Santa Fe Parents
Fall 2010 Letter Home
From the President
The summer-to-fall transition, typically a busy period on Santa Fe’s campus, was especially so this year. “A week after students arrived, we hosted our first annual Community Day, which was followed by two openings –- the new Graduate Institute building and the 10th Annual Art Show—and then Parents’ Weekend,” St. John’s College President Michael P. Peters enumerates.
“We were delighted with the turnout for Community Day, in terms of both participants and parents,” Peters says. Representatives from 17 arts and service organizations and businesses – from iconic cultural institutions such as the Santa Fe Opera and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum to national companies like Bed Bath and Beyond – provided materials, including coupons and free theatre tickets, and information about what Santa Fe has to offer.
Students were able to explore internship and volunteer opportunities with a number of organizations, including Santa Fe’s public radio station (KSFR), the Santa Fe Concert Association, the Center for Contemporary Arts, The Santa Fe Children’s Museum, and Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety. Students who choose to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity can help build homes for local families in need and also, over Spring Break, participate in the national organization’s Collegiate Challenge, which involves traveling to other Habitat locations to work.
Other Community Day participants similarly represented a range of opportunities and also services – including banking (Wells Fargo Bank), newspaper subscriptions (The New Mexican), maps and business directories (The Chamber of Commerce), artistic and entertainment venues specifically for young people (Site Santa Fe and Warehouse 21), and opportunities to participate in dialogue and activities around international issues (Santa Fe Council on International Relations).
“We’re especially excited about all the opportunities in Santa Fe for students to discover, whether in the arts or in community service,” Peters says.
Excitement also was in the air during the dedication ceremony for Levan Hall, September 25. The new home of the Graduate Institute was made possible by a $5 million gift from alumnus Dr. Norman Levan. The building houses the Liberal Arts and Eastern Classics programs as well as faculty offices, study, seminar, and conference rooms, and an exhibition space. Levan Hall itself anchors an enlarged lower placita with the upper placita to create a defined center of campus.
In line for a LEED Gold Certification, the highest designation in the internationally recognized U.S. Green Building Council’s rating system, Levan Hall incorporates a number of important features, including thick masonry walls that resist heat gain in summer, natural ventilation and nighttime air changes, windows that minimize heat build up and maximize the benefit of passive solar heat and natural light, a multi-zoned radiant heating system, a rooftop photovoltaic array that produces renewable energy, and an underground cistern that uses storm runoff from the roof to water the surrounding drought-tolerant landscape. The building pays homage to the Pueblo Revival and Territorial styles popularized by influential architect John Gaw Meem, who donated the land for the Santa Fe campus to St. John’s College more than 50 years ago.
“We are grateful for Dr. Levan’s generosity and excited to be able to have a dedicated home for the Graduate Institute,” Peters says. The interior public space displays selected works by Santa Fe artist Janet Lippincott, one of the pioneers of modern art in the Southwest.
Creativity was likewise evident at the opening of the All-Alumni, Faculty, Staff, and Student Art Show later that day. The reception – including jazz performed by tutor and pianist Andy Kingston and fellow instrumentalist -- kicked off a three-week exhibit, with hours coinciding with opportunities for the public to attend events at the College. The Art Show features an extraordinarily varied and inspiring range of artwork created by emerging artists from the College, including both undergraduate and graduate students, as well as established artists -- alumni from both campuses.
Peters presented awards to three students who had been selected by a panel of judges representing faculty, staff, and alumni: Claire Hitchcock Tilton (SF13) was honored for her ink and watercolor “Girl with Turquoise Ring,” Maxine Worthy (SF11) for her screen print “No Shoes On,” and graduate student Turner Resor for his pastel “Lake Creek Ranch.” “The breadth of talent and creative spirit in this show is remarkable,” Peter observes.
Finally, Parents Weekend, September 30 to October 2, gave parents a chance to experience first-hand their sons’ and daughters’ academic life. They attended seminars (including one specially designed for their participation), classes, and a lecture, toured the campus, met with senior administration, faculty, and staff, and socialized with other parents.
“We are so thankful to parents and their decision to invest in the lives of their sons and daughters. St. John’s College does not simply provide an education, it helps students build their lives for years to come,” Peters concludes.
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