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Giving back

Legacy continued through scholarships, residence hall and student volunteers

Building community is a huge part of the legacy of Herman and Dorothy Johnson. They advocated for those less fortunate and encouraged citizens from all walks of life to assist in improving the lives of others. At UMKC, their legacy continues in the form of scholarships and campus life.

Herman and Dorothy Johnson

Herman and Dorothy Johnson

The Johnsons believed that access to education would help students who might not otherwise have an opportunity to attend college. Neither Herman nor Dorothy graduated from UMKC, but they were concerned that Kansas City needed a strong university.

In 1987, Herman established the Herman Johnson African-American Scholarship Fund – the first scholarship at UMKC created to increase college opportunities for African American students. The fund is currently assisting 25 students during this academic school year, providing a total of $500,000 since its inception.

In addition to their financial support, Herman and Dorothy were actively involved in other areas of UMKC.

Daughter, Tara Johnson, welcomes students to the newly-constructed Herman and Dorothy Johnson Residence Hall.

Daughter, Tara Johnson, welcomes students to the newly-constructed Herman and Dorothy Johnson Residence Hall.

He was a member of the UMKC Trustees, the Flarsheim Society Charter, the School of Medicine Board, the Bloch School of Business Dean’s Advisory Board and a recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal in 1990.

Dorothy focused much of her time on children’s services, mental health and geriatric resources. She was a leader on the UMKC Cockefair and Cookingham Advisory Boards and a part-time assistant professor at the UMKC School of Medicine.

In recognition of their commitment to UMKC, the newest residence hall – the Herman and Dorothy Johnson Residence Hall – was named in their honor in February 2009. The hall opened its doors the following August and is home to 328 students. The LEED-certified facility is divided into eight 41-person community wings, which assists in creating a sense of community for students.

Tara Johnson, daughter of Herman and Dorothy, spoke about the importance of this tribute.

“We are overwhelmed by the honor and by the continued recognition from the UMKC family,” said Johnson. “My parents were firm believers in giving back and providing assistance to others. Opening doors and building bridges for those in need was always the driving force in their lives.”

In keeping with the Johnson’s legacy of giving back and building community, the residents of the Hall will participate in community programs throughout the year, where students will volunteer in programs such as Harvesters or Roos Give Back.


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