WMU News

WMU computer administrator honored

May 1, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- A Western Michigan University computer administrator is being recognized twice this spring for his volunteer work in the Kalamazoo community.

Robert L. Johnson, a computer data security administrator at WMU, is a finalist for the Seventh Annual Governor's Service Awards, to be presented Thursday, May 18 in Lansing. On Wednesday, April 19, Johnson also received a STAR Award from the Volunteer Center of Greater Kalamazoo in the Employed Volunteer category.

A Portage resident, Johnson is a long-time volunteer and activist, devoting a minimum of 35 hours each week to his community. Serving in both leadership and hands-on capacities, he assists organizations such as the American Red Cross, the Michigan Blind Athletes Association, Kalamazoo Senior Services, Boy Scouts of America and Mount Zion Baptist Church.

In his volunteer pursuits, Johnson has: run the Chicago Marathon with a blind athlete; provided food, clothing, shelter and comfort to flood and house fire victims; spearheaded a $3.7 million capital campaign; and mentored minority youth. He also is a recipient of the J.C. Penny Golden Rule Award.

"Bob is a tireless and enthusiastic volunteer," says Jean Peterson of the American Red Cross, who nominated Johnson for the STAR Award and wrote a letter of support for his Governor's Service Award nomination. "He is a strong role model for youth, especially African American young men. Bob is dependable, hard-working, insightful, compassionate and highly organized, and that just scratches the surface. He's an asset to our community on so many levels."

The finalists for the Governor's Service Awards were announced earlier this month by Governor John Engler and the Michigan Community Service Commission. Johnson is one of five finalists in the Adult (36-55) category. He will attend the May 18 Governor's Service Awards dinner, where overall winners in each of 15 categories will be announced. At the awards program, Governor Engler and First Lady Michelle Engler will present the finalists with a proclamation and the winners with a plaque.

"The Governor's Service Awards provide a wonderful opportunity to recognize and honor Michigan volunteers who demonstrate a remarkable commitment and devotion to bettering their communities, neighborhoods and schools through volunteer service," said Michelle Engler, chairperson of the Michigan Community Service Commission. The statewide recognition program acknowledges the contributions made by individuals, organizations and businesses involved in service and volunteerism, and honors those whose commitment to serving others is exemplary.

Nearly 300 individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations were nominated this year for Governor's Service Awards.

The STAR Awards honor Kalamazoo-area volunteers who have shown an exceptional commitment of time, creativity, dependability and impact on their nominating organizations. STAR is an acronym for Sharing Time And Resources. Johnson is a winner in the Employed Volunteer category, one of 12 awards given annually. Close to 100 organizations nominate volunteers for the award each year.

Media contact: Jessica English, 616 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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