professional goals by taking classes outside of St. John’s. Through these donor-funded opportunities, students can explore areas of potential graduate study, fulfill prerequisite courses, build portfolios of their work, or obtain certification in an area of career interest.

Last summer, gifts to the college enabled 36 students to pursue coursework in calculus, architecture, Arabic, environmental conservation, emergency medicine, and other fields of study.

Masako Ito (A22)

Masako Ito

“During my time at St. John’s, I encountered only a few peers who were interested in business careers, so I was anxious about my postgraduate plans until I participated in the Jobs4Johnnies program. Networking was one of its biggest advantages! I was matched with alumni who answered my technical questions about the field and helped alleviate my anxieties around job searching. Staff in the Career Development Office then discussed how students can leverage the value of their liberal arts education in business and convey that in interviews. Ultimately I successfully landed a job offer at the software company where I had a summer internship during my junior year.

I am grateful for the resources provided to me, and I hope this initiative will continue to aid students in their career journeys.”

The support you show for our students also extends to their postgraduate goals.

Through the Odyssey Program (formerly Jobs4Johnnies), staff, alumni, and board members help members of the senior class to identify fields of career interest, polish their resumes, make connections, and confidently answer the inevitable question: “what will your education bring to the job?”

Now in its fourth year, the Odyssey Program is part of a more robust suite of career service programming, much of it donor and volunteer-driven, that is available on both campuses.

Sam Detwiler (A23)

Sam Detwiler

“My internship award allowed me to spend my summer working in the Kay Lab at the University of Chicago’s Institute for Mind and Biology, under the mentorship of St. John’s alumna Dr. Leslie Kay. About halfway through the internship, which involved research on olfaction and sensation, I was offered a permanent position as lab manager.

As someone who hopes to follow a path in STEM, specifically medicine, having the opportunity to work in such a prestigious lab is invaluable. Without my internship, it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to test whether research was truly a path of interest for me.

I’m extremely grateful to have been granted this award and can now proclaim employment directly out of St. John’s.”

Through important texts, penetrating conversations, and hands-on lab work, St. John’s encourages students to wrestle with humankind’s understanding of the universe.

For students who want to apply this questioning mindset to jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, St. John’s can illumine pathways and provide access to career-enhancing resources—many of them supported primarily through gifts. In addition to helping students apply to graduate school or connect with alumni in STEM fields, the college provides funding for summer internships and fellowships, which enable students to gain valuable work experience or complete prerequisite coursework.

Of the nearly 100 donor-supported internships and fellowships undertaken by students in 2023, a third were related to STEM.

Diego Salinas (SF24)

Diego Salinas

“Before this summer I had never been outside of the country, but with a fresh passport in hand I pursued six weeks of seminars at the Rome Institute of Liberal Arts, founded by a Johnnie. By far my biggest takeaway from the experience is a much deeper appreciation for my St. John’s education. It may seem like the magic of the seminar is contingent on the cloister-like peace and focus of our campus, but what continually stood out to me in Rome was the way in which the seminar remained just as impactful in a new context—and even felt reinvigorated by the often-synchronous contents of the art we encountered and the texts we read.

I’m struck by the way in which this opportunity has reaffirmed my commitment to my education and primed me for my senior year at St. John’s—and for the journey beyond.”

Study abroad programs have surged in popularity at St. John’s, enabling more students to discover how a direct experience of the larger world can shape their career paths and alter their understanding of ideas they encounter in the classroom.

This summer, the Global Pathways Fellowships and Bienenfeld-Pemberton Fellowships helped 20 students cover the cost of these opportunities, which included studying theology and philosophy in Rome, creating art in Provence, and conducting archaeological research in Mongolia.

Calvin Bright (SF24)

Calvin Bright

“I’m so glad to see St. John’s being among the first to set the trend of solar-powered institutions in New Mexico. Despite our nearly constant sunny days, states like Massachusetts far outrank our state's solar production. This is unacceptable. I’m saddened that “Big Oil” in this state has chosen to look out for its own profits over the health and wellness of this oft-overlooked state. To be a at St. John’s makes me proud to be a part of that change.”

Thanks to a Freeing Minds gift from two anonymous alumni and an energy audit supported by the Class of 2019, the electric needs of the Santa Fe campus will be met entirely through solar energy.

Upon completion of the project in 2023, a combination of ground-mounted solar arrays and covered carports will house 1,670 photovoltaic panels that will also provide energy to 20 electric vehicle charging stations. Excess energy will be fed back into the local grid, enabling the campus to draw from that supply on rainy days.

The project is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 858 metric tons, an amount equivalent to 96,530 gallons of gasoline, and make the campus nearly carbon-neutral.

