Christopher Nelson

About Christopher Nelson

Christopher B. Nelson is a Senior Contributor to The Imaginative Conservative. He was the President of St. John's College in Annapolis (1991-2017). St. John's College is devoted to liberal education. Students and faculty engage directly—not through textbooks and lectures but through study and discussion—with original texts and ideas that are the foundation of Western thought.

Fit for the World

By |2019-06-06T02:33:40-05:00May 5th, 2019|Categories: Antigone, Apology, Christopher B. Nelson, Essential, Great Books, Humanities, Liberal Learning, Plato, Socrates, St. John's College|

  The mysteries of the human heart, and of the soul within you, are every bit as wondrous as the mysteries of the political and the natural worlds. And so you have asked questions of the world, in part because it is your nature to wish to know, in part because you wish to [...]

On Being Eva

By |2019-01-20T22:17:37-06:00January 21st, 2019|Categories: Christopher B. Nelson, Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Jacob Klein, St. John's College|

Eva Brann seems to have a refreshing effect on all who meet her. This must have something to do with her openness to the world in all its manifestations, her spritely and generous spirit, her mischievous love of play, and her gift of friendship. Today, she still looks like she is experiencing a giddy delight [...]

Music of the Republic

By |2018-07-13T22:00:54-05:00July 8th, 2018|Categories: Christopher B. Nelson, Classics, Great Books, Liberal Learning, Music, Plato, St. John's College, Timeless Essays, Virtue|

Music pervades our lives and always has. It has taken you outside of yourselves and taken you deep within. It has been associated with things divine… Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Christopher Nelson as he explores the music of the Republic of the United States [...]

What Is Unique About St. John’s College?

By |2019-06-10T15:45:29-05:00July 27th, 2017|Categories: Christopher B. Nelson, Classical Education, Great Books, Liberal Learning, Senior Contributors, St. John's College|

Join The Imaginative Conservative's Winston Elliott as he talks with Christopher Nelson, president of St. John's College, about his service at St John’s, and about the unique kind of liberal arts education offered there. President Nelson discusses the mission of St. John's College, the role of the Great Books in their classes, and explains the [...]

Fit for the World

By |2019-04-30T14:51:00-05:00May 22nd, 2017|Categories: Antigone, Apology, Christopher B. Nelson, Great Books, Humanities, Liberal Arts, Liberal Learning, Plato, Socrates, St. John's College|

Your world needs you; it needs your desire to understand it, your openness to what it has to teach you, your acceptance of its imperfections, and your sincere wish and best efforts to be useful to it because you care for it as it has cared for you, however unconscious that care may have [...]

The Pursuit of Happiness

By |2019-08-27T16:40:50-05:00December 19th, 2016|Categories: Classical Education, Featured, Happiness, Liberal Learning, St. John's College|

A free mind is necessary for our personal happiness, for living a good life, the life suited to our nature... Fifty years ago I shook the hand of our president, signed the College Register, and sat where you freshmen are sitting today, awaiting the happy start of a four-year adventure into the books and conversation [...]

Is the Future of Reading at Risk?

By |2020-03-05T18:52:50-06:00April 20th, 2016|Categories: Christopher B. Nelson, Featured, Liberal Learning, Modernity, St. John's College, Technology|

Some educators are beginning to worry that the wired generation is going to give up serious reading altogether. Judging from our experience here at St. John’s, the future of reading is not at risk. Our students prove every day that it’s perfectly possible to be fully plugged in and at the same time to [...]

Slogans: Belief without Thought

By |2019-09-05T10:42:20-05:00April 6th, 2016|Categories: Christopher B. Nelson, Education, Featured, Great Books, Liberal Learning, Socrates, St. John's College|

A good slogan, whether it’s comical or serious, catches your attention. Slogans satisfy our innate desire for simplicity and pith. Sometimes they even rhyme, which implants them deeply into our minds—rhyme and music being powerful aids to memory. (Remember the rhyme “Thirty days hath September, / April, June, and November”? How could you forget [...]

Warren Buffett and Liberal Education

By |2016-04-19T17:24:22-05:00March 22nd, 2016|Categories: Christopher B. Nelson, Education, Featured, Liberal Learning, St. John's College|

Settling in to college life this fall, students seem to be following a drumbeat toward practical majors. An all-time high percentage of respondents to UCLA’s annual survey of incoming college freshmen said that they are attending college in order to get a better job, make more money, and become well off financially.* Business is [...]

The Imitation of Heroes

By |2016-04-07T10:38:06-05:00March 14th, 2016|Categories: Christopher B. Nelson, Classical Education, Classics, Featured, Liberal Learning, Phaedo, Plato, Socrates, St. John's College, Timeless Essays|

Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Christopher Nelson as he considers whom we should hold as heroes, worthy of emulation. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher Imitation, like so many time-tested educational activities, took a big hit during the twentieth century. The history of the desire to create autonomously [...]

The Elements: The Key to Understanding the Cosmos

By |2018-12-18T17:11:48-06:00March 3rd, 2016|Categories: Christopher B. Nelson, Education, Featured, Iliad, Mathematics, Plato, St. John's College|

The study of mathematics here at St. John’s begins with Euclid’s Elements, the wonderfully inventive book that takes us from the simplest beginnings of geometry to the highly complicated construction of five Platonic solids. Studying Euclid engages us in an activity that brings geometrical objects into being even as we recognize them for what [...]

Why Liberal Education in a Capitalist Society?

By |2019-08-08T12:21:03-05:00February 17th, 2016|Categories: Christopher B. Nelson, Classical Education, Classical Learning, Education, Featured, Imagination, Liberal Learning, St. John's College|

As the president of an American college with a distinctive approach to liberal learning, I have watched from afar with great interest as curiosity has grown in Europe about liberal, as opposed to specialized, higher education. That curiosity has now culminated in this gathering, where we are sharing our thoughts about grounding an education [...]

Car Repair, Self-Interest, & the Benevolent Investor

By |2016-03-26T13:04:21-05:00February 11th, 2016|Categories: Adam Smith, Alexis de Tocqueville, Christopher B. Nelson, Happiness, Liberal Learning, St. John's College|

I have been reminiscing a lot lately, probably a sign of my age. But I recently came to recall an episode in my earlier life before I returned to St. John’s College as its president more than twenty years ago, when my second son announced: “Dad, I’m willing to talk with you about my [...]

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