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 cherished and often historically significant spaces—but time has taken its toll, and many of our residential buildings need significant work.

Through the Pritzker Challenge and the generosity of the Jay Pritzker Foundation, the Annapolis campus is crafting a plan to renew our residence halls, beginning in 2023 with Campbell Hall, the largest residence hall on campus.

The renovation will improve ADA accessibility, modernize the infrastructure, and make Campbell Hall a destination for students seeking great conversation. The bookstore and coffee shop will move from Humphreys Hall and McDowell Hall, respectively, to Campbell Hall’s lower level, facing the new Mellon Hall outdoor terrace and events space.

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.

St. John’s wants more students to have this opportunity, but not every family has the means to afford tuition, travel expenses, or both. Because of gifts to the college, including gifts of scholarship support, more than one-third of the students who participate in Summer Academy receive some form of help with the cost.

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 23 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.

Parth Bajaj (A24)

Parth Bajaj

“Meeting and talking with St. John’s admissions counselors is what made me decide to apply to St. John’s. I could see their enthusiasm, respect, and belief in what happens at the college. The more I found out, the more I fell in love with the idea of spending time to understand the journey of human thought. I knew I would have the opportunity to learn as much about myself as books and the world.”

St. John’s can attract a globally diverse community of seekers and searchers because your gifts enable us to establish fruitful partnerships with high schools around the world, keep our tuition costs low, and still provide aid to students who need support.

One of our most reliable pipelines for bringing international voices to St. John’s is the global network of United World College high schools.

As a result of an anonymous gift, UWC students like Parth are eligible for a full-tuition scholarship to study at either campus.

Rhett Anderson (A23)

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

“Going to college is a decision that few in my family have made. Naturally, I assumed for most of my life that I would not pursue a degree, that I would not be able to afford one or would never be ‘smart enough.’

Your generosity is one of the reasons I get to break the mold.”

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.

Compared to our peers, St. John’s has a very high percentage of freshmen who receive need-based financial aid and a high percentage who qualify for a federal Pell Grant. Almost 30 percent of students in the Class of 2026 identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

We can attract diverse voices, which give so much texture to conversations around the seminar table, because your gifts open doors and provide support.

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.”

With the Pritzker Promise Bridge Program, St. John’s took a big step forward in addressing the needs of incoming freshmen whose backgrounds and circumstances can be obstacles to success. The program is held in the week before New Student Orientation, giving participants almost two weeks to adjust to their new community before classes begin. Activities include writing and math workshops; panel discussions with staff, tutors, and alumni; and quality time with peer mentors.

Initial results indicate the program is especially beneficial to students from lower-income families: 88 percent of Pell-eligible freshmen who attended the Summer 2021 program returned as sophomores compared to a freshman average of 80 percent in Annapolis and 74 percent in Santa Fe.

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 students who possess limited sources of outside support. This is especially true for international and first-generation students, as well as students from less-wealthy backgrounds.

Through peer mentorships, a component of the Pritzker Promise 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, 26 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 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.

Gelila Kebede (A25)

Gelila Kebede

“I have always wanted to work with children, and I have taught as a volunteer, but I was not sure if teaching was something I wanted to pursue full-time. I put that passion to the test and applied for an internship with the Mother Child Rehabilitation Center, which provides education for disadvantaged children in my hometown of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In a few short months, I saw my passion turn into a potential career. This internship solidified my plans and confirmed my desire to be a teacher.”

Summer internships, which are entirely donor-funded, give students hands-on work experience—often with prominent employers. Many internships are unpaid, but your generous gifts allow St. John’s to offer stipends, making these opportunities more accessible to students who rely on paid summer jobs.

Beginning in Fall 2023, all undergraduate students are guaranteed funding for one unpaid or underpaid internship during their time at St. John’s.

