Johnson University

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Johnson University
JU TN-Logo.jpg
Motto Open day and night to the poor young man who desires above every other desire, to preach the Gospel of Christ.
Type Private
Established 1893
President Dr. Gary E. Weedman
Academic staff
Location Kimberlin Heights, Tennessee, USA
Campus Rural 175 acres (0.71 km2)
Colors Blue & White          
Affiliations Restoration Movement
Mascot Royals

Johnson University is a private, Christian, co-educational university with its main campus located six miles (10 km) southeast of Knoxville, Tennessee in the Kimberlin Heights community.

University System[edit]

The University System consist of two physical campuses, an Online Campus, and located ExtendEd programs in various cities across the United States.

The Tennessee campus is located in the upper Tennessee River valley on the banks of the French Broad River just upstream from where the French Broad and Holston Rivers form the Tennessee. The Online Campus is also located at the Tennessee Campus.

The Florida Campus, Johnson University Florida, is located at the site of the former Florida Christian College, in Kissimmee, Florida, just minutes south of Orlando, Florida.

The ExtendEd campus offers two unique opportunities. ExtendEd Adult offers the opportunity for adults seeking a faith-based bachelor's degree by taking classes at a local church in cities across the US. ExtendEd Residency offers Full-time programs integrating classroom learning with hands-on experience at a local church. ExtendEd Adult locations are in Indianapolis , Knoxville, and Louisville. ExtendEd Residency locations are in Indianapolis, Orlando, and Phoenix.


The original name of the school was The School of the Evangelists. The school was renamed Johnson Bible College in 1909 after Ashley Johnson agreed to have the school named after him. This name was used for 102 years until the college became Johnson University on July 1, 2011.[1][2]

The idea for a new school was first introduced in a sermon by Ashley S. Johnson at the Bearden Christian Church in 1892 when Johnson proposed the idea of a college level school for the gospels.[3] In May 1893, guests boarded a steamboat in Knoxville to go up to the college for the laying of the cornerstone of the Main Building.[3] The Main Building, with "its five-story square tower that offered a sweeping view of the French Broad, was completed in 1895."[3] The original Main Building served the school until Dec 1, 1904, when a fire broke out from a chimney and completely destroyed the building. Following the fire a new building was constructed of brick and the dedication was held 1905.

Johnson served the school until his death in 1925. Upon his death, his wife Emma Elizabeth Johnson served as the college president until her death in 1927. Alva Ross Brown was chosen as the third president from that year until his 1941 death. Expansion occurred under the following president, Robert M. Bell, who died in office in 1968. David L. Eubanks assumed the presidency in 1969 and served until retiring in 2007, overseeing the expansion of academic offerings and the construction of buildings at the base of the hill upon which the college was founded. Following his retirement, Gary E. Weedman became the president; during his tenure, the college assumed the style of a university.

Johnson University is the second oldest continuing Bible college in the United States and the oldest Bible college affiliated with the Christian churches and churches of Christ.


Johnson University first received regional accreditation in 1979 from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.[4] Its professional programs are accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education.[5] The teacher education program is accredited by the Tennessee State Board of Education and the Association of Christian Schools International.

Courses of Study[edit]

Johnson University is accredited to offer associate, bachelors, master’s and doctor's degrees. All undergraduates at Johnson major in Bible.[6] Students may also choose a program that has a double major.

Honors program: The University maintains an honors program which offers majors in History, English, and Apologetics.

Graduate programs: Johnson University offers master's degrees in business administration, education, New Testament and preaching, and marriage and family therapy/counseling, and offers a Ph.D. degree in leadership studies.

