Zitko, John Howard (1911– )
John Howard Zitko, New Age lecturer and founder of the
World University, a center for alternative education, was born
in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on October 26, 1911. He attended
the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and the University of
California in Los Angeles, and received a Doctor of Divinity degree
from Golden State University.
Zitko was cofounder of the Lemurian Fellowship established
in Chicago, Illinois, in 1936 and edited its early book, The Earth
Dweller Returns (1940), reputedly a sequel to the nineteenthcentury
channeled text, A Dweller on Two Planets (1899), by
Phylos the Tibetan (through Frederick William Oliver). The
movement of the fellowship to rural California in 1941 encouraged
Zitko’s move to the West Coast. He served as the minister
of the Temple of the Jeweled Cross in Hollywood for four years
(1942–46). During this time he conceived of the idea of a World
University, and on December 21, 1946, founded the World
University Roundtable as a parent corporation to develop the
idea and raise funds. He later served a brief tenure as pastor
of the Church of the Abundant Life in Huntington Park, California
(1956–59).
Over the years the concept of the World University was undergirded
with the idea of promoting world peace through
world education. Finally, in 1967, the World University was
founded in Tucson, Arizona, to offer nontraditional, experiential,
and tutorial learning with an emphasis on world order
studies, environmental concerns, and human potential knowledge.
It is headquartered from its campus, now located in Benson,
Arizona, but functions primarily through its many small affiliated
schools located around the world. It has pulled together
a faculty of independent scholars who are intellectually aligned
with the nontraditional curriculum supported by the university.
Among its American affiliates is the Aum Esoteric Study Center
headed by Robert Hieronimous in Baltimore, Maryland.
Though concentrating on the university’s development,
through the years Zitko has remained active with the Lemurian
Fellowship and in 1981 was named its vice president. His 1947
book, Streamers of Light from the New World, had heralded many
New Age themes, and as the New Age Movement emerged, he
authored several books that embodied the alternative perspective
on education and life represented by the university New
Age Tantra Yoga (1974) and World University Insights with the Future
in Mind (1980). These books resonated with the movement
of the 1980s and Zitko became a popular New Age lecturer and
teacher.
Sources:
Zitko, Howard J. New Age Tantra Yoga. Benson, Ariz.: World
University, 1974.
———. World University Insights with the Future in Mind. Benson,
Ariz.: World University, 1980.