Zitko, John Howard (1911-)

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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 nineteenth-century 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.


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.