Talk:St. John's College (Annapolis/Santa Fe)

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The Major - and Equivalents[edit]

While Liberal Arts helps, sometimes an employer or grad school that is not familiar with St. John's wants to know more. It seems that there used to be information in the college literature that offered some alternative explanations: a major in the History of Mathematics and Science" , or something like that, plus others, and minors as well. However a google site search turned up nothing similar.

Though there are many ways of explaining the unique St. John's program, the alternative descriptions of the majors and minor might help the wikipedia reader -who may well be an individual looking at a student getting ready to reenter reality- better understand the program.

Editors please, can you work a bit on this topic? Thanks —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:23, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

I do believe that the SJC literature specifically says that one receives a B.A. in "Liberal Arts." I don't see any alternative names or titles. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:15, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
I am a current student in Santa Fe, and oral tradition holds that our degree used to be described as a double-major, double-minor in classics, philosophy, history of math and science, and comparative literature, although I cannot find any actual enunciation of this, and cannot remember which degrees were supposed to be majors and which minors. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:28, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

With the transcript in Annapolis there is a letter from the president saying that while there are no majors at St. John's, our time-distribution is equivalent to a double major in philosophy and history of mathematics/science, and a double minor in classics and comparative literature —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:25, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

I'd like to affirm that the double major (Philosophy/History of Mathematics & Science) double minor (Comparative Literature/Classical Studies) is included in the college's official transcript, as part of a supplement (“to aid in the interpretation of the transcript”) that does a credit-hour analysis, among other things. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:02, 9 February 2010 (UTC)


Check out the new site! It lists specific requirements of accreditation that SJC fails to satisfy. It ought to be an external link on this website. What do you guys think? (talk) 04:37, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

if i created a website explaining why i liked goodyear tires and didn't like michelin tires - thought michelin tires had ruined my life even, do you think it would be appropriate for me to add that website to the michelin article? or if i made a site called "cowboys rule, titans suck" - would you consider that a worthy link to the tennesee titans page? everyone that creates a website can't expect it to link to the wikipedia article on the recipient of their criticisms. why don't you create an account and post your link on your user page? reading through the rest of the talk page here regarding your site, i don't think it can be any clearer that it's not appropriate as a link to this article. J. Van Meter (talk) 15:08, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
I honestly cannot believe you are still hammering away at this a year later. Please, please take a step back, look into the mirror, and realize that you are acting like a crazy person. Malingered (talk) 21:15, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Since there is a positive statement about St. John's from Bernard M. Davidoff, I think we ought to include a negative one from Mr. Torres. It only seems fair to include two quotes from former St. John's students, one good and the other bad. What do you guys think? (talk) 14:29, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

have you been quoted in the washington post or the NYT? quotes taken from your own website just won't cut it on this site -- not just in this article. that's wikipedia-wide policy. i couldn't create a website called "Turns out, Picasso wasn't a Genius" and then quote myself on the Picasso page. that, essentially, is what you're proposing here. J. Van Meter (talk) 15:08, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
and by the way, i'm not sure why you feel this article is so biased. it includes a rather large criticism section which, i've just noticed, is missing entirely from articles here on other colleges with potentially controversial curricula or programs (eg. Reed, Bard, Sarah Lawrence, Shimer, The New School). J. Van Meter (talk) 15:49, 27 February 2008 (UTC)


Hey guys! Why don't we add a link to this website? It has Sidney Hook's essay, and lists SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS OF ACCREDITATION THAT SJC FAILS TO SATISFY. Wow, that sounds exciting! Let's discuss it, Johnnies. OK? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:52, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

No. We've already had this discussion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:08, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Oh, I didn't realize that. What did we say? (talk) 00:20, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Among other things, we expressed distress at flagrant sockpuppetry. Emoedison (talk) 09:17, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

GI and EC info needed[edit]

  • What about more discussion of the Grad Program and (especially) the Eastern Classics Curriculum??? Aristophanes68 (talk) 02:56, 8 March 2008 (UTC) (SF 96, EC 02)
  • Update: I just checked the college webpage, and they don't have a full list of the EC readings -- does anyone have one available that they could add on the main page under the "curriculum" section"? Aristophanes68 (talk) 03:04, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Another update: I wrote up a quick description of the EC program -- but I'm not sure it belongs just under the Great Books Section. Should it go closer to the Curriculum section? (I still can't find a simple reading list for the entire program.) Aristophanes68 (talk) 06:50, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

alumni userbox[edit]

Classification: Wikipedians: by alma mater: United States: St. John's College, U.S.

