Skip to main content

Professor Jolyon Mitchell, wearing a white shirt and dark blue jacket, smiles at the camera standing in front of a green shrub with red berries.

We’re proud to welcome Professor Jolyon Mitchell as the new Principal of St John’s College.

Professor Mitchell, who is currently at New College, University of Edinburgh, is due to take up the role as head of St John’s on 1 September 2023.

He replaces the Reverend Professor David Wilkinson who will step down in August after 17 years as Principal of St John’s, which is a recognised constituent College of Durham University.

Durham graduate 

Professor Mitchell studied for his Master's at St John’s College, Durham, following a degree from Selwyn College, Cambridge, later going on to the University of Edinburgh.

In his current role, Professor Mitchell specialises in religion, violence and peacebuilding and is Director of the Centre for Theology and Public Issues (CTPI).

A former producer and journalist with the BBC World Service, he is the author and editor of over a dozen books.

Unique community

Having trained at Cranmer Hall, Durham, he is ordained in the Scottish Episcopal Church and is a former President of the national association for Theology and Religious Studies in the UK. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and a life member of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge.

He directs a number of projects on peacebuilding and has worked with Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders, as well as Palestinian and Israeli journalists, on peacebuilding projects in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Professor Mitchell has served on international film juries at the Cannes, Berlin and Venice film festivals. A former marathon runner and keen cricketer, he enjoys teaching and supervising students from all over the world. 

Professor Mitchell said: “I’m honoured to be taking on this new role and I’m hugely looking forward to working with the students and staff at St John’s, building on the College’s outstanding legacy and unique community. I am also looking forward to working with the world leading Department of Theology and Religion in Durham.”

Wonderful leadership

Professor Karen O’Brien, Vice-Chancellor and Warden, said: “College Principals play an important and very senior role in the life of our University. 

“That’s why I am thrilled to welcome Professor Jolyon Mitchell as the new Principal of St John’s where he was once a student, bringing with his appointment a great understanding of the value of our Colleges and the warm association they have with our students and graduates. 

“I would also like to thank Reverend Professor David Wilkinson for his 17 years of service as Principal of St John’s. David has provided wonderful leadership to the College community and I wish him the very best for the future.” 

Find out more