Music performance

How has time shaped 

St. John's?

Since 1912

Established by the Anglican Church over a century ago, St. John's College was the first residential hall of the University of Hong Kong. While the campus has evolved over time, its history of nurturing virtuous leaders who serve wider society continues to be the College's mission.

As Bishop R. O. HALL, one of the College’s earliest advocates, wrote in 1965 –

Our concern here on this hillside must be always to ensure that graduate members of the University have been infected in their undergraduate days, by tone, temper, and practice, of a faculty with a deep and humane concern for mankind.

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Once an Anglican mission hostel attached to HKU


St. John's Hall was established by the Church Missionary Society in 1912 as an Anglican mission hostel attached to HKU, located at the present site of St. Paul's College in Bonham Road. It was the first and only hostel available for student accommodation when HKU opened.

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St. Stephen’s Hall residents


With the admission of the first group of female undergraduates, the Church Missionary Society established St. Stephen’s Hall in 1922 as HKU’s first women hostel. It was operated by St. Stephen’s Girls’ College in the area of Babington Path.

West Wing of St. John’s Hall


St. Stephen’s Hall has been facing various difficulties, including financial hardship, uncertain lease tenure and lack of space. On the other hand, the hostel places' availability for HKU’s female students has been inadequate.

Therefore, the Women’s University Hostel Organising Committee is formed under the auspices of St. Stephen’s Hall to raise funds for building a permanent women’s hostel.

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St. Johnians in cocktail attire


The roaring thirties saw the blossoming of student life in both Halls. Residents of different nationalities were encouraged to live a communal life and take part in various games and activities. With the addition of a chapel, St. John’s Hall became the religious centre of HKU.

St. Stephen’s Hall in Babington Path


The Church Missionary Society acquires 13 and 15 Babington Path as the permanent site of St. Stephen’s Hall.

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St. John’s Hall after the war


The Halls were closed during the Japanese occupation in 1941-45 and endured substantial looting. Four St. Johnians gave their lives for the protection of homeland; many others fought, served and suffered during the war. The Halls reopened in 1947 following an arduous period of rehabilitation.

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St. John’s College residents


The pre-war relocation plan was realised in 1955 with the completion of the Marden Wing. St. John’s and St. Stephen’s Halls amalgamated and became HKU’s first coeducational residence, St. John’s College.

The idea of a College embodies the vision of a self-governing institution providing not just accommodation, but also a place for learning and character formation.

Construction of the Marden Wing


Foundation stone of the Marden Wing was laid and the construction was completed in the following year. 

Historic visit from Archbishop


The Archbishop of Canterbury visited the College

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Capturing the Malayan Cup


Having won the Malayan Cup for the first time in 1960, sports grew to become the focus of College life. In order to build up morale, "Viva St. John’s" was introduced as the College Song, and which is still sung by St. Johnians till this day.

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New Wing under construction


The Aw Boon Haw Wing and Liang Chi Hao Centre were completed in 1979, expanding the College’s residential capacity by twofold.

The first ‘co-championship’


“…The first ‘co-championship’ in inter-hall sports competitions ”

The College won, for the first time, both the Malayan Cup and the Rose Bowl in the same year.

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Sports Subcommittee in 1980-81


The eighties marked a serene and idyllic era in the College, with residents placing particular emphasis on inter-hall games. 

Orientation in the 1980s


Sixth Floor brothers organised the first "Round the Island" (RTI). This idea came to their mind spontaneously, and they completed the run with passion despite not having extensive preparation or road signs on the way. In the following year, when the Ethiopian Famine hit, St. Johnians initiated a full-year fundraising campaign and included RTI, which raised a significant amount of donations. Seeing its social impact, St. Johnians continued the tradition and upheld its spirit ever since.

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New Wing under construction


With the completion of the Wong Chik Ting Hall in 1997, the College became the first HKU residence to provide both undergraduate and postgraduate accommodation. In the same year, College tutors introduced St. John’s Reborn and Mission 2000.

80th anniversary


The College struggled financially and faced an autonomy crisis. In the following year, the College, residents and alumni joint hands to organise a series of fundraising activities, such as St. John’s Festival and the 80th anniversary gala dinner.

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College life in the 2000s


Awakened by an admission crisis, the Students’ Association initiated St. John’s Reform in 2003. Meanwhile, the College launched a school-building project in the villages of Harbin, China with keen participation by residents for consecutive years.

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College Life in 2010s


“The launch of St. John’s Renaissance”

The Students’ Association launched St. John’s Renaissance in 2015 to liberalise student life. The College revised its educational missions with the aim of nurturing respectable future leaders and introduced an internationalisation and integration programme. By 2019, a 50:50 proportion in the number of local and nonlocal residents was attained.

Evolving St. John's


The Students’ Association conducts organisational reform and designates English as its official language. The College revises its educational missions with the aim of nurturing respectable future leaders; an internationalisation programme is introduced.

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St. John’s College residents, 2019-2020


“…the character of students no less than their intellectual faculties”


St. Johnians achieved academic excellence, with the average GPA rose to 3.5 out of 4.3. Students are allowed the freedom to decide how they would like to spend their time in Interhall Games and College activities. 

They won the Centennial Cup's Champion in 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 and the First Runner-Up in 2016-17, as well as the Rayson Huang Cup in 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20.