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Rowan Dorin '03

Assistant Professor of History, Stanford University. Rowan was the World Individual Public Speaking and Debating Champion and the Governor General’s Academic Medal recipient in 2003.

(Focus, Fall/Winter 2017-2018)
“I earned my undergraduate degree at Harvard, where I started off studying economics but ended up switching (quite unexpectedly) to history. I then won a scholarship to study at Cambridge University for a year, after which I returned to Harvard for my Ph.D. After two more years at Harvard on a postdoctoral fellowship, I moved to California and started a job at Stanford University as an assistant professor in the History Department – and that’s where I am now. I spend most of my time writing and teaching, so I’m eternally grateful to everyone who contributed to SJR’s speech and debate program (especially John Robinson), and also to teachers like Ray Grynol, Nancy Gillies ’76 and Wendy Owen, who really taught me how to write. And this might sound surprising, but the SJR Rock Show played a huge part in building my confidence as a performer in front of an audience – which definitely pays off for my lecture classes!”

What advice would you give to current students at SJR?

“University-bound graduates face a lot of pressure to get requirements out of their way during their first and second years, but I would really encourage them to carve out space to explore new and unfamiliar fields along the way. Teaching medieval history in the heart of Silicon Valley was definitely not on my expected life path when I graduated from SJR, but I love my job and wake up every day excited to go to work – so I’m really glad that my path went astray.”
St. John’s-Ravenscourt School was founded in 1820 principally to serve the children of the Selkirk settlers. By 1834 there were forty students, evenly split between boys and girls. SJR has inevitably grown and changed over the years since, though its success throughout has been unimpeachable. We have graduated 18 Rhodes scholars, for example, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II granted patronage and established a scholarship in her name in 1981. Today the programs are as strong as our reputation. A strong academic program is paired with an equally strong attention to the values of stewardship, ethical leadership, and excellence in all areas of academic, social and athletic life.