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1934 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Joseph JOHNSON Obituary
JOHNSON, Dr. Joseph Benjamin Dr. Joseph Benjamin Johnson, 83, died Tuesday, January 2, 2018, in Fayetteville, Georgia. Dr. Johnson was the third president of Grambling State University and the seventeenth president of Talladega College, a native New Orleanian, educator, activist, innovator and father. In the short span of fourteen years as president of Grambling State University, he brought a new dimension of progress and enhancement to the university. Accepting the challenge of his inheritance of an institution in need of fiscal, professional and physical repair, he embarked upon a 10-point plan for improvement. He pursued a steady path toward implementation of the plan by stabilizing and doubling enrollment; strengthening the faculty and increasing salaries; upgrading and beautifying facilities and grounds; perfecting a business management system that restored fiscal responsibility to an unprecedented level at the university; and reopening and intensifying communication with alumni and other external publics. Dr. Johnson was instrumental in spearheading the dialogue which led to an historic Consent Decree between the state of Louisiana and the United States Government. As a result, Grambling's academic offerings were enhanced through the funding of new degree programs which were initiated and subsequently accredited by state and national rating agencies. He exerted profound and profuse influence on both the state and national scene in a kaleidoscope of top-level involvement with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the Office for the Advancement of the Public Negro Colleges (OAPNC), to name a few. His activist contributions are noted through his receipt of the prestigious Jewish National Fund, "Tree of Life" award, the "Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award" from the University of Colorado, the National Alliance of Business Leadership Award, the Presidential Medal from New York University, and the Thurgood Marshall Education Achievement Award. Dr. Johnson was inducted into the History Makers-Chicago, Illinois, the Southwestern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame, the Grambling Legend Hall of Fame, and was accorded the honorary title of President Emeritus at Grambling State University. Dr. Johnson earned his B.S. degree from Grambling College and his Master's and Doctoral degrees at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He pursued postdoctoral studies at Harvard University as an I.E.M. Scholar and was the recipient of Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Western Michigan University, Gandhigram University of India and Grambling State University. Dr. Johnson was a member of the Council of Presidents of American Missionary Association of Colleges, Council of Retired Presidents, Atlanta, Georgia, Phi Delta Kappa International, and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. He was a former trustee of the Board of St. Mark A.M.E. Church, Atlanta, Board of Directors of Gourmet Foods, Talladega Chamber Commerce Board of Directors and the University of Colorado Board of Directors, National Alumni Association. In 1991, he accepted the challenge as President of Talladega College. He once again embarked upon a plan that was designed to improve the distinguished liberal arts college. He did this by increasing enrollment, improving local, corporate, foundation and federal support; strengthening the faculty and staff; and upgrading physical facilities and grounds. Joseph Johnson was the ultimate sports fan, having played college basketball at Grambling, and played quarterback in the Army while stationed in Germany. As a high school basketball coach, he coached Greenville Park High School in Hammond, Louisiana to the state championship in 1968. He was always committed to helping youth in his community, and while teaching at Greenville Park, he founded the Better Boys Scholarship Club to assist young men who had academic and leadership potential in finding scholarships for college. Dr. Johnson was the consummate husband and father. He found his greatest source of satisfaction and achievement in raising his four children with his wife of 55 years, Lula. He took great pride in the accomplishments of his children and was a source of inspiration for them. Dr. Johnson was preceded in death by his wife, the former Lula Young of Hammond, Louisiana, parents Sidney T. Johnson, Sr. and Lillie Mickens Johnson, brother, Sidney T. Johnson, Jr., and nephew Sidney T. Johnson, III. He leaves to cherish his memory three devoted daughters, Yolanda Johnson Dixon (James) of Baton Rouge, LA, Juliet Johnson of Nashville, TN, and Dr. Julie Johnson, of Atlanta, GA; a loving son, Joseph B. Johnson, III (Karen) of Alexandria, VA; two grandchildren, Benjamin and Kelsey Johnson, whom he adored; a sister, Joyce Lewis of New Orleans, LA; a sister-in-law, Gladys Martin of Hammond, Louisiana, and a host of nieces, nephews and friends. The Johnson family will greet family and friends from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday, January 8, 2018 at St. Mark A.M.E. Church, 3605 Campbellton Road, SW Atlanta, GA 30331. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, those who wish may direct memorial contributions to the Joseph B. Johnson and Lula Young Johnson Scholarship in the Earl Lester Cole Honors College at Grambling State University, Office of the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, GSU P.O. Box 4288, Grambling, LA 71245.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Jan. 6, 2018
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