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The Word – April 2020

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Newsletters | 9 Apr 2020


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Dear *|FNAME|*,

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads throughout the world, we recognise that the whole St John’s community has been deeply affected by this crisis. We would like to bring you up to date with the College’s strategy for the remainder of semester 1 2020 following the tumultuous first few weeks. Please take the time to read an important update from our Chair of Council, John Coorey, and Rector, Adrian Diethelm, below.

On a lighter note, we were able to host some fantastic events, including the University Honours Dinner and Careers Networking Evening, which have brought the College community together. Read more about these events and gain access to the photo galleries below.

Most importantly, we hope everyone is staying safe and well.


New Chair of Council John Coorey

At its meeting on 12 March 2020 the Council of St John’s College elected Mr John Coorey as Chair of Council and Dr Bernadette Tobin AO GCSG as Deputy Chair.

Mr Coorey was nominated by Dr Tobin and Rev Dr Gerald Gleeson; Dr Tobin was nominated by Mr Coorey and Mr Matthew Gordon.  Both were elected unopposed.

John Coorey was educated at Waverley College and studied Arts and Law at Sydney University. John was in College from 1981 to 1983, serving as an Intercollegiate delegate and on House Committee, and actively involved in Rawson Cup sport, representing the College in athletics, cricket and rugby. John also represented the University in cricket and rugby and was Club Captain of Sydney University Football Club. John is a senior partner at the national law firm Sparke Helmore, where he has served in senior management roles including as Chairman of the firm. He was Deputy Chair of College Council from March 2019.


From the Rector and Chair of Council – 2 April 2020

To students, parents and families of St John’s College,

Over the last several days the College Council and staff have given much consideration to the best way forward for St John’s in the very difficult circumstances which pertain at the moment.  As we all know, a set of mandatory public health restrictions is now in place and seemingly being strengthened day by day.

From the outset of the emergency the College has acted in accordance with public health guidance in such matters as educating students about handwashing and hygiene, stepping up cleaning, reducing and distancing seating in the Hall, and other precautions. St John’s has been in contact with the University and the other colleges throughout this period to understand and learn from their responses also.

In view of the rapidly developing health situation, on 23 March the College recommended that students who could return home should do so, but that those with a good reason to be in College would be permitted to stay.  In the days following the number in residence fell to 60 students.

There is no indication at this time that the pandemic is abating, and the public health advice continues to be that reducing physical contact between people to the greatest extent possible is the best way of minimising the risk of infection.

In these circumstances College Council has taken the difficult decision to close the College campus to students from midday on next Wednesday 8 April 2020 for the remainder of semester 1 2020. Council was reluctant to take this drastic step but it has become apparent that this is the safest and proper course to take in our particular circumstances.

Celebrating academic success at the University Honours Dinner

On Monday 9 March, the College celebrated the 2019 academic achievements of past and present students at the annual University Honours Dinner.

Special guests in attendance included Council Members, past students who had graduated with honours in 2019 and College staff. Guests were entertained on arrival with a piano performance by current student, Sarah Lee, during pre-dinner drinks.

The procession into the Hall was accompanied by a performance of Fanfare by students Samuel Hannan on trumpet and Nick Davies on clarinet. Guests were also entertained with a musical performance by current students, Xavier Lynch and Chelsea Hardiman, during the evening.

The Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Ms Belinda Hutchinson AM, was the guest of honour who presented awards to numerous of past and present students in recognition of their contribution to different aspects of College life as well as their academic achiecements. The full program and the list of award winners can be viewed here.

View our photo gallery to relive the University Honours Dinner.

Careers Networking Evening: A Success

The College held its second Careers Networking Evening on Tuesday 3 March and it was a massive success.

This time, the Advisers were sourced from our alumni base who graduated within the past five years, who were able to share their experiences of post-graduate studies, establishing their careers, gaining internships whilst studying as well as tips to remember when developing their resumes.

The Advisers represented a wide range of industries providing our students with a broad depth of knowledge. Click here, or the button below, to view our gallery from the evening.

Providing our students opportunities to help establish their careers is a strong focus of the College. We intend to hold a Careers Networking Evening each semester for students and alumni to meet and connect with each other. Be sure to keep an eye out for details of our next event in your inbox.

Do you have news to share?

The college would love to share news of what the alumni are up to with the rest of the St John’s community, so if you have any news please email it through to

If you are organising a reunion make sure to contact the College to let us know.


Our mailing address is:

St John’s College within the University of Sydney

10 Missenden Road, Camperdown
Sydney, NSW, 2050

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