Staff spotlight - John Richardson
John Richardson is Tutorial Administrator and Praelector’s Secretary. He is has worked at Corpus for six months and is originally from Huntington Beach, California.
Tell us about your job at Corpus
I mainly deal with events that concern current students, matriculation at the beginning of the year, graduations that run throughout the year, general admission, which is the big one for undergraduates at the end of the year, and then dinners and suppers. I have the fun job of emailing people that say congratulations, you've been invited to a free dinner, or, congratulations, you’ve finished your degree, you get to have fun and graduate and get a free lunch. It’s a happy job, which is really nice. I very infrequently have to give people bad news. It's mostly happiness, and joy.
What is the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is the team. Getting to work with Tess, Elena and Caroline is genuinely the best thing. The job itself is good and fulfilling, I really enjoy event planning and specifically with students in a collegiate environment, but the fact that they are such lovely human beings make it such a pleasant working environment, I actually relish coming to work every day.
What is your favourite thing about Corpus?
I'm a very aesthetic guy. I like the way that Corpus looks. I think it's beautiful to look out of the window and see what I see every day. I like that we eat in Hall, and I just love the history and the architecture.
Did anything surprise you about Corpus?
I'm surprised by Corpus and the University as a whole, in terms of what I do with graduations, and that my own graduation was such a nightmarishly difficult and complicated experience at the other place (Oxford). And here, it's so good, streamlined, and organised. It would have been such a delight to have graduated from Corpus, where you get to choose a graduation date that works for you. When I took the job, I remember thinking I'm going to like working on graduations but I’m going to have to be the bad guy who tells people this is your graduation date, which is fixed. But in fact, I get to be the good guy who says like, yeah, absolutely, we can accommodate that. It was a nice and pleasant surprise.
What did you do before you started work at Corpus?
So many things. I have had lots of part-time jobs, these range from doing a two-year missionary service in Ecuador - where I learnt Spanish and helped build houses - to being a plumbing specialist at Home Depot hardware store. I studied History at university, with a minor in Music, which is when I really got into singing, having previously only sung in church choirs. I pursued voice lessons and in less than a year I was singing professionally at the Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City. I continued in this role for a year after my degree before moving to England to study for a Master’s in History at Oxford, where I got in almost exclusively on the grounds that I wanted to sing in the choir.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
A lot! I work part-time at College, which affords me the time to pursue my other interests. I am a paid member of the Clare College Choir, which I love. It takes up a lot of my time and energy, but it’s an absolute delight and so much fun. I also work occasionally as a punter, combining the punting skills I learnt in Oxford with my passion for history.
Can you tell us something surprising about yourself?
I love anything that requires balancing on a board. Growing up in California I loved to surf, I would be in the water every day and because of this I got into skateboarding, skiing and snowboarding. I think it probably surprises people - because I dress in fancy pleated trousers and jumpers every day - that after work I sometimes go and put on an extra-large t-shirt, a pair of Dickies and Vans and go to the Jesus Green skatepark. It's kind of like my alternate lifestyle that no one knows about. It may also surprise people to know that I played trombone and sang backing vocals in a punk band.