The estate of former Tabor College chemistry professor William J. Johnson has made a $50,000 gift to the college.
The estate gift will be used in three distinct areas to improve the capacity of chemistry studies at Tabor College and to encourage students in the field by providing scholarships. The funds will be used to purchase new and necessary equipment for the college’s chemistry department, further enrich the endowed Wm. J. Johnson Scholarship, and purchase new chemistry-related materials for the library.
Chemistry professor Bruce Heyen noted that a high performance liquid chromatography instrument and updated software for a gas chromatography-mass spectrometer will allow students to more fully engage in their area of study.
“The chemistry department now has some greatly needed equipment that will support undergraduate teaching and research projects,” he said. “Our instrumentation needs are ongoing, and the timing of this gift occurred just as we were searching for ways to fund some urgent upgrades.”
Johnson arrived at Tabor College from Shafter, Calif., in 1939 after completing a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from University of California at Davis in 1937. He took teacher training and Bible classes at Tabor College before receiving a teaching position at Zoar Academy near Inman.
In 1947, Johnson was working on a chemistry degree at Kansas State College, when Tabor College President P.E. Shellenberg recruited him to teach chemistry. Johnson taught for 33 years at Tabor College and spent another two years as the college’s first business manager. While teaching at Tabor, he received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Kansas State in 1962.
One of Johnson’s greatest sources of pride, which he highlighted in his retirement address in 1982, was that more than half of the 99 students who majored in chemistry at the college earned a Ph.D. or entered the medical profession.