Scott Buchanan and Stringfellow Barr did not cause the revolution in college education they desired when, 75 years ago, they brought what is called “The New Program” to St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md.
Overall, though, they did well. Their efforts saved the nearly bankrupt Annapolis St. John’s, led to a second St. John’s – the one in Santa Fe, now nearly 50 years old – and their “New Program” is the gold standard for those favoring reading books, sometimes difficult books. The full disclosure is that I attended the Santa Fe St. John’s the first three semesters it was open, did far too little of the work and decamped for the University of New Mexico.
While the Santa Fe St. John’s status as a significant New Mexico business is beside the point here, it should be mentioned. The numbers are about 175 employees, 450 students, an operating budget of around $30 million, plus being a draw for visitors from around the country, especially during summer.
Saying what St. John’s really does isn’t easy.