“I’m thankful for the College of Engineering for giving us the tools, not only for myself, but for my father to succeed.” – Jim Johnson ‘84
Many families have traditions, and for the Johnsons of Colorado Springs, Colorado, one tradition involves investing in the success of the College of Engineering at Kansas State University.
Jim and Laura Johnson invested in naming the GE Johnson Department of Architectural Engineering and Construction Science, in honor of Jim’s father, Gil E. Johnson. Gil Johnson founded Colorado Springs-based GE Johnson Construction, a general contracting firm, in 1967. A 1955 graduate of Kansas State University, Gil invested in College of Engineering students and faculty. Jim and Laura have carried on the family tradition of investing in the college and the success of its students and faculty.
“We’re fortunate enough to have the opportunity to name the department,” Jim said. “I think it really helps signify the importance and how life-changing our experience was at K-State. I’m thankful for the College of Engineering for giving us the tools, not only for myself, but for my father to succeed. We hope this gift sends a message, not only to students but also to the faculty and the administration, about the importance and significance of this program. We hope it will give the necessary tools to the college and the department to further improve the program and develop, retain and hopefully improve their place in a very international marketplace.”
Jim recognizes the importance of all gifts to K-State, regardless of the size, and he feels fortunate he can invest in the success of students, K-State and the construction industry.
“My first donation was about $250, and that was a lot of money, but it felt good and I felt a part of something,” Jim said. “I’ve always felt you should support people who have supported you in the past. To me, it is giving back to something that helped me tremendously in my life, but it’s also an investment in the future. We’re going to be hiring construction science students for the foreseeable future, so our investment ensures they receive the best possible experience because someday they’re going to be our employees.”
Jim Johnson earned his degree in construction science from K-State in 1984. He served on the Engineering Advisory Council, received the Professional Progress Award in 2003, is a member of the College of Engineering Hall of Fame and currently serves on the College of Engineering’s Innovation and Inspiration Campaign steering committee.
In 2015, Ike and Letty Evans gave an initial gift of $1 million to launch the College of Engineering’s Academic Success Center. Recently they’ve pledged another $4 million to ensure its continued success, and in turn, naming it the Ike and Letty Evans Academic Success Center.
Demonstrating enormous commitment to their students and department, six faculty members of the Department of Kinesiology in the College of Human Ecology have used matching funds to create a scholarships for kinesiology students. Recently, Carl and Mary Ice provided matching funds to inspire others to invest in students in the College of Human Ecology, which was just the incentive these faculty needed.
They met in a political science class at Kansas State University, working under Dr. Michael Suleiman and the founder of the department, Dr. Lou Douglas. These key moments laid the groundwork for their careers and ability to travel the world. Their education at K-State shaped Don and Carol Kissinger’s lives and has now influenced them to create an endowed excellence fund in the Department of Political Science.
Kansas State University alumnus, Terry Schroff, owner and chief executive officer of Quiet Light Communications, Rockford, Illinois, has contributed to the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications (JMC) for its newly inaugurated honors program scheduled to begin fall 2018.