Isabella Kiedrowski (A25)

Isabella Kiedrowski

“This summer I completed an important step toward my career. I have wanted to work as a museum curator since I was sixteen, but the job openings all require some degree of formal training. Last spring, I took my first course toward a Museum Studies Certificate; a fellowship from St. John’s enabled me to complete the remaining two—and gave me the confidence to apply for, and get, my first museum job.”

Taking summer classes outside of St. John’s gives students an opportunity to explore areas of graduate study, fulfill pre-requisite courses, or achieve certification in a field of career interest. These experiences are funded entirely through philanthropy, making them more accessible to students who might otherwise pursue seasonal employment that does not address their long-term goals.

As word continues to spread about the support St. John’s provides, demand for summer opportunities has grown, with applications for internships and fellowships rising 60 percent in 2022.

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.

Jaeri Suh (A21)

Jaeri Suh

“This summer I interned with Enuma, a female-led, Silicon Valley tech startup that creates educational apps for children. I never imagined that producing mobile applications could be such difficult and challenging work, requiring sophisticated data analysis and tons of research.

It was also one of the most fruitful experiences I have ever had. In fact, I told my roommates ‘I am going to work for Enuma after my graduation,’ and guess what, my dream came true: I am now a full-time assistant product manager for the company.”

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 are especially interested in the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, donor-funded summer internships and fellowships provide a pathway for further exploration.

Fellowships enable students to augment their St. John’s education with specialized coursework at some of the world’s most influential research universities. Internships offer a firsthand experience of day-to-day work in applied science.

Of the internships and fellowships undertaken in Summer 2022, one-third were related to STEM.

Molly McGrath (SF23)

Molly McGrath

“When I arrived at the Marchutz School of Fine Art, I still had no idea what I had gotten myself into. So how did I go from being a nervous wreck to being a young person who is truly seeing the world for the first time? Perhaps I fell in love with the pedagogy at Marchutz, with the extravagance of the natural world around me, or with the idea of being able to learn about art and myself. Whatever it was, whatever I had fallen in love with, allowed me to quickly realize myself. I painted feverishly—but I also learned a lot about art theory and what I need to do to enter the European art world. I am grateful for what I learned, and I will carry it with me for the rest of my life.”

Each summer, students have the opportunity to read and discuss important ideas in the places that played an important role in shaping them. Programs include the Marchutz School of Art in France, the Rome Institute of Liberal Arts (founded by a Johnnie) in Italy, and beginning in Summer 2023, Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Through the donor-funded Global Pathways Fellowships and the Bienenfeld-Pemberton Fellowships, the college can provide students with significant financial support to help offset the cost of these experiences. Student applications reached a record high in FY22, and the average award exceeded $5,000.

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—and growing—stream of income for the college to use, year after year.

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, $25 million is designated for immediate use and granted to students as gifts are received. Many of these gifts have already been awarded throughout the campaign. The remaining gifts—$55 million—were given by alumni and friends for the purpose of establishing endowed scholarships, frequently in honor of a loved one. 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.”

By serving as a permanent source of annual income that is not tied to tuition, the St. John’s Endowment is the bedrock of St. John’s new financial model.

Approximately $80 million was added to the endowment over the course of the Freeing Minds campaign. The college expects to receive another $90 million in the relatively near future from donors who pledged their gifts over time or included the college in their estate plans.

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 is in the final stage of a transformation that re-establishes this multipurpose building as the academic, social, and creative heart of the Annapolis campus.

Signature elements of architect Richard Neutra’s iconic design remain intact, but the lobby of Mellon Hall now opens into a welcoming commons area, and the Winiarski Conversation Room has been greatly improved in acoustics and accessibility. The popular student gathering space, the Fishbowl, has been upgraded to a more comfortable setting for deep discussion, private study, and faculty-student meetings. New additions include a studio theatre for the performing arts and an adjacent music rehearsal room, both with state-of-the-art acoustics.

The final touch will be an outdoor terrace, currently under construction.

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 a magic elixir, 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 incorporated into the program or how we might approach it differently 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.

Last summer, 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.