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Mildred L. Johnson

July 25, 2008

Mildred L. Johnson, a longtime Western Michigan University trustee and member of the University's original governing board, died Tuesday, July 22. She was 83.

Johnson, of Muskegon, Mich., was a member of the board of trustees from 1964 to 1982. In September 1982, the board passed a resolution granting her the title of trustee emerita, while citing her "dedicated and distinguished service to the citizens of Michigan and the students, faculty and staff of the University." The resolution also noted, that "throughout her many years, she demonstrated an extraordinary personal involvement with the people, programs and activities of the University."

While on the board, she served as chair of the board's Capital Outlay Committee and the Trustee Committee on Student Services. She served on Michigan Gov. George Romney's Blue Ribbon Citizens' Committee on Higher Education. She also served under three Michigan governors--Gov. John B. Swainson, Romney and Gov. William G. Milliken--on the Governor's First and Second Status of Women Study Commissions to help set up a permanent commission and was chair of the Committee on Education.

Johnson also was a very active and productive member of the WMU Alumni Association's board of directors, serving as vice president of membership. She was granted a lifetime honorary membership in the association by President Emeritus Diether H. Haenicke.

In 1995, WMU named a four-year, $25,000 Medallion Scholarship after her, while the American Association of University Women named two international fellowships after her in 1962 and1963.

Johnson was born in 1924 in Flint, Mich., and married Conrad E. Johnson in 1947. She graduated from Muskegon High School in 1943, attended Muskegon Community College and graduated from Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., in 1946. She did post-graduate work at WMU in the 1940s and 1950s.

Johnson was a public school teacher and taught high school social studies in Durant, Iowa, and junior high school history, geography and English in Muskegon. She was deeply involved in community activities in Muskegon and was named Outstanding Citizen of Muskegon County for 1978 by United Way.

Johnson also was the author of several books, including "Pinchtown" in 1989 and "Lakeside Welcomes You" in 1997, both under the sponsorship of the Muskegon County Historical Society.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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