July 28, 2008

St. John’s Exceeds Campaign Goal, Raises More Than $133M

By EARL KELLY Staff Writer

St. John's College wrapped up a six-year capital campaign yesterday with a total of $133.7 million, exceeding its original goal by nearly $9 million.

The money will be used to strengthen the college's endowment and to expand student financial aid at campuses in Annapolis and Santa Fe, N.M.

"I think it is going to do wonders for the college," said Christopher Nelson, president of St. John's in Annapolis, in a phone interview from a celebration in Santa Fe. "We have been building toward this for years; it will help us strengthen our undergraduate and graduate programs, and contribute to the infrastructure."

Included in the fundraising campaign, titled "With a Clear and Single Purpose," were two new dormitories for the Annapolis campus, Gilliam and Spector halls, which opened in 2005 and 2006 respectively.

On the Santa Fe campus, some of the money will be used to construct a new Graduate Institute building and a new dormitory, St. John's Annapolis spokesman Rosemary Harty said.

Included in the $133.7 million raised was a gift of $12 million from an anonymous donor, and $13.2 million in gifts and matching grants from Ronald Fielding, a member of the Annapolis Class of 1970.

Roughly $44 million of the money will go into an endowment to provide students financial aid, Ms. Harty said. A $29 million endowment will help pay faculty salaries.

"Most of the contributions were from alumni, but 22 percent came from foundations and $15.7 million came from friends nationwide, a lot of them in Annapolis," Ms. Harty said.

The campaign began in 2002 internally, and entered its public phase in April 2006. The college announced the total yesterday during a celebration on the college's Santa Fe campus.

Early support during the campaign allowed the college to renovate its science labs and music rooms and Mellon Hall, the Annapolis campus' main academic building. The school also upgraded the Francis Scott Key Auditorium.

Strong giving from St. John's alumni, combined with several major gifts from foundations such as the Hodson Trust, helped the small college exceed its $125 million goal, Ms. Harty said.

In raising the money, St. John's emphasized that it wanted to remain small, and not to expand.

The unique college has only about 475 and 75 graduate students on each campus. The student-faculty ratio is 8:1, one of the lowest of any U.S. college.

All undergraduate students take the same curriculum and read the original great works of Western civilization. The Santa Fe campus' Eastern Classics Program also offers graduate-level courses in Asian culture.

St. John's College began as King William's School in 1696, and was chartered as a college in 1784. In 1937, it adopted the Great Books curriculum that it maintains today.

In 1964, the college opened its Santa Fe campus, and each campus has its own president.

Attending St. John's costs about $48,000 a year, which includes room, board and fees. {Corrections:} {Status:}

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