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Christopher B. Nelson

Some educators are beginning to worry that the wired generation is going to give up serious reading altogether. Judging from our experience here at St. John’s, the future of reading is not at risk. Our...

A good slogan, whether it’s comical or serious, catches your attention. Slogans satisfy our innate desire for simplicity and pith. Sometimes they even rhyme, which implants them deeply...

Settling in to college life this fall, students seem to be following a drumbeat toward practical majors. An all-time high percentage of respondents to UCLA's annual survey of incoming college freshmen said that...

Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Christopher Nelson as he considers whom we should hold as heroes, worthy of emulation. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher

The study of mathematics here at St. John’s begins with Euclid’s Elements, the wonderfully inventive book that takes us from the simplest beginnings of geometry to the highly complicated construction of...

As the president of an American college with a distinctive approach to liberal learning, I have watched from afar with great interest as curiosity has grown in Europe about liberal, as opposed to specialized, higher...
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I have been reminiscing a lot lately, probably a sign of my age. But I recently came to recall an episode in my earlier life before I returned to St. John’s College as...

Welcome to St. John’s College. To our returning students, faculty and staff, welcome back. To our freshmen and their families, we are very happy to have you joining us. In the next few days, you...
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Now that school is back in session, I will shortly be resuming a study group that began last year on Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans. I thought I might say just two...

The aim of liberal education is to help people become free. It tries to educate people who are free to search out knowledge on their own, people who are not dependent on others to tell...

War endures. The oldest Babylonian tablets mark battles fought, both defensive and offensive, as does the Epic of Gilgamesh, the west’s oldest complete literary work. And the...

Recently there has been a lot of buzz about a young CEO in Seattle who gave raises to all of his employees. Huge raises. In fact, taking a huge cut against his own nearly million-dollar salary, Dan Price...

Congratulations to graduates in the Class of 2015. Graduating high-school students often ask me how college will differ from high school. And what I say usually seems to come as a surprise: In college, you should start...

After more than a decade of “No Child Left Behind”* (NCLB)—the 2001 Act of Congress that was supposed “to close the achievement gap with accountability, flexibility, and choice”—it has clearly failed. Congress is busily engaged in efforts to...