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Lectures Theatre Concerts Classes Seminars Art Exhibitions

St. John’s College

CALENDAR OF EVENTS December January February 2010-2011

calendar Lectures Friday-night lectures are held in the Francis Scott Key Auditorium at 8:15 p.m. A question period in the Conversation Room follows each lecture. Members of the Annapolis-area community are invited to attend.

All events are held at St. John’s College 60 College Avenue Annapolis, Maryland All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

December 10-12 Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? will be performed by the King William Players and directed by St. John’s junior Jesse Wang. Edward Albee’s Tony Award-winning play was first staged on Broadway in 1962.

December 3 “Bonaventure: A Better Theologian Than Thomas Aquinas,” by Joan Crist, professor, Calumet College of St. Joseph

There will be three performances of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 8:15 p.m. Friday, December 10; 6 p.m. Saturday, December 11, and 2 p.m. Sunday, December 12. For more information:

January 14 “The Value of Life,” by Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, professor, University of California

Special Events

January 21 “Wealth, Value, and Corruption: Adam Smith’s Moral Philosophy,” by Lauren Brubaker, St. John’s College tutor January 28 “The Metaphysics of Dante’s Commedia,” by Christian Moevs, professor, University of Notre Dame February 11 “1001 Nights of Marcel Proust,” by Patricia Locke, St. John’s College tutor

Theater Unless otherwise noted, all plays and concerts take place in the Francis Scott Key Auditorium and are free and open to the public. No tickets or reservations are required.

December 4 Holiday Agora. Looking for seasonal and holiday gifts? Members of the St. John’s community present an indoor bazaar offering handcrafted gifts, food, and fine art. Proceeds from the raffle of a hand-crafted quilt go to the Caritas Society of St. John’s, to benefit emergency financial assistance for students. Agora will be held in the Francis Scott Key lobby in Mellon Hall from noon to 4 p.m. For more information contact Roberta Gable at 410-626-2527.

From a student theater troupe that normally performs works by authors such as Shakespeare, Molière, and Sophocles, the King William Players’ production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? may be seen as a radical departure from the standard repertoire. When the Tony Awardwinning play opened on Broadway in 1962, it shocked audiences with its profanity, erotic themes, and quick wit bordering on delirium. Many critics lauded playwright Edward Albee’s ground-breaking work, but some deemed Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? too scandalous for the American stage.


ThE King WiLLiAM PLAyErS PrESEnT Who’s AfrAid of VirginiA Woolf?

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is set late at night after a college faculty mixer. The play focuses on the tumultuous relationship between George, a middle-aged history professor, and his wife, Martha. The couple invites a younger biology professor and his wife over for a nightcap, but the gathering takes an ugly turn. Woolf as an author is no stranger to the St. John’s curriculum. In Santa Fe the last two seminars of senior year are devoted to Woolf’s novel To the Lighthouse, and her works are also frequently chosen for in-depth study in preceptorials (the St. John’s equivalent of electives). The play’s themes should resonate with the St. John’s community, says director Jesse Wang, a junior. “It’s appropriate to college students, specifically St. John’s students, because it says something about intellectuals, or about what intellectuals think they are and how they perceive themselves when really they’re just like everyone else, with all the same issues and problems.” The King William Players present three performances of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: 8:15 p.m. Friday, December 10, 6 p.m. Saturday, December 11, and 2 p.m. Sunday, December 12, in Francis Scott Key Auditorium. —Liam Dougherty (A11)

SATurDAy JOhnniES Can’t get away this winter? Enjoy a short intellectual vacation on a Saturday in February at St. John’s. Saturday Seminars bring together members of the community to read great works exploring timeless questions. Twelve seminars, each on a different reading, are led by St. John’s faculty members. The event typically attracts 200 participants of various ages, experiences, and backgrounds. Participants enjoy coffee and donuts before the 90-minute seminar, and many keep talking well after the seminar ends. This year, choose from works including Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Edith Wharton’s “The Reckoning,” and Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. The complete list of seminar offerings will be available on the college website: (Click on Outreach, then Annapolis Saturday Seminars.) For questions, contact Alice Chambers: or 410-295-5544. Saturday Seminars will be held from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Saturday, February 26; snow date: Saturday, March 5.


over the years [at the president’s house in Wardour], so I cut my trees and give the wood to the college. I garden quite a lot, but my wife, Joyce [Olin], is responsible for the beauty of the garden. I also try to read, although sometimes it’s not as relaxing because a good book really needs you to read carefully.

The average tenure of a college president is 8.5 years. That’s one reason Christopher Nelson’s longevity as president of St. John’s College is unusual. President Nelson talked with senior Babak Zarin about reaching his twentieth year as president of St. John’s.

