Johnson University

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
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 Gary E. Weedman
Academic staff
Students 956
Location Kimberlin Heights, Tennessee, USA
Campus Rural 175 acres (0.71 km2)
Colors Blue & White          
Mascot Royals
Affiliations Restoration Movement

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

University System[edit]

The Tennessee campus is the original campus for what has become the Johnson University System. The system includes the main campus in Knoxville, Tennessee, a campus in Florida, Johnson University Florida and an online campus.

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 Florida campus is located at the site of the former Florida Christian College, in Kissimmee, Florida, just minutes south of Orlando, Florida.


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.

Dