Morris chancellorwill retire in ’98

Kamariea Forcier

In a campus assembly in Morris last week, University of Minnesota–Morris Chancellor David Johnson announced to students, faculty and staff members that he will retire in June 1998.
“I feel I am seeing the vision that I brought with me for this campus being realized,” Johnson said. “When you see your agenda coming true, then it’s time to move on.”
Johnson tied the timing of his decision to University President-elect Mark Yudof’s arrival in July. “A new chancellor should be appointed by a new president. Yudof should be involved from the very beginning in the selection of a successor,” he said at the April 14 assembly.
University President Nils Hasselmo said he will aid Yudof in appointing a search committee to find a new chancellor for the Morris campus. Hasselmo hopes a search committee will be appointed by this spring, he said.
Johnson took over the chancellorship in 1990 after being named to the position by Hasselmo.
One of the accomplishments that Johnson took credit for is Morris Junior Year, an initiative emphasizing the importance of the junior year of college. Johnson started the program as a way to combat the high number of students who were transferring to other institutions after their sophomore years.
The program encourages study abroad, student-faculty research partnerships and other special learning opportunities.
“I’m very pleased to see the united efforts of faculty, students and staff in providing every student, by the end of their junior year, an opportunity to do something extraordinary,” Johnson said.
“That’s a vision becoming a reality for me,” he said. “Now that that’s accomplished, it’s time for someone else to come in with her or his vision.”
After his retirement, Johnson said he intends to remain active at the Morris campus. Although he will not claim a tenured professorship in sociology, which he was awarded on appointment to the position of chancellor, he said he will continue to volunteer as a fund-raiser for the University.
Also, he said he would like to work with the American Cancer Society as a volunteer for its outreach program to widowers of cancer victims. Johnson’s wife died of cancer last year.
Although he hasn’t decided whether he will remain in Morris following his retirement, he spoke highly of his time at the University.
“I’ve been able to be part of a highly selective, academically rigorous liberal arts college and at the same time to be part of a leadership group for the entire University of Minnesota. It’s been a remarkable combination, and I’m grateful to have been selected for this job.
“It’s been the most exciting chapter in my life,” he said. “I’ll spend the rest of my life as I have over the past seven years continuing in telling the people how wonderful the Morris campus is.”