Sanyum Dalal (SF25)

Sanyum Dalal

“The student center is the heart of our community. Here, we think and read together, eat together, and share our ideas with one another. The improvements that are in store will make this space safer, more comfortable, and more inviting. I know I speak for my peers when I say that we are especially excited, and thankful, for the coming updates to the Cave, which is our much-frequented, student-run space. Improvements to the Cave are, to us, a demonstration of the support for student initiatives. And since the Cave is student-run, it is an opportunity for students to become more accountable for the kind of campus culture we create.”

Work has now begun on a major renovation that will reinvent the Pritzker Student Center (formerly the Peterson Student Center) as the social heart of the Santa Fe campus. Students will enjoy comfortable new lounges for study and conversation, a more spacious coffee shop that connects to an expanded bookstore, and enhancements to the student-run performance venue, the Cave.

Everything that distinguishes this building, from the Territorial Revival architecture to our treasured works by designer Alexander Girard, will be wonderfully refreshed and renewed. Additionally, without a major renovation since 1964, the building will undergo important safety and accessibility improvements that will better meet the needs of our community.

Zane Kelly-Carmichael (SF23)

Zane Kelly-Carmichael
Served as Vice President of the Greenhouse Club on the Santa Fe campus

“If there is one thing we should learn from Plato, it should be to seek beauty in the world. Put into action, this means we need to recognize the beauty in our environment and work to preserve it moving forward.

I believe that sustainability entails individual engagement, but communal impact. And to be blunt, the impact of sustainability matters to what we do at the college because being sustainable is really the only way our institution can continue existing into the future. There is no time to stand still.”

Through Freeing Minds, St. John’s undertook a variety of projects designed to shrink our carbon footprint and conserve our natural resources.

In addition to going solar, Santa Fe adopted LED lighting—a much greener alternative to fluorescent lighting—throughout the campus and installed high-efficiency boilers in several buildings. These additional projects will result in savings of 358,000 kilowatt-hours annually.

In Annapolis, the renovation of Mellon Hall made the largest building on campus significantly more energy efficient. Heating, air conditioning, lighting, and plumbing were all updated with an eye to saving energy and conserving water. In addition, the outdated window units in Fielding-Rumore Hall were replaced with a modern HVAC system—that actually keeps students cool.

Elsie Jang (SF23)

Elsie Jang

“I have never been so enchanted in a classroom. At St. John’s, I am surrounded by people who want to learn for the sake of learning, and my classmates and I spend late nights in the library and have lively debates at mealtimes because it fills us up.

I recently learned that tuition only covers a portion of the cost of this experience. The rest comes from gifts. Thank you for believing in the college and for making this beautiful community and this meaningful education possible.”

Small colleges are in a vulnerable position. Since the start of the millennium, more than 850 have closed or merged with larger institutions, giving up their unique identities. The cause? Changing demographics and finances. The number of college-age students is shrinking, along with the contributions that families can afford to make toward tuition.

Your support for Freeing Minds allowed St. John’s to reduce tuition and pivot to a more sustainable financial model that is built on gifts, grants, and income from the St. John’s Endowment, a collection of invested gifts.

In FY22 these donor-funded sources covered more than 40 percent of the college’s needs.

Carl Guttman (SF24)

Carl Guttman

“A truly liberal education, an education like the one St. John’s offers to its students, should not be limited to those who had the fortune to be born into wealth—or burden its graduates with life-long debt, indeed not a very liberating state of existence. The fact that these phrases are not empty platitudes at St. John’s is due in no small part to the support you give. St. John’s offers me the possibility to truly think freely—what greater gift can you give?”

With the Freeing Minds campaign, St. John’s switched from a financial model that depends heavily on tuition to one that relies more on philanthropy. This approach calls on alumni and friends to provide ongoing support so the college can maintain tuition at the lowest rate possible and offer this incredible education to as many people as possible.

FY22 marked the third consecutive fiscal year in which gifts, grants, and the income from invested gifts played a greater role in sustaining the college than tuition.

Tessa Wild (A23)

Tessa Wild

“The opportunity to read the pillars of the Western canon under the tutelage of the St. John’s faculty has been an unmatched experience. I love picking apart Aristotle, examining Plato, and dissecting Harvey—and a cow heart along with him!

This school, and the Johnnies who inhabit it, have forever altered the course of my life, and that could not have happened without you.”

The St. John’s Endowment provides enduring support for the college and ensures that students will always have the chance to pick apart Aristotle, examine Plato, and dissect Harvey.

The individual funds that make up the St. John’s Endowment were established by donors who wanted their gifts to last forever. These gifts are not spent but are instead invested, with the goal of generating a permanent stream of annual income that rises over time.

In 2022, the St. John’s Endowment generated $10.7 million in income, an amount equivalent to $10,500 in support for every student.

