St. John's College, which has campuses in Santa Fe and Annapolis, has received a $50 million gift from Napa Valley winemaker Warren Winiarski and his wife, artist Barbara Winiarski, the Albuquerque Journal reports.
The gift was made as part of Freeing Minds: A Campaign for St. John's College, which is aimed at establishing a "philanthropy-centered" financial model that enables the college to reduce annual tuition costs for students by as much as 50 percent. To date, the college has raised more than $183 million toward its $300 million goal, including a pair of 2016 gifts totaling $50 million.
Awarded through the Winiarski Family Foundation, the challenge grant will match up to $50 million in other gifts to the campaign, enabling the college to reduce tuition from $52,000 to $35,000. According to the Albuquerque Journal, New Mexico residents who attend St. John's in Santa Fe will receive an additional grant of $10,000, effectively lowering their tuition to $25,000 a year.
Warren and Barbara Winiarski met while attending St. John's in Annapolis. Warren Winiarski, who graduated in 1952, is owner of Acadia Vineyards and founder of Stag's Leap Wine Cellars. Barbara Winiarski's paintings were published in the 2018 book Passages.
"There is a perception in our own community that St. John's is an elite, secluded college on a hill that is not an attainable option for New Mexico students," Mark Roosevelt, St. John's president and head of the Santa Fe campus, told the Albuquerque Journal. "And we want to change that. St. John's College is New Mexico's liberal arts college, and we have a responsibility to make college more affordable for students in our own backyard."
(Photo credit: St. John's College)