Q: What do you think tomorrow’s Johnnies will be like?

Q: How did you come to St. John’s?

A: My father would often say that the St. John’s students of my generation were better than his, and I am convinced that our students are stronger now than they were in my time. The students, and the tutors as well, come knowing more about why they’re here, so we have many more in our community who love being here. It is a part of human nature to be curious, to want to know, and so I can’t imagine not finding students who want to learn from the authors who have shaped the world they’ve come to inherit.

A: I applied only to this college. I was leaving to study in Europe my senior year, so I applied during my junior year so I wouldn’t have to worry about colleges. You could also say I was born into the college. My dad’s an alumnus, and even though he didn’t talk much about it, the books were around the house. When I graduated from reading the Hardy Boys, I read the Iliad and loved it. In fact, when I babysat my younger siblings, I would pretend they were Trojans, and I was Diomedes or Ajax, and I’d run around trying to slay them. When I was in 7th grade I read Euclid, partly because I wanted to play around with some mathematical tools I had gotten, and was very surprised when I realized I didn’t need a compass or ruler to prove everything. But the real reason I applied was because I couldn’t listen to another lecture. I wanted to make my education my own, and I knew that this was the place to do that.

Q: What do you see in the future, both for yourself and for the college? A: I see myself as a caretaker of St. John’s, probably a trustee at some point in the future. I’d like to continue to protect the college from forces that would distract us from our central purpose. I want to maintain the college’s stability and financial strength so we can bring the academic program to life in the best of all ways. I also have a large family, including 14 grandchildren scattered all over the country. I’d like to spend more time with them.

Q: You graduated from St. John’s, became a trial lawyer, worked in Chicago for 18 years, and then came back. Why? A: Well, I founded the Alumni Association while I was in Chicago, and they elected me to the Alumni Board in 1983. That board elected me to the Board of Visitors and Governors in 1986, which was concerned with the college being in a weak financial state at the time. After I had served on the BVG for a while, the board and some of the faculty asked me to come in as president, so I put myself in the running when the position opened. It was easy to come back to Annapolis. I’ve always thought this was the most beautiful place in the world. Q: I’ve heard that the job of a college president has changed over time, that you constantly have to be fundraising and lobbying. Do you find that true?

Q: This job is pretty stressful. How do you deal with that? A: I relax by doing garden work and chopping wood. In fact, I believe I’ve cut all the wood used for the fireplaces on campus for the past few years. A lot of trees have come down in storms


A: Fundraising comes naturally. Friends of the college give because they meet the students and come to love them, and they feel that the curriculum is a model for other colleges. Alumni give because they felt the college changed their lives. People find ways to help, so a large part of my job is to help find ways to keep people engaged. In these economic times, like everyone else, we’re trying to do more with less.

Catch the Capitol Steps

Lift Every Voice January 8-9 St. John’s College invites the community to celebrate the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., in a weekend of events January 8 and 9. On Saturday, join community members in a discussion of an important work by Dr. King. On Sunday, enjoy a free concert of gospel music performed by some of the finest regional and local choirs and ensembles. The seminars, led by faculty members from St. John’s and Sojourner-Douglass College, will be held on Saturday, January 8, from 10 to noon. Arrive at 9:30 a.m. to check in and for refreshments. The seminars are free; however, advance registration is required. Call 410-626-2530 or register online at (click on Events and MLK Seminar). “Lift Every Voice, ” the fourth annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. concert, begins at 5 p.m. Sunday, January 9, in the Francis Scott Key Auditorium. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., and the community is invited to a post-concert reception.

Tickets to the Capitol Steps make a wonderful holiday gift, a cure for the winter blues. This annual Caritas fundraiser, to be held at St. John’s College at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 5, in the Francis Scott Key Auditorium, sells out quickly. Tickets are $55 and include a postperformance reception. For more information and to purchase tickets by check or credit card, contact Pierre Wagner at 202-332-5501 or To purchase online visit (click on Events).

Seminars and Workshops February 12 Spring Continuing Education & Fine Arts classes, including new weekend seminars, begin. Fine arts workshops include watercolor painting with Jean Brinton-Jaecks, life drawing with Mary Arthur, and Raku pottery with John Jensen. For more information on CEFA programs contact Kathy Dulisse at 410-626-2530 or visit, (click on Outreach, then Annapolis Continuing Education). Classes are open to individuals 18 and older.

Saturday Seminars February 26 Saturday Seminars. Some 200 community members gather for seminars led by St. John’s faculty members from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. For questions, contact Alice Chambers: or 410-295-5544. Snow date: March 5.