Henry Hills (A24)

Henry Hills

“This year, I intend to join the Historic European Martial Arts club, where I will learn the basics of sword fighting from the primary sources themselves. I also intend to join the St. John’s Choir as well as the Storytellers’ Guild, and I am already a member of the Thursday Night Singers, who meet to sing folk songs and sea shanties. Will I be able to handle it all? I don’t know, but that’s the point.

This is precisely why scholarships are so important to me and my classmates. By allowing us to attend a school that offers so many opportunities, you give us the chance to find out about the things for which we are passionate, in the process becoming more complete than we were before St. John’s. It’s this elevation from mere being to meaning that you help provide, and I cannot thank you enough.”

One-third of gifts to the Freeing Minds campaign are allocated to student support, a category that includes $80 million in new scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students.

Of this amount, approximately $55 million will be added to the St. John’s Endowment for the purpose of establishing permanently endowed scholarships. These gifts are not immediately spent but are instead invested, and the income they generate will fund scholarship awards in perpetuity.

Rachel Hauben (A25)

Rachel Hauben

“I have always been an avid reader, and as soon as I discovered St. John’s College, I knew this was where I wanted to engage myself in higher education. Receiving the wax-sealed acceptance letter in the mail was quite honestly one of the highlights of my senior year in high school. Finances were, of course, a major consideration during the application and admission process, but I was overjoyed and relieved at how attainable an education at St. John’s College was. As I begin my sophomore year studies, I can honestly say that I cannot imagine myself anywhere else, and I am so grateful to be here.”

As a result of widespread support for the Freeing Minds campaign, the college was able to cut tuition by one-third in 2019, eliminating a decade of price increases. This bold step made St. John’s one of the most affordable colleges in the Small College Consortium, a prestigious group of small schools that excel in the liberal arts.

In the years since this historic reset, tuition at St. John’s has risen less than the rate of inflation and remains lower in 2023 than it was in 2013.

Charles Massiatte (AGI24)

Rachel Hauben

“I discovered St. John’s College over two decades ago, and since then, it has been my dream to study the Great Books here. Unable to attend then due to financial realities and eventually taking my bachelor’s elsewhere, the possibility of pursuing the Graduate Institute refreshed my earlier ambitions. However, as a father of five and a full-time teacher, the impossibility of relocation was another reality imposed on my aspiration to study at the college. As a result of the low residency program in the GI, I can now attend seminars virtually and discuss Plato, Aquinas, and Nietzsche with excellent tutors and colleagues through the convenience of remote study.

The low residency program has made the impossible possible for me.”

St. John’s is listening when prospective students tell us what the college can do to attract lifelong learners to the Graduate Institute. Convenience, flexibility, and financial aid are among their needs.

In 2020, the faculty approved an instructional proposal to offer all three master’s degree programs in a low-residency format, making them more accessible to students who cannot relocate. In addition, the Graduate Institute offers significant financial aid, special scholarships for educators, and a 25% discount to alumni who earned a bachelor’s degree at St. John’s.

David Townsend, Tutor

David Townsend

“As a tutor since 1974, I have been privileged to witness the development of the college as it has grown and matured in Santa Fe, Annapolis, and on our expanded global campus. We continue to steadily improve as we work, quoting Frederick Douglass, ‘to be true to our past, true to our present, and bind ourselves to be true to our future.’

We tutors are grateful to you who love this college and who came together to support the Freeing Minds campaign. Together we are having a revolutionary effect on the future of education, of the survival of republican values, of human rights, and of ideas with powerful consequences for the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. Our world needs these gifts as we steer a course through changing times.”

Higher education is experiencing a period of disruption, and all but the wealthiest institutions must prepare for leaner times. The growth of the St. John’s Endowment, which generates a dependable stream of income, positions the college to better withstand the challenges coming our way.

Approximately $80 million was added to the endowment during the Freeing Minds campaign, and another $90 million in campaign pledges and estate gifts will be added in the years ahead.

Once these gifts are received, annual income from the St. John’s Endowment will, under most market conditions, cover more than a third of the cost to educate our students.

Jordan Kammeyer (A25)

Jordan Kammeyer

“Theatre and music have prospered since the reopening of Mellon Hall. As archon of the King William Players, I have greatly enjoyed both performing in and directing shows in the FSK auditorium, and the new studio theater was an ideal rehearsal space throughout the process of putting those shows together. While the various make-do performances spaces we used during the renovation (Great Hall, Boathouse, Mellon courtyard) afforded a certain amount of creative inspiration, the experience of watching performances (and performing) in a real theater with real lights is magical.

I am looking forward to our growing artistic endeavors in these updated spaces.”

Mellon Hall has completed a stunning transformation that re-establishes this iconic building as the academic, social, and creative heart of the Annapolis campus.

The renovation, partially funded through gifts, restores signature elements of architect Richard Neutra’s design while improving accessibility, adding new space for the visual and performing arts, and creating comfortable lounges for study and conversation.