Campus Facilities[edit]

Since its founding, Johnson University has had many different buildings - some have been demolished, others have been refurbished and repurposed.[7]

Current Facilities

  • The White House - Built 1890 (Restored home of Dr. and Mrs. Johnson)[8]
  • Old Main Building - Built 1905 (Old Chapel, Archeological Museum and Research Project)
  • Clark Hall - Built 1905 (Former Dormitory attached to Old Main)
  • Gymnasium and Pool - Built 1949
  • Myrtle Hall - Built 1951 (Counseling Center, former women's dormitory)
  • Bell Hall - Built 1955 (Student/Staff Apartments)
  • Alumni Memorial Chapel - Built 1961 (Chapel & Music Department)
  • Glass Memorial Library - Built 1964, enlarged 1989 (Served as Presidents Office on middle level until the Eubanks Activity Center's completion in 1989. Original library woodwork and alcoves on upper floor.)
  • Phillips−Welshimer Building - Built 1975 (Dining Hall, Administrative/Faculty Offices, classrooms, Auditorium/Gym)
  • Eubanks Activity Center - Built 1989 (Office of President, Student Center, Science Labs, Media Communications Department)
  • Johnson Hall - Built 2000 (Women's Dorm)
  • Brown Hall - Built 2000 (Men's Dorm)
  • Richardson Hall - Built 2001 (Teacher Education Department, Missions Department, classrooms)
  • Gally Commons - Built 2007 (Dining Hall, Bookstore and Student Post Office)
  • Russell Preaching Center - Renovated section of Phillips-Welshimer Building 2007 (Former Dining Hall)

Former Facilities

  • Original Main Building - 1893-1904 (Wooden structure destroyed by fire December 1, 1904)
  • Industrial Hall "Old Dusty" - 1898-1960 (Wooden structure located at the top of the hill. The Lower level contained the wood shops with Women's dorm rooms on upper floor.)
  • Irwin Library - 1912-2000 (Three story brick building located on the hill near the Old Main Building (1905). Contained Marble covered Library in basement with classrooms on upper 2 levels)
  • Brown Hall - 1971-2000 (3 story facility, former men's dormatory)
  • Johnson Hall - 1972-2000 (3 story facility with rooms arranged in suites, former women's dormatory)
  • Dairy Barn - 1800s to 1970s (The college's Dairy Barn was located where the P-W Building sits today) The pond in the rear was used by the cows. This was the home to the Dixie Holstein Herd.



The college has only had six Presidents in its 124-year history. After the death of Ashley Johnson, Emma Elizabeth Johnson became president. She was one of the first women to be elected and serve as president of any college in the United States. The fifth, Dr. David L. Eubanks was the first President to retire from office but remains one of the longest serving college presidents in the US and later served as the Chief Operating Officer of Johnson University Florida. All other past presidents of the College are buried in the College Cemetery across from the Old Main Building.

In 1896, during his tenure as the college's president, Ashley Johnson wrote the Condensed Biblical Encyclopedia.[10]

President Term
Ashley S. Johnson (Founder) 1893−1925
Emma E. Johnson (Founder) 1925−1927
Alva Ross Brown 1927−1941
Robert M. Bell, Ph.D. 1941−1968
David L. Eubanks, Ph.D. 1969−2007
Gary E. Weedman, Ph.D. 2007−present
L. Thomas Smith, Ph.D. - President Elect 2018−present

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable alumni include:


  1. ^ Megan Boehnke, Johnson Bible College announces new name, Knoxville News Sentinel, April 29, 2011
  2. ^ "A Mission-Driven Name". Johnson University. April 28, 2011. Retrieved April 28, 2011. [permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b c Jack Neely, "Knox County's Other University: Johnson University," Metro Pulse, 7 December 2011. Accessed at the Internet Archive, 5 October 2015.
  4. ^ SACS Accreditation Information Archived 2009-03-31 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ ABHE Accreditation Information
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-07-18.  JBC Undergraduate Catalog
  7. ^ The Story of Johnson Bible College. by Robert E. Black. Tennessee Valley Printing Co. Kimberlin Heights, TN
  8. ^'s/bw08sept.pdf Archived 2012-11-14 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ The Story of Johnson Bible College. by Robert E. Black. Tennessee Valley Printing Co. Kimberlin Heights, TN pg 77
  10. ^ "Condensed Biblical Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2007-10-25. 

External links[edit]