By Scott Hannan
This past Monday, January 20th, the St. John’s College Santa Fe campus opened for the spring semester. Gathered in the Great Hall inside the Peterson Student Center, President Mark Roosevelt, Dean Walter Sterling, and Associate Dean for Graduate Programs David McDonald welcomed 24 January Freshmen and 7 new Graduate Institute students before an audience of staff, faculty, and returning students. Mr. Ronald Roybal provided accompaniment on Native American flute before and during the ceremony.
These new students were introduced by the Deans of their respective programs and greeted by Mr. Roosevelt, before signing the official school register.
Following the official introduction of the students, Mr. Roosevelt gave a short and profound address to the new students. He extended his confidence in their decision to attend St. John’s College and welcomed them to their new home here. He went on to describe the virtues of the school unique in the arena of higher education. He explained the freedom of St. John’s, not as the freedom to build one’s own degree, limited to narrow zones of comfort and preference, but the freedom of mind earned through the academic rigor and challenge of the St. John’s program.
“We believe a freer thinker comes from when you know how others think, what they believe and why. And when you learn to listen. Really listen.
“…We ask you to overcome your fear of being able to do higher-order thinking in mathematics, science, philosophy, and literature. By learning you can do what you might have feared you could not do, you will become not just a stronger student, but also a stronger and a freer person.”