Jack Armstrong’s (SF83) Gift for his Classmates

February 10, 2023 | By Eve Tolpa

Jack Armstrong (SF83)

Like the Program itself, St. John’s alumni volunteerism is multifaceted. It translates into a range of action, from reviewing students’ résumés to helming booths at school fairs—or even embarking on a highly personal project, such as Jack Armstrong (SF83) did a decade ago.

For his 30th reunion, Armstrong put together a nearly 70-page “memory book,” as he calls it, detailing the lives of his classmates in words and pictures. He’s in the business of typesetting and printing election ballots, so his production skills were well-honed, and because he spent time at each campus, he reached out to fellow ’83 Johnnies from both Santa Fe and Annapolis.

Now Armstrong is making a second such publication to distribute at his upcoming 40th. “The lovely surprise, which is what made me so excited to do this again, is that asking people to help with this created a lot of enthusiasm,” he says. “There were quite a few people who said things like, ‘You know, I didn’t know anybody cared.’”

Armstrong carries his college experiences close to his heart. “From the first time I went as a prospective student, I felt like I had just stepped through a portal straight into Mount Olympus and was somehow privileged to spend four years among the gods,” he says. “My classmates and I have a bond; we went through something together that changed us.”

His interest in commemorative books was inspired, fittingly enough, when he was an undergraduate. “I had this friend at St. John’s who made these beautiful scrapbooks of her life and her family, and it always stayed with me.”

Armstrong finds the entire process “fantastically rewarding,” he says. “Talking to people, reading their stories, finding photos, sorting them, editing the photos—every part of it is just a joy.”

Class of ’83 members who want to participate can reach him at jack(at)relianceballots.com