St. John's new principal aims for light and truth

When St. John's College welcomes its first 32 resident scholars from around the world this September, Grant Ingram is determined to see it follows in the spirit of `light and truth' that was the motto of its namesake in Shanghai, China.

And as principal, he expects its residents will play an important role in shaping the direction the college's programs take.

Ingram intends to encourage each member of the college to contribute their unique cultural and intellectual talents within an atmosphere conducive for the exchange of ideas and values.

"Everyone will be made to feel welcome," he says.

The graduate college will build links between different parts of the world by hosting workshops, think tanks, seminars and conferences focusing on international issues.

Ingram, a popular teacher, mentor and seasoned administrator from McGill University, envisions academic exchanges that focus on topics with international scope, such as global change, global economics, health and education issues.

St. John's College is modeled after the renowned St. John's University in Shanghai, which produced world leaders in many disciplines until it closed in 1952.

"We will foster a similar world-mindedness here," says Ingram.

A noted expert on northern and Arctic marine environments, Ingram has himself seen the results to be gained from international cooperation and collaboration, working closely with colleagues from Japan, the U.S., Russia, and Northern Europe to name a few.

Ingram was formerly president of Groupe Interuniversitaire de Recherches Océanographiques du Québec, a large, multidisciplinary research centre.

When the federal government asked him to serve as commissioner for the environmental and social impact review of the Quebec's Great Whale River hydroelectric project, Ingram helped build consensus among stakeholders.

Frieda Granot, dean of Graduate Studies, says he's just the person to foster a sense of community and world-mindedness at St. John's.

"We needed someone who could develop a unique rapport with students from diverse academic and cultural backgrounds."

The second graduate residence to be founded at the university, St. John's College follows the success of Green College, which opened in 1992 with a mission to foster interdisciplinary scholarship.

By September 1999, 120 years after its namesake was founded, St. John's College will house an international community of 170 scholars.

Ingram will also hold an appointment with the Dept. of Earth and Ocean Sciences where he plans to continue his research into polynyas--high-latitude ocean areas with open water or reduced sea ice cover and high biological productivity in late winter and spring.