“March Madness” at St. John’s As collegiate basketball moves to championship season, St. John’s stages a “March Madness” tournament that reflects the distinctive character of the college. The intramural basketball tournament begins with a lecture, “On the Body,” usually delivered by a tutor. Then the players proceed into a double-elimination tournament. The teams, formed at the start of the tournament, are composed of students, faculty, staff, and alumni. “March Madness” has two notable differences from the NCAA and other collegiate basketball events: points scored by women are worth double, and novice players get just as much time as more skilled athletes. According to Athletic Director Leo Pickens, the changes often lead to an exciting match, as players who normally aren’t used to making decisions in the late minutes of the game suddenly find themselves changing its outcome. One year a female player scored six points, resulting in a huge upset. “It’s well worth watching,” says Pickens. -Babak Zarin (A11)

Mitchell gallery Visit us on the Web At, you can find detailed information on college events and educational programs, download a walking tour of campus, and get directions, maps, and general college news. Visit the Graduate Institute page to learn more about the college’s Master of Arts in Liberal Arts program. Find out which books are on the college’s reading list. Preview Mitchell Gallery exhibitions. Check the operating hours for the Greenfield Library and the college bookstore, both open to the public. St. John’s College also makes many of its facilities available for rent for weddings and other special events.

“Ancient Bronzes of the Asian grasslands from the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation” January 16-February 18 “Ancient Bronzes of the Asian Grasslands” brings to life the complex cultures that flourished across an enormous expanse of territory from Northern China and Mongolia into Eastern Europe, and reveals the crosspollination of cultures throughout a vast region. This exhibition is organized by the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, New York.

Buckle plaque with feline and raptor, Northern China, cast bronze, 2nd century BCE. Courtesy of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, New York.

January 18 Lecture and Reception. Dr. Trudy Kawami, director of research for the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, will discuss “Ancient Bronzes of the Grasslands: Who Wore Them and Why?” 7 p.m. January 29 Children’s Poetry Writing Workshop and Reading. Poets Natalie Lobe and Ebby Malmgren join Mitchell Gallery docent Judy Nevins to lead this program. 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. February 6 Sunday Afternoon Tour. Art Educator Lucinda Edinberg will lead a tour of the “Ancient Bronzes” exhibition. 3 p.m.

A CEnTury OF PEALing: ThE MCDOWELL hALL BELL The life of a St. John’s student can be measured by the bell in McDowell Hall. The clang of the hundred-year-old bell indicates the beginning and end of tutorials and seminars. The bell is also rung at Convocation when freshmen matriculate and four years later, when as seniors they form a procession for graduation and recess, diplomas in hand. The bell’s ring signals each student’s first welcome to the college, as well as farewell. Although the exact origins of the first bell are unknown, the current bell was installed in the tower in 1910. “After the fire the previous year in which the entire cupola fell through the building and left McDowell in shambles, great care was taken to use the remaining pieces of the building to rebuild the original structure,” says John Christensen, the college’s

February 10 Book Club. Join Mitchell Gallery Book Club members for a docent tour of the “Ancient Bronzes” exhibition, followed by a discussion of Foreign Devils on the Silk Road: The Search for the Lost Cities and Treasures of Chinese Central Asia by Peter Hopkirk. 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Registration is required. Contact Kathy Dulisse at 410-626-2530 or February 16 Art Express. Art Educator Lucinda Edinberg will give a lunchtime gallery talk on the “Ancient Bronzes” exhibit; juice and sodas will be provided.12:15 to 12:45 p.m.

admissions director and author of McDowell Hall at St. John’s College, Annapolis 1742-1989. The bell tower, however, was expanded and made sturdier to prevent any similar disaster. This year marks the centennial anniversary of the rebuilt structure and its accompanying bell. In the 100 years that the bell has rung, it missed its cue once or twice. In the late winter of 1961, the bell failed to ring to signal the start of morning classes. Instead, a fog horn bleated out a wake-up call to students to get them to tutorials. The fog horn was brought on campus by tutors to foil a St. John’s student prank; the students had taken the bell’s clapper in an effort to disrupt the class schedule. The clapper was eventually returned. The bell also failed to ring when the button that activates it jammed during one of the college’s most time-honored

Caritas Society Events


Since 1969, Caritas volunteers have raised funds for St. John’s students with emergency financial needs. Caritas volunteers host a range of community events throughout the year, including luncheons, “Meet the Authors” in the fall, and a benefit performance by The Capitol Steps each spring. For membership information, contact Joan Arnold: 443-223-8411.

February 18 The St. John’s College Concert Series presents The Parker String Quartet. This quartet is an audience favorite at St. John’s and has distinguished itself as one of the preeminent ensembles of its generation. The concert will be held in the Francis Scott Key Auditorium at 8:15 p.m.

