SANTA FE – Antioch College President Mark Roosevelt will replace Michael P. Peters as president of St. John’s College.
Peters, who is stepping down after 10 years at St. John’s, gave the commencement address to graduates over the weekend. That’s also when Roosevelt was announced as his replacement.
In a message on the Antioch College website, Roosevelt wrote that his goal was to “live in a smallish city in a sunny clime in the western part of the country, preferably New Mexico, where we lived for five blissful months before heading to Pittsburgh in 2005.”
Referring to St. John’s Great Books curriculum, Roosevelt wrote that, “If you know me well, you know that I have trouble keeping my nose out of books. And if you know me really well, you know that my nose is also allergic to everything in the air in southwest Ohio. I’m hoping the high-desert air in the American southwest will go easier on me.”
Roosevelt makes no mention of becoming a potential victim of juniper and the other allergens that plague New Mexicans.
Perry Learner, chief of the St. John’s Board of Visitors and Governors, said in a news release from St. John’s that Roosevelt received overwhelming support from the faculty, staff and board. “Mr. Roosevelt’s proven commitment to excellence will further strengthen St. John’s unique place in American higher education,” Learner said.
Since January 2011, Roosevelt has been president of Antioch, in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he has raised more than $80 million for the innovative liberal arts college, also increasing its environmental sustainability.
From 2005 to 2010, Roosevelt was superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools; in 2007, he founded a program that raised more than $185 million for scholarships to Pittsburgh students who met certain academic criteria. More than 5,000 students benefited from that program.
He previously had served in the Massachusetts Legislature and in 1994 was the Democratic nominee for governor in that state. He received his bachelor’s and law degrees from Harvard University. He is the great-grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt.