St. John's University is the successor institution of the former St. John's University and St. Mary's Hall in Shanghai, two well-known education institutions founded in 1879 and 1918, respectively, by Bishop John Schereschewsky of the American Episcopal Church. The distinguished alumni of these two excellent schools have made remarkable contributions to the world and to society, including working to restore their schools' legacy on Taiwan.
In 1952, St. John's University in Shanghai was forced to give up its name and merge with other universities. In response to the loss of the school's identity, a group of distinguished alumni in Taiwan resolved to restore their alma mater in Taipei. In 1961, with the approval of the American Episcopal Church in Taiwan, the alumni of St. John's University, in conjunction with the alumnae of the former St. Mary's Hall of Shanghai, enthusiastically donated money to purchase land in the town of Tamsui in Taipei County for the school campus.
In 1967, The Ministry of Education authorized the school to open as a five-year junior college of Industry and named it after its location, Hsin-pu(新埔). Nonetheless, its English name--St. John's & St. Mary's Institute of Technology--continued to honor the history and traditions of the alumni's two illustrious alma maters. In 1993, the school was accredited as an Institute of Business and Industry; and then, because of its excellent educational reputation, upgraded its status to an Institute of Technology in 1999. After decades of work to fulfill the aspirations of its alumni at home and abroad, the school's official Chinese name was changed on October 10, 2003, from Hsinpu Institute of Technology(新埔技術學院) to St. John's & St. Mary's Institute of Technology(聖約翰技術學院). On August 1, 2005, after constant and collective efforts, the school was officially upgraded to a University of Science and Technology, and was able to restore its original school name, St. John's University (SJU).
The founder of the school was Dr. James C. L. Wong, the first Chinese Bishop of the Taiwan Episcopal Church. Dr. Vivien Yen was the school's first president, and Bishop James C. L. Wong was its first board chairman. The succeeding chairpersons have been Dr. George K. C. Yeh( Acting Chair); Bishop James T. M. Pong; and, since 1972, Dr. Cecilia Koo. Past presidents, in addition to Dr. Yen, were Bishop James Pong, Professor William Yue-Jen Hsia, Dr. Yeh Chi-Tung, Dr. Andrew C. Chang and Dr. Peter Tuen-Ho Yang. Dr. Jean-Lien Chen, and Dr. HerChang Ay has served as president since August 1, 2016.
Through every period of stewardship, from the first chairperson of the preparatory committee, Dr. Vivien Yen, to the present chairperson of the board of trustees, Dr. Cecilia Koo; and under the leadership of all of the school's presidents, St. John's University has always had at its heart the spirit of the Episcopal Church. It has inherited the core values of the former St. John's University and St. Mary's Hall in Shanghai, which has inspired the school's distinguished academic and ethics programs, rich student life, and outstanding religious activities. The school motto--Talent serves virtue, Learning serves society (德以輔才，學以致用)--expresses the university's deep commitment to providing a well-rounded education and to nurturing exceptionally qualified professionals who have high ethical standards and humanitarian values.