For reservations to Caritas fundraisers and other special events, make checks payable to Caritas Society, P.O. Box 2800, Annapolis, MD 21404-2800. Phone reservations (accepted until three days prior to events), are accepted by Shirley St. Martin: 410-571-9711. December 17 Holiday Luncheon. Members of the Annapolis Chorale, under the direction of J. Ernest Green, will perform and a beautiful handmade quilt will be raffled at this year’s holiday luncheon, in the Randall Hall dining room. Cost is $25; raffle tickets are $2 or $10 for six. 11:30 a.m.

Maryland history Lecture Series These lectures, sponsored by St. John’s College and the Anne Arundel County Trust for Historic Preservation, will be held in March, April, and May. For more information, contact Anne Zolkower at

January 13 Luncheon Program. Charles Faddis, a retired CIA officer, will speak about his book, Willful Neglect: The Dangerous Illusion of Homeland Security. Snow date: January 20. The program will be held in the Francis Scott Key lobby; cost is $20. 11:30 a.m.

traditions. Each February, St. John’s seniors complete their capstone project at the college: the Senior Essay. After handing in their final essays (no later than midnight on the due date), seniors take a trip to the bell tower and press a button (as the bell is now automated) to ring a celebratory “peal.” Initially, seniors rang the bell once for every page in their essay, but given the length of the essays (30 pages or so), this tradition was limited to a single peal for each paper. Still, one winter night, the mechanism wore out under pressure. The experience of actually ringing the bell doesn’t match what students consider a great accomplishment. “You expect a

get St. John’s news and Event Announcements by E-mail Would you prefer to get the St. John’s Calendar of Events by e-mail? Send a note with your e-mail address to: You will be removed from the mailing list for the print calendar and will instead receive the calendar by e-mail. The Calendar of Events is published by the Communications Office during the academic year. All events are held at St. John’s College 60 College Avenue Annapolis, Maryland. For more information call the Communications Office at 410-626-2539. Patricia Dempsey, editor Jennifer Behrens art director St. John’s College does not discriminate in appointments, conditions of employment, admissions, educational policy, financial aid programs, athletics, or other activities on the basis of race, religion, age, sex, national origin, color, disability and/or handicap, sexual orientation, or other characteristics protected by any applicable federal, state or local law.

secret enclave, something you get to by a hidden staircase found only on the 1784 blueprints. You expect dust and cobwebs and maybe bats,” said Paul Morrill, a 2010 graduate. Instead, students climb a narrow set of stairs to the “cupola room” and press a red button. After he rang the bell, Morrill adjusted his expectations. “Either while ringing it or some time soon after, you realized that the purity of that feeling would be tarnished by cobwebs or bats or magic. It couldn’t be any other way.” —Liam Dougherty (A11)

P.O. Box 2800 Annapolis, Maryland 21404

Thanks to Our Business Friends The following are Business Friends of St. John’s College. You may find their contact information on the college website: under Friends/Business Friends of Annapolis 1908-William Page Inn Bed & Breakfast Alexander and Cleaver Annapolis Economic Dev. Annapolis Inn at Royal Folly Annapolis Inn, The Annapolis Styling Group

Annapolis Volvo Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp. ARINC Art Things Board Assets Boatyard Bar & Grill City Dock Café & Coffee Service Comcast Dashew Inc. Doubletree Hotel Drexler and Associates Echoes and Accents Edsel Brown Jr. Advisors Fourth St. Design Studio Frank Gumpert Printing

Fred Fishback, Architect Gardiner & Appel Group Geoffrey S. Mitchell, LLC: Georgian House Bed and Breakfast Gibson Lodgings Grumps Café Harry Browne’s Restaurant Hilton Hotels/ Hampton Inn & Suites Holiday Inn Express and Suites Annapolis Hyatt and Weber, PA Insurance Solutions, Inc. Katcef Brothers Ken’s Creative Kitchen

Leeward Market Liu Liu Hair Salon Loews Annapolis Hotel Main Ingredient Catering Maria’s Picture Place McBride Gallery Mercedes of Annapolis Merry Walk Antiques M.T. Harpe Contractor/Builder Mullen Sondberg Wimbish & Stone O’Callaghan Hotel Orion, Inc. Paul’s Homewood Café Pewter Chalice PNC Post Haste Mailing

Redmark Economics Rising Tide RX Distribution Solutions Sheraton Annapolis Hotel Tilghman Jewelers Watergate Village Apts. Watermark Cruises, Tours Westin Annapolis Hotel Whitmore Printing Womanship Wood Ronsaville Harlin, Inc. Woodsback Marina Zindorf Heating & A/C Inc.

SJC Calendar of Events Winter 2010/11  

SJC Calendar of Events Winter 2010/11