Fonds UBCA-ARC-1535 - St. John’s College UBC fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

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St. John’s College UBC fonds

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  • Multiple media

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the provenance of the fonds.
  • Parallel titles and other title information: Previously known as the Johanneans Fonds.

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Physical description

1.85m of textual records and other material.

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Administrative history

St. John's College UBC is a graduate residential college for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting scholars worldwide who study and teach at British Columbia. St. John's College was founded in 1997 by a joint venture agreement between The Johanneans' Educational Foundation and UBC. St. John's University was once one of China's most prestigious and influential universities before the institution was forcibly closed down in 1952 following the communist revolution. Symbolically, the College is next to the Pacific Ocean facing Asia. The First Principle of the new St. John's College, Grant Ingram, took office in August 1997. St. John's College seeks to inspire a global vision and foster a community spirit among its residents and alumni through multicultural education, intercultural understanding and international exchange. The College is committed to enriching the intercultural and cultural life of the University, as well as welcoming and engaging with off-campus communities. Furthermore, it strives to embody academic excellence and public service traditions inherited from its founders, St. John's University Shanghai alumni.
St. John's University was established in 1879 as "St. John's College" by Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky, the Anglican Bishop of Shanghai, by combining two preexisting Anglican colleges. In 1879, St. John's began teaching 39 students, mainly in Chinese. Subsequently, more college courses were offered. In 1896, St. John's was reformed; and in 1905, it was granted university status and started to confer bachelor's degrees. Gradually, the number of registered students began to expand, and various schools were established, including arts, science, medicine, and theology. In 1913, a graduate-level school was founded. The University began to accept female students in 1936.
St. John's University was one of the 14 renowned universities established in China before founding the People's Republic of China. Up until 1947, the University was approved to register with the then Chinese government. St. John's, combined with three other schools -- Shanghai University, Soo Chow University and Hangchow Christian College – formed Shanghai United Christian University on August 13, 1937. St. John's University gained an international reputation as one of the most prestigious universities in China. The University was famously known as "the cradle of diplomats in China" or even "Harvard in the Far East." St. John's became independent from the American Anglican Church in 1952. In the same year, the Ministry of Education in China reconstructed the departments and faculties of St. John's University. The journalism program was incorporated into Fudan University, architecture into Tongji University, economics into the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, politics into the East China University of Politics and Law, Chinese language and culture into East China Normal University, and the medical school into Shanghai No. 2 Medical University, which became the School of Medicine at Shanghai Jiaotong University in 2005. Thus, St. John's University became history. The initial English motto of St. John's is "Light and Truth." However, the Chinese slogan, originated from Confucius, is "Learning without thinking is labour lost, thinking without learning is perilous." Both mottos are incorporated into the emblem of the former University.
During the first world reunion of St. John's alumni – or Johanneans – in 1988, they promised to uphold the spirit of St. John's by starting new educational enterprises and, if possible, restoring St. John's University, their alma mater. Therefore, this vision led to the founding of the Xinpu Institute of Technology in Taiwan, subsequently renamed St. John's University of Science and Technology, which gradually became a comprehensive university. This view also motivated St. John's College at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver in 1997.

Custodial history

St. John’s College received the materials from the Johanneans. One of the Johanneans, Dr. Chih Hsu, was helping to collect materials from the Johanneans all over the world. The oral histories in the collection were interviewed by Aaron Tam, a former St. John’s College resident who is also the grandson of a Johannean. The two artifacts from Taiwan's St. John's University were received in August 2012. Most of the artifacts were donated by Dr. Chih Hsu. Currently, the Johanneans archives room is receiving new acquisitions on a monthly basis.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records reflecting the Johanneans’ activities, ultimately spanning approximately from 1879 to current, predominant 1990 to 2015. These records are arranged in roughly chronological order. Textual records in the collection primarily consist of books, journals, magazines, newsletters, newspaper clippings, rosters, materials pertaining to St. Mary’s, materials to the St. John’s College principals, and unbound materials.The collection is arranged into the following nineteen series: newsletters, journals, artifacts, stamps, magazines, world reunions, tickets, St. John’s College, rosters, CDs, DVDs, multimedia materials, photographs, negatives, St. John’s & St. Mary’s Institute of Technology, St. John’s College principals, Shanghai archives, unbound materials and books.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The majority of the fonds (Boxes 1-5, 8-10, 12, 13, 19-21) was transferred to the University Archives in September 2015. The remainder (primarily artifacts, photographs, and digital media) remains at St. John's College UBC.


The documents were received in no specific order. When possible, textual records have been arranged in chronological order.

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  • Chinese
  • English

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Finding aids

Online finding aid
Please see the finding aid for an inventory of files.

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Further accruals are expected.

Physical description

Other material includes ca. 13 CDs, ca. 42 DVDs, ca. 3 VHS, ca. 756 photographs, ca. 40 objects, 3 stamps, ephemera and published materials (including ca. 111 books)

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