It was a delight for Christian leaders from all over the city to meet and have breakfast with Dianne Willcocks the Vice Chancellor of St John’s University.
York St John became St John’s University, York in 2006 and appointed its first Chancellor Archbishop Sentamu the following year.
St John’s is a Church of England university which describes itself as a friendly community with a Christian ethos. Founded originally in 1841 SJU prides itself in that two thirds of students are from the region. It has around 1800 graduates per annum.
The University operates around four faculties, the Faculties of Arts, Education and Theology, Business and Communications and Health and Life Sciences. Of these it is in Theology where the fasted growth is currently being seen, with 10% of students working in this area. The department has a specialism in ‘theology in the public arena’.
The Vice Chancellor sees social justice as a priority in the University and in recent years a focus on carbon reduction has also been significant.
The University is very concerned with developing and supporting students and has a long tradition of welcoming international students. With a successful exchange program and working in nation building, St John’s has strong links with European Countries, China, Japan, South Korea, Bahrain, Pakistan, Kenya other African states, the USA and Canada.
The relationship with Japan is very special to the University and in 2005 they received the gift of a Peace Tree from Hiroshima, and now a tranquil Japanese peace garden is a feature of the campus.
The Vice Chancellor said that she had sought to keep in balance the traditions as a worshipping community and a prophetic and learning community.
Chaplaincy operates on the campus and the new David Hope R.E. centre has been an addition to the facilities.
The recently added buildings have improved the appearance of the campus and have won a 2009 RIBA design award.
It’s mission is not to promote Christianity but to promote education. The Ethics Committee seeks to reflect Christianity through behaviour and values
Dianne asked us to pray for the University and for all public institutions which are about to face real cuts in funding.