St. John’s College UBC is a graduate residential college for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting scholars from around the world who study and teach at the University of British Columbia. St. John’s College was founded in 1997 by a joint venture agreement between The Johanneans’ Educational Foundation and UBC in memory of the original St. John’s University, which was once one of China’s most prestigious and influential universities before the institution was forcibly closed down in 1952 following the successful 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 spirit of community 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. It strives to embody the traditions of academic excellence and public service inherited from its founders, the alumni of St. John’s University Shanghai.
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 with 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 started 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 the founding of 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 – and 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’sUniversity became history. The initial English motto of St. John's is "Light and Truth." However, the Chinese motto, originated from Confucius, is "Learning without thinking is labor 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, restore St. John’s University, their alma mater. Therefore, this vision led to the founding of the Xinpu Institute of Technology in Taiwan, subsequently renamed as St. John's University of Science and Technology, which gradually become a comprehensive university. This view also motivated the establishment of St. John's College at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver in 1997. The Johanneans continue to contribute to society from all walks of life.