Members of the St. John’s community can enjoy deep discussions in the beautifully remodeled Fishbowl, relax on the new Mellon Terrace, or explore provocative works in the expanded Mitchell Art Museum.

Daniel Rodriguez SF15; SFGI17

Daniel Rodriguez

“As a writer, I find the most important element of St. John’s College to be dialogue, whether between faculty and students or the authors in the Program. A trickier step is extending that dialogue outside the Program and applying it to life after St. John’s.

The Santa Fe Office of Personal and Professional Development has been essential to my attempts to do that as a screenwriter. I’ve remained in dialogue with Senior Career Advisor Charlie Bergman since graduating from the Graduate Institute in 2017, working on everything from job applications to networking opportunities. Thanks to this help, I’ve returned to Santa Fe after teaching and acting in Miami, and I am now pursuing my dream of making my own films.”

St. John’s offers personalized, professional-grade career coaching that is free of charge to not only undergraduate students and recent graduates but also to graduate students and alumni who are navigating career transitions later in life. The college can help with self-assessments, networking, interview prep, resume reviews, and strategies for negotiating an offer—without the high cost of a private coach.

Your gifts not only established the Office of Personal and Professional Development in Santa Fe but also improved the career planning experience on both campuses, with additional staffing, more strategically located offices, and an expanded array of programming.

Natalie Michaels (SF26)

Natalie Michaels

“Unable to speak in Seminar, I asked Mr. David Carl to help cure me of my excruciating muteness. His initial suggestions were standard, but I returned, pleading for a more radical treatment. He jokingly suggested I try magic, and out of that humor a fruitful mentor-mentee relationship was born. Fueled by our mutual admiration for Joan Didion, shared interest in Velvet Underground-adjacent music, and thwarted attempts to learn the bongos, we met consistently during my freshman year to discuss everything from Program-specific questions to our feelings about humanity. My experience of St. John’s would have lacked complexity and relevance if I didn’t have a tutor I could talk to outside the classroom, someone who could openly relate to my confusions and concerns. I’m grateful to have been paired with Mr. Carl, and trust I’ll return with requests for guidance in the years to come.”

Over the years, students and alumni have spoken of their deep love for the Program, our tutors, and the lasting rewards of the St. John’s experience—but they have also shared the difficulties they faced when they felt they were falling behind and sought guidance. Surveys reveal that more than half of all graduating seniors have, at some point, given serious thought to leaving St. John’s.

As a result of your advocacy and support, all freshmen are now paired with a faculty mentor, who can offer feedback, provide direction, and lend a listening ear.

Leah Lasell SFGI04

Leah Lasell

“During the school year, I strive to be a model learner for my students; but in the summer, I benefit from the investment you make in the faculty’s learning.

Over the last few years, I have studied Archimedes’ New Method, Madame de Lafayette’s ‘La Princesse de Clèves,’ Frederick Douglass’s ‘My Bondage and My Freedom,’ Boscovich’s ‘A Theory of Natural Philosophy,’ and Hannah Arendt’s ‘The Human Condition.’ At the conclusion of these study groups, which are difficult, stimulating, and deeply rewarding, we will often talk about how a work might be approached in class. Regardless of the direct instructional outcome, the study groups are essential for the audacious project that is the New Program.”

By providing tutors with the time and space for in-depth exploration of a work or subject, faculty summer study groups build community and broaden perspectives. Although study groups are optional and extracurricular, our tutors say they benefit from deepening their understanding of issues that are often raised in the classroom —and, ultimately, so will our students.

In 2023, the college offered nine summer study groups, along with stipends that make them a financially feasible alternative to summer employment. A newly endowed fund, established during the Freeing Minds campaign by friends of the college, will further support and expand these opportunities.

Dolan Polglaze (A24)

Dolan Polglaze

“Coming to any college is a formative and serious threshold to cross, and that is especially true with St. John’s. As an RA, I have seen firsthand how orientation has transformed from a slim information session to a robust and mindful program that aims to bridge the often-difficult transition to our beloved college. One significant improvement is the newly created session in which the RAs and new students divide into small groups and discuss the students’ academic fears and questions about living and working together in a small, intense community.

I admire and support this strengthening because our unique college requires an orientation as specific and attentive as our program of study, which is future-minded but also grounded in the beliefs that have always moored us.”

Too many alumni say they felt thrown into the Program, with only a brief introduction to college life and the rigors of the St. John’s classroom. Your gifts are changing things for students. Incoming freshmen now enjoy a more thorough welcome, with activities designed to lay a proper foundation for the journey ahead.

Over the course of a full week, students engage in practice seminars, learn about supportive resources on campus, share and discuss their concerns around the college’s expectations, and receive advice from upperclassmen on how to manage their time—and stress.

Campaign Reports

View St. John’s progress reports to learn more about the success of the campaign and the impact of your gifts.