Fostering Independent Thinking

Books By Johnnies Amplifies Voices into “The Great Conversation”

With its devotion to great books, Socratic dialogue, and affordable tuition for all, St. John’s College is a rare holdout against troubling trends in American higher education. In 2022, Creative Santa Fe entered into a collaboration with the college to collect and showcase its contributions to “the great conversation”—a 3,000-year exchange between writers, philosophers, poets, musicians, mathematicians, scientists, and scholars that continues to this day.

Students and faculty at St. John’s gather around wooden tables to ask and answer difficult questions. The subject of their conversations are some 200 original works by authors like Plato, Einstein, Wittgenstein, and Woolf — brilliant thinkers whose ideas have shaped our civilization. As they engage with these timeless texts, the students and faculty of St. John’s have been making their own meaningful contributions to the world of ideas, which are sometimes overlooked under the long shadow cast by the iconic works in the college’s curriculum.

CrSF is proud to be collaborating with St. John’s College, which shares our values of diversity and inclusivity. International students comprise a significant ~20% of currently enrolled “Johnnies,” bringing a diversity of perspectives from the 25 countries they represent. In 2018, the college slashed its Ivy-level tuition by $17,000, making it now one of the most affordable private liberal arts colleges in the US.

As more and more students from diverse economic and cultural backgrounds gain access to the school’s unique curriculum and culture, we’re confident they will bring valuable voices to the great conversation.

CrSF’s Contribution

CrSF raised the visibility and accessibility of books authored by St. John’s alumni and faculty by designing and building a virtual platform, “Books by Johnnies”. The platform exists as a micro-site nested within the main college website at, and contains an embedded submission form accessible to all St. John’s alumni and faculty. Books by Johnnies is an ever growing database featuring books like Homeric Moments: Clues to Delight in Reading the Odyssey and The Iliad (Eva Brann, professor & National Humanities Scholar), Do You Know Who You Are? Reading the Buddha’s Discourses (Krishnan Venkatesh, faculty), The End: A Novel (Salvatore Scibona, alumnus & National Book Award nominee), among many more.

To increase engagement within the St. John’s community about Books By Johnnies, CrSF provided an announcement featured in the SJC alumni magazine. Books by Johnnies will launch February 2024.