This category contains Wikipedians who attend or have attended St. John's College, U.S..

To join this category, add {{User StJohnsUS}} to your user page. This will produce the following userbox:

SJC This user is a Johnnie!
  • If you want to add yourself to this category, but don't want the userbox, insert the following anywhere on your user page. Copy and paste the code as is; do not change PAGENAME.
[[Category:St. John's College (Annapolis/Santa Fe)|{{subst:PAGENAME}}]]
  • If you want to put the userbox on a page without adding it to this category, use the following code:
{{User StJohnsUS|nocat=true}}

Feel free to add it to your page! Aristophanes68 (talk) 06:52, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

move Curriculum section higher?[edit]

I'm trying to see where else the EC description should go, and I wonder why the Curriculum section is so far down the list. It would make more sense to put it much earlier, especially since it is THE defining element and the factor that attracted so many of us. Yes/No? Aristophanes68 (talk) 05:45, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

While we're talking about the curriculum section, it should be noted that only selections of many of these works are read. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:48, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

  • True, but that could mean in theory AND in practice!!! LOL! (I personally gave up halfway through Marx...) Aristophanes68 (talk) 02:58, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Whatchamacallit tree[edit]

brief mention probably ought to be made of the many hundred year old tree that had to be felled some years ago. i think it was pre-columbian. it was , i believe, mortally wounded in hurricane isabel. other college articles mention landmarks on campus.Toyokuni3 (talk) 03:51, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Lots of info from the college on the liberty tree. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:22, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

why did u get rid of quotes from courant, russel and einstein on why st johns is not good for science?[edit]

This is something that NEEDs to be in this article for it is the truth (after all, these great men agree on it). This was in the "critisms" section

this is first edit.. haven't read all rule. most probably some pertaining to the way i write. i'll read them eventually :P —Preceding unsigned comment added by Trandojedi (talkcontribs) 11:08, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

Those criticisms were removed a few days ago by an anonymous editor, who didn't explain his or her action. That's bad practice, and I've restored them. If the anon wants to discuss possible reasons for the removal, he or she is welcome to do so here. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 17:47, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

Criticism/controversy section[edit]

I've removed the "Criticism and controversy" section because having such a section is a sign of lazy editing. Other topics that are certainly much more controversial than the St. John's program (such as the Proposals for a Palestinian state article) do not have a separate "Controversy" section. I propose that if somebody wants to include the information in the article, he should merge it with the "History" section. For example, the person could include a paragraph about Hook's 1944 essay. But there is no need to include such a long section with three separate quotes taken out of context. It is out of proportion with the rest of the article. It doesn't make sense for the section on criticisms of the program to be longer than the section on the program itself. I've included the removed material below if somebody wants to use it as a reference. Erickroh (talk) 17:25, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Criticism and controversy[edit]

St. John's curriculum has drawn criticism and controversy since its inception. It went far beyond the then-existing Columbia University and University of Chicago Great Books programs in making the Great Books the entire curriculum rather than one of many courses of study, and in extending the Great Books approach to the sciences as well as the humanities.

Writing in 1938, just after the first group of freshmen completed their first semester under the new curriculum, Stringfellow Barr insisted that there was nothing radical about the curriculum and that it was

merely carrying out the terms of the eighteenth century charter of St. John's and restoring discipline in the liberal arts and an acquaintance with our intellectual heritage in place of the vocational interests and cafeteria courses that clutter our liberal arts curricula today.[1]

He referred to "opponents of the St. John's program" and said that they consider it "authoritarian and fascist". He said that some "suspect that some sort of Catholic indoctrination is being attempted" because of the inclusion of Aristotle and medieval scholastic works in the curriculum, while "Catholic educators have denounced the list for including Marx and Freud."

In a 1944 essay, the pragmatist philosopher Sidney Hook was highly critical of the "St. John's experiment". In particular, he asked whether the presentation of science and mathematics through historical texts instead of conventional systematic study actually helped students "acquire greater competence in mathematics and science or a better insight into their character as liberal arts." By way of answer, he quoted three prominent mathematicians and scientists who opposed a historical approach to scientific education.

Hook quotes Richard Courant:

"There is no doubt that it is unrealistic to expect a scientific enlightenment of beginners by the study of Euclid, Appolonius or Ptolemy. It will just give them an oblique perspective of what is important and what is not. Studying the more modern works by Descartes, Newton, etc., except for a few single items, would be even more difficult and likewise not lead to a balanced understanding of mathematics."

