John Moore (AGI15) is an alumnus of the St. John’s College Graduate Institute in Annapolis. Moore is currently volunteering in the college’s laboratory.
St. John’s College: How did you come to the Graduate Institute?
John Moore: Three years before enrolling in the Graduate Institute, I was attending weekend seminars and executive seminars. What I found from doing that was that as wonderful as they were, it wasn’t quite enough for me. I was working at the time and so I said to myself if I’m going to do this right I need to quit work and come do this full time.
SJC: What was your career before you came to St. John’s?
JM: I am an electrical engineer. I spent the first 17 years of my career working for the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, doing mostly Navy and air defense kind of stuff. And I left there to start my own business and did that for about 12 years.
SJC: What has the community here been like?
JM: My very first day on campus, I was meeting all the new students and we were hanging out on the quad. I forget exactly what we were talking about but it was the nature of the soul or something. I remember looking at these guys—and by the way, they were all much younger than I was—and I remember saying to myself, “I have arrived. This is home. This is what I’ve been looking for since high school.”
SJC: How was engaging with the great books after a career in engineering?
JM: There is a lot to be said for having some life experience behind you when you’re reading. There are things you will see in those books having lived 58 years that you’re not going to see if you’ve lived 22 years. That being said, there are also many things you see reading those books at 22 years of age that you are incapable of seeing at 58. For whatever reason—you’ve been blinded, you’re too set in your ways, and you just don’t look at it that way. Every conversation you have here is highly valuable. It doesn’t matter if you’re interlocutor is 22 years old or 72 years old.
SJC: What is your favorite book from the Program?
JM: I don’t think there’s an answer to that question. If you forced me to pick one, then my first answer would be the last book I read. But I might have to say, maybe, Plato’s Meno. I did a community seminar on it before I came here. Then I read it [in the orientation seminar when I started the GI]. And I did the Philosophy & Theology segment last so I had two years of intense St. John’s behind me before I did it again. Here was a book that was demonstrating to me in real time the value of re-reading and discussing, and then re-reading again and discussing again.
—Brady Lee (AGI14)