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The September 30, 2011



Dean Sterling: Man Behind the Title

By Alicia Dondo

On a relatively busy Wednesday, I met with Mr. Sterling: the new dean. The interview started punctually at 3:30 p.m, as he greeted me with a huge smile and invited me into his office. Though it was clear he had been in meetings all day talking (he first had a drink of water), he was very willing to have a conversation with me about his life as a husband, father, tutor and dean. Dondo: I understand that you are an alumnus of the Annapolis campus. How has your view of St. John’s evolved from the time you were a Johnnie to now that you are dean? Mr. Sterling: I was actually a student on both campuses. I spent a year here in Santa Fe. Actually, my father is a tutor at the Annapolis campus. In fact, both of my parents are alumni, so St. John’s is in my blood. Therefore, as a teenager, it was easy for me to drift into St. John’s. In my first couple of years, I didn’t appreciate the program and was a bad student. Then I took a year off after Sophomore year and returned with a new sense of the value of the program and of learning with others in a community such as St. John’s. I was a more serious student, and I became obsessed with philosophy. After studying philosophy in graduate school and teaching at several other colleges, I became a tutor here. It was something I chose to do, rather than something I inherited. It meant more to me. Another difference is that when I was a student, my

energy came from my own thinking. Now as a tutor my attention is directed toward and my energy comes from the learning of the students. At the presidential pancake breakfast, I saw you and your family helping out with the cooking. Tell me about your family. My wife Meghan is a physical ther-

Walter J. Sterling apist. We have two sons: Will, who is two and a half years, and Luke who is six months. Both my wife and I are from back east, but we met out here. I could not do this work as dean without the strength and support of my wonderful wife. Being a parent is the most difficult and thrilling thing in my life. Seeing every step of their development is amazing. Right now I am

teaching Will the Greek alphabet. How is Santa Fe different from where you grew up? My childhood was split between Maryland and Virginia where the environment was so green and lush and there was water everywhere, so when I first came to Santa Fe as a teenager, it felt like going to Mars. I didn’t have

at other colleges, I started feeling claustrophobic in the world of academia. I wanted to break out of that world so I considered various possibilities. I ended up coordinating and teaching basic adult education programs such as adult literacy and GED classes, for a non-profit in Philadelphia: Project HOME. I worked with people in substance abuse and mental health recovery programs. Although this too was “education,” it was more like social work. It was not so much their academic progress that mattered, but bettering their lives. I still consider this the most important experience of my life. But eventually, it also reminded me how much I cared about teaching and learning of the sort that we do at St. John’s. So, though it was painful to leave Project HOME, I was happy to have the opportunity to come here. How do you feel this work at Project HOME contributes to what you bring as dean? I think it has contributed to everything I do. At Project HOME I learned that I had to concentrate on and help the person in front of me because their lives were so fragconcentrates on his dean-related affairs. ile. That sort of attentiveness is needed as a tutor and as a taste for it. Since I moved here eight dean. In fact, in every aspect of life. years ago, however, it has seemed a I try to be attentive to the needs of the glorious change. I love biking and run- individual person I encounter and to ning here. The natural beauty is glori- let them be who they are. It changed ous and the city itself offers so much. how I look at everything I do. For a few years before you came to St. John’s as a tutor, you were an (See, Sterling Silver, Page 3) Adult Learning Instructor. What motivated you to come to St. John’s? After graduate school and teaching

Matthew Calise: The Power of Relationships

By Tamaki Ishii

it felt natural through making these contacts and having this Ex Libris will be featuring cultural experience to puralumni in The Moon starting sue this path. I did some rethis academic year. We aim to search and chose JET since it spread awareness about alumseemed like a stable program ni from different fields and the through the Japanese governpaths that they have paved ment and it was already for themselves while max10 to 15 years into makimizing their St. John’s ing. I also had experience education. Please do not abroad in Germany that hesitate to contact these really drove my decision alumni regarding their to live and work overseas. former education or caRegardless of what you reer paths. want to do, because we (as Tamaki: Can you give SJC students) don’t have us a background of your much opportunity dureducation and current ing the academic year to career title? “specialize” it really puts Matt: I graduated from the onus on the students Annapolis in 2000 and to make sure to have a ditook some non-profit Mr. Calise sports his best attire and a grin. rected internship or work management courses experience. and certificate programs at learning environment. I had Which skills did you polGeorgetown University but I been a teaching assistant as an ish at SJC that helped you in don’t have a graduate degree. I English as a Second Language “real world”? currently work as the Director program during summers in of Alumni Affairs at George- the US. The largest population (See, Interview with an Alumtown Law Center. of students were Japanese, so nus, Page 2.)

Taco Tasting

So how did you frame your post-SJC plans and why did you choose this? I decided to do the JET (Japanese Exchange and Teaching) Program; I loved it because it was such an intense

Watch The Throne

Winning in Japan

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