Bertrand Russell:

"The subject on which you write is one about which I feel very strongly. I think the 'Best Hundred Books' people are utterly absurd on the scientific side. I was myself brought up on Euclid and Newton and I can see the case for them. But on the whole Euclid is much too slow-moving. Boole is not comparable to his successors. Descartes' geometry is surpassed by every modern textbook of analytical geometry. The broad rule is: historical approach where truth is unattainable, but not in a subject like mathematics or anatomy. (They read Harvey!)"

and Albert Einstein:

"In my opinion there should be no compulsory reading of classical authors in the field of science. I believe also that the laboratory studies should be selected from a purely pedagogical and not historical point of view. On the other side, I am convinced that lectures concerning the historical development of ideas in different fields are of great value for intelligent students, for such studies are furthering very effectively the independence of judgment and independence from blind belief in temporarily accepted views. I believe that such lectures should be treated as a kind of beautiful luxury and the students should not be bothered with examinations concerning historical facts."[2]

St. John's provokes to an intensified degree the long-standing question of whether a liberal arts degree is suitable preparation for modern-day employment. In the case of St. John's, the question is intensified because of St. John's idiosyncratic program and educational philosophy.[3]

Robert Hutchins defended that educational philosophy in 1937, insisting that other educational methods "fail in all respects—we don't get either good practitioners or well-educated people." He said that 36 industries in Minneapolis and St. Paul, answering a questionnaire, said that they preferred "no specific education in schools" for their workers.[4]

In his 1987 book College: The Undergraduate Experience in America, Ernest L. Boyer lampoons St. John's College, claiming that "The fixed curriculum of the colonial era is as much an anachronism today as the stocks in the village square."[5]

'Spirited rivalry'?[edit]

i have to question whether or not the anuual croquet match is exemplary of a 'sprited rivalry' between st. john's and navy. seems to me and most other observant annapolitans that, aside from that saturday afternoon, the students at both are largely oblivious to the others' existence.others here would hold that an actual animosity exists between them.Toyokuni3 (talk) 18:28, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

There is certainly rivalry re:croquet, but "animosity" seems a bit much. You'll see midshipmen at waltz parties, and I've seen them with Johnnies at off-campus gatherings too. It seems pretty much like a full range of expressions you'd expect in one town with two very different colleges. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:56, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Student traditions such as Reality Weekend???[edit]

Reading over the entry it seems that the unique social life at St. John's is rather overlooked. Why is there no mention of some of the student traditions such as Reality Weekend, the Arc Party, or those kinds of quintessential Johnny cultural events? I went to the Santa Fe campus, and I feel that Reality is one of the most unique and special aspects of life at the school. The write up would not need to go into the gory details, but the tradition of it is important. Things such as sophomores raising money for the seniors big party, decorating the campus in accord with a great text, the sophistry contest, Spartan Madball, etc. If nobody else feels like adding this stuff, I'd like to get some feedback on how others feel it should be presented. Leeidiot008 (talk) 22:29, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

I don't see Senior Prank mentioned either. Yes, those standard events should be mentioned -- maybe in a section called "Student life" or "Campus traditions"? Aristophanes68 (talk) 01:07, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Problem with WildBot[edit]

WildBot tagged the article with having several disambiguation problems and one broken section link. I fixed those issues tonight, but the Bot hasn't been working for a week, so the tags remain on the page. I've contacted the Bot owner to see if I should manually remove them, but until he responds, we're stuck with the out-of-date error messages at the top of this page. Cheers, Aristophanes68 (talk) 03:56, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

Sources for objects?[edit]

Why on earth is there a citation request for the Ptolemy Stone section? Unless we are discussing a referential theory of meaning, locative claims are not required to be citable, at pain of infinite regress. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Makeminemaudlin (talkcontribs) 06:06, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

Junior Conference--which semester?[edit]

Someone just switched the semesters for the Junior conference, which used to be the first semester. Has the semester been changed, or is the edit incorrect? Aristophanes68 (talk) 01:05, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Removed offensive language[edit]

I removed several examples of offensive text from the St. John's graduate program sections. These comments appear to have been inserted as deliberate vandalism by someone with antipathy to the school. I have no affiliation with St. John's, and simply arrived at this Wikipedia page while researching liberal arts colleges for a novel I'm writing. It makes me wonder if someone who was thrown out of the school, or denied admission, edited this page. The prior text read (with offensive portions in bold):

The Graduate Institute in Liberal Education was established at St. John's College in 1967 as a summer program on the Santa Fe campus, and as yet another way to squeeze revenue from an unsuspecting public. An alternative for the post-graduate student whose forays into marriage and career did not match previous expectations, the size and scope of the Institute have expanded so that currently both the Annapolis and Santa Fe campuses offer year-round graduate-level study based on the principles of the St. John's undergraduate program. Students in the Liberal Arts Program explore the persisting questions of human existence by studying classic works of the western tradition, and attending champagne soirees on the balcony of the Peterson building. This program is organized into five semester-long thematic segments: Philosophy and Theology, Politics and Society, Literature, Mathematics and Natural Science, and History. Students earn a Master of Arts in Liberal Arts (M.A.L.A) by completing four of these five segments. A common curriculum provides the basis for a shared intellectual community; discussion with fellow students and faculty is the mode of learning both inside and outside the classroom, and late-night discussions with amply-endowed undergraduates is not unheard of. Each semester, students attend a seminar, a tutorial and a preceptorial—all carried out as small-group discussions under the guidance of St. John's faculty members. These three types of classes are the framework of the distinctive St. John's educational experience, and a welcome respite for those whom the world has long since turned its back.
At the Santa Fe campus, there is a program offering a Master of Arts in Eastern Classics (M.A.E.C.). This program is three semesters long and is designed to be completed in one 12-month period. Those who attempt to stay longer in order to avoid a federal investigation and/or as a tax dodge will be forcibly removed from campus. The impetus for the program came with the recognition that the undergraduate program simply could not do justice to the Great Books of the three main Asian traditions (India, China and Japan) by trying to squeeze in a few works among so many European masterworks. The EC program therefore provides a full set of readings in the philosophical, religious and literary traditions of the three cultures listed above. Thus, students learn Chinese culture by reading not only Confucius, Laozi and Zhuangzi, but also Mencius, Xun Zi, Han Feizi, and Mozi, as well as historical narratives by Sima Qian and the Zuo Zhuan, the later movement of Neo-Confucianism and Zhu Xi, narrative works such as Journey to the West or the Romance of the Three Kingdoms and the great Chinese poets, Li Bai, Wang Wei and Du Fu. This list represents only one-third of the required corpus, which also covers the major teachings and branches of Hinduism and the development of Theravada, Mahayana and Zen Buddhism, as well as such literary masterpieces as the Mahabharata, Shakuntala, The Tale of Genji, The Narrow Road to the Deep North and others. Students also take a language, either Sanskrit or Classical Chinese. There are no actual Asian students attending the program, as they realize it is a colossal waste of time.

I trust you will agree with this conclusion. I do not edit frequently, so please excuse or advise me if my actions violated protocol. --Lisa M. Kerr 22:28, 17 October 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Raresilk (talkcontribs)

first-ever (sic)[edit]

Recent promotional edits have glossed over the available sources, providing information not found there. The given source does not use the term "Department of Naval Science", for example. It deals with NROTC - which is a different thing altogether. TEDickey (talk) 08:24, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Criticism, etc[edit]

Copying large chunks of text verbatim from someone's essay (see example) and adding footnotes to it is perhaps not a good way to construct a criticism section. TEDickey (talk) 08:05, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Could you be more specific about which parts are copied? Λυδαcιτγ 08:23, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
I did a search to validate one of the questionable quotes, and found all of those copied, along with surrounding text. You might take some time to read and compare. TEDickey (talk) 09:16, 4 June 2014 (UTC)


Just so people know, I've started working on the missing missing inline citations but it's going to take a while since I'm doing other things as well. Thus far I've only tracked down and chosen a source for founded as King Williams School. It would help if other people pitched in on this. Kovar (talk) 16:23, 4 October 2014 (UTC)

Rankings and acceptance rates[edit]

Someone has been adding false information about our acceptance rates and our national rankings in the US News surveys. I've taken their source, corrected the information and added citations. Cheers, Aristophanes68 (talk) 22:54, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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  1. ^ "St. John's Hails New Curriculum; President Barr of Annapolis College Analyzes Results of 100 Books' program; Elective System Goes; 'Discipline in Liberal Arts' is Substituted for 'Vocational and Cafeteria Course'", The New York Times, July 3, 1938, p. 20.
  2. ^ A Critical Appraisal of the St. John's College Curriculum, online text from Education for Modern Man (New York: The Dial Press, 1946). Reprinted with some minor changes from The New Leader, May 26 and June 4, 1944.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Dr. Hutchins to Aid New-Type College. Head of Chicago University To Be A Governor of St. Johns at Annapolis, Md. To Revive Ancient Aims. Idea of Educating People to Live Instead of To Earn Living to Be Tested, He says." The New York Times, July 7, 1937, p. 19
  5. ^ Quoted in Donald Asher (2000), Cool Colleges, Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, p. 118.