Matthew Dean is a student at the St. John’s College Graduate Institute in Annapolis.
St. John’s College: What brought you to St. John’s College?
Matthew Dean: An ancient Greek professor in undergraduate referred to it off-handedly, very dry and understated. He referred to it as the last bastion of Western civilization. After I lived and worked in China, I found out about the Graduate Institute.
SJC: What do you think so far?
MD: I love it. The Program is everything I could ever want from any intellectual pursuit, and the people are remarkably friendly. It’s part of the atmosphere here and everyone is interested in doing something together as a group and that’s very refreshing in the classroom.
SJC: What has been your favorite reading?
MD: We did the Herodotus preceptorial over the summer, and I don’t know what it was but that preceptorial just clicked.
SJC: How did you end up in China after completing your undergraduate degree?
MD: I had no idea what I was going to do after undergraduate, so I figured [going to China] would be a good way to travel, to see if I like teaching, and to learn a language. I guess I did all those three. So I lived and worked in northeast China for about three years at various places: a high school, a college, and a university.
SJC: Did you visit St. John’s before attending?
MD: I landed [from China] maybe 48 hours before I came to sit in as a prospective student. And I sat in on a class and I had the most intense jet lag ever, so I was trying desperately to keep my eyes open during this really interesting discussion of the Book of Job.
I didn’t want to drive an hour back to DC, [so] one of the grad students said, “Well, you can just crash at the dorms.” He takes me back to Spector Hall and he gives me a blanket and a pillow and puts me on the couch in the basement and said, “Alright, there you go. Let me know when you leave in the morning and give them back.” That was my introduction to St. John’s. It was undue hospitality, very overwhelming hospitality. And then I woke up the next morning. It was beautiful, it was summer and the sun came up and so I watched the sun rise over the campus and I was like, I should apply here. So I did.
—Brady Lee (AGI14)