Commencement in Annapolis


This past Sunday, May 15th, the Annapolis campus held its commencement ceremonies. While commencement is always an exciting day, it’s also bittersweet for the seniors, and for the staff and faculty as well. We’re proud to see them receive their diplomas, but we’re sad to see them go!

This year was also marks president Christopher Nelson’s last year presiding over the ceremonies. Nelson has been president of the Annapolis campus for  twenty-six years, and graduated from the Santa Fe campus in 1970.

Each year the seniors choose the commencement speaker, and this year President Nelson was asked to speak at both campuses. The Santa Fe Commencement–the 50th for the Santa Fe campus!–will be held this coming weekend.

President Nelson was accompanied at the Annapolis commencement by Panayiotis Kanelos, who will become the Annapolis campus president on July 1st.

the annapolis presidents
Incoming president Panayiotis Kanelos (left) and current president Chris Nelson walk together during the processional

As is tradition, prizes were awarded to students  in a host of different categories. Examples include awards for an original music composition, for an original solution to an analytical mathematics problem posed by the prize committee, for the best work of visual art, and for outstanding contributions to the St. John’s athletic program.


mifield receiving prize
Minfei Xu receives the prize for “the most elegant solution of a synthetic problem”
Sophie with prize
Sihui Ma received a prize for her senior essay


Sihui Ma received a prize for her senior essay “The Probability Function in Quantum Mechanics: A Formal Cause Beyond Space and Time,” –you can read her essay by clicking on the title. In quintessential Johnnie fashion, Ma holds several academic interests, and while her senior essay was on Physics, she will be continuing her education next year at Cornell Law School. Several grants from St. John’s have helped her explore her varied interests over the last four years–you can read more here.

Graduating senior Ambrose Donnelly on his way to receive his diploma




This was the first commencement I have attended other than my own, and it was amazing to see the joy and pride on the faces of the graduates and their families, as well as the assembled faculty.

It was also my first commencement as an admissions counselor, and as I cheered for the class of 2017 I couldn’t help but imagine the class of 2021 taking that same journey across the stage four years from now.

And that could include you! It’s not too late to apply to start your journey at St. John’s this coming August, and become part of our 229th commencement ceremony in 2021!

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