Background and Origins


John XXIII College has been owned by the Dominican Friars since the College’s foundation in 1967. From that date till 2000, all Heads of College were Dominican priests and the College was run as a ministry of the Dominican Order. Today, Dominican members of the College Company appoint the Board to which the Head of College now reports. Despite the departure of the friars from the day to day running of the College, the Dominican ethos is strongly present and the Four Pillars of the Dominican charism (Community, Spirituality, Learning and Service) inform the College’s daily administration. Father Laurie Foote OP is the Resident College Chaplain. Father Laurie is also the Catholic Chaplain at the ANU.

The Dominicans’ presence at the Australian National University has a distinguished lineage, with the first ANU Catholic chaplain being a 1958 Dominican appointment. St Dominic himself stipulated that no Dominican priory was to be built without a professor. Having established the order in 1215, by 1229, Dominic had acquired a Chair of Theology in Paris and later in 1248, acquired a Chair in Theology at Oxford. At Australian universities, the Dominican colleges have included Mannix College (Monash University), St. Albert’s College (University of New England), and John XXIII College at the ANU; the only university college still owned by the Dominicans in Australia.

The College is named for Angelo Roncalli, Pope John XXIII. John XXIII made an extraordinary contribution to a new age in the Catholic Church. A man of humility and evangelical simplicity, he was widely travelled and cultured in the arts, languages and history, but is best remembered for his calling the Second Vatican Council.

We are proud to be named after such an extraordinary man, Pope from 1958 till his death in 1963.

The College’s primary aim is to provide accommodation for students studying at the ANU, in an environment which provides support and encouragement such that they graduate with a balanced outlook on life consistent with the values expressed in the Gospels and by the Dominican Order.


John XXIII College is a Catholic Collegiate community in the Dominican tradition, inspired by the values of intellectual excellence, community life, mission inspired living and personal spirituality.  John XXIII College students will be inspired to be reflective learners and compassionate leaders, able to think globally and equipped to contribute to the wider society and the world.

In seeking to achieve its vision, John XXIII College strives to be:

  • A Community of Learning
  • A Community of Care
  • A Community of Service
  • A Community of Faith, Hope and Love

Dominican Charism

The four pillars of the Dominican Charism underpin the life of the College and its Residents strive to bring them to balance in their own lives. The four pillars are as follows:

  • Learning: At John XXIII College there is a commitment to an expansive learning experience that centres on the academic and includes the social, sporting and cultural spheres. The Dominican intellectual tradition knows no limits and resists the temptation for absolutes and this is also so within the College.
  • Community: Individual freedom tempered by responsibility to self and others are the key ingredients in building the John XXIII College community. As relationships deepen, trust grows and confidence develops – individuals within the community, and the community itself, grow and develop.
  • Service: Reaching out in service is an opportunity to be changed by being with others. It widens horizons – nothing can ever be seen as it was before and at John XXIII College there is a commitment to, and creation of, opportunity for growth through service.
  • Spirituality: What people do and say is born out of what they believe – each member of the John XXIII College community is encouraged to explore and deepen their belief systems.

College Mission

The Mission of John XXIII College, a College affiliated with the ANU, is to give its Residents an opportunity to experience personal growth in a supportive academic environment in which they can flourish in their pursuit of learning. Through academic, cultural, social and sporting opportunities each student will be empowered to make wise life choices so that they can achieve their full potential.

This mission is supported by providing:

  • A dynamic College experience: living and learning in a safe, high-quality environment focused on academic excellence.
  • Opportunities for personal growth via a range of academic, cultural, social and sporting activities.
  • A caring community in the Catholic faith tradition.
  • Resources for activities that encourage spiritual, faith-based and service focused growth.
  • A student centred environment in which to live while studying at the ANU.

Logo & Motto

The motto “Veritas Vi Veritatis” reflects St Dominic’s attachment to the truth translating roughly to “Truth by the force of its truthfulness (will conquer)” or more briefly “The truth will conquer”.

In 2011, in line with the College’s 5 year strategic plan the College underwent a rebranding so that it could present a unified and cohesive presence in the community. As part of the rebranding the College’s long standing shield has updated to give it a more modern feel; however the new shield contains all of the imagery of the original shield.

          02 johnxxiiicollege_logo_colour                       Sheild Only Transparent Backgroup

The heraldic shield of John XXIII College combines elements symbolising the Dominican Order, ANU and Pope John XXIII:

  • The black-and-white cross (central bottom half) and fleur-de-lis (either side of the castle) are icons of the Dominican Order;
  • The blue and white striped lines (bottom left corner) representing Sullivan’s Creek (adjacent to the College) and the original colours of ANU;
  • The red and white striped lines (bottom right corner) and the castle (central top half) are part of the Papal Crest of Pope John XXIII, the College’s namesake.

Masters (Heads of College)

Originally, the Dominican Fathers filled the roles of Master (Head of College) provided academic, pastoral, spiritual and moral support to thousands of university students. Through their vision, leadership and management the Fathers guided the College for 31 years, while also governing as the University Chaplain.

During its history there has been six Dominican Fathers who have served as Masters (Heads) of the College, these were:

  • Fr. Thomas Hegarty (1969-1977)
  • Fr. Thomas Fitzgerald (1978-1981)
  • Fr. Paul Jackson (1981-1987)
  • Fr. Lawrence Fitzgerald (1988-1990)
  • Fr. Ian Waite (1990-1996)
  • Fr. Colin Fowler (1996-2000)

At the end of 2000 the shortage of suitable priests in the Dominican Order saw the position of Master of the College passed onto lay Masters – Heads of College:

  • Mr. Ken Evenden (2001 – 2007)
  • Mr. Sean Brito-Babapulle (2008 – 2011)
  • Mr. Stephen Foley (2012 – 2014)
  • Mr. Damien McCartin (2014 – 2015)
  • Mr. Geoff Johnston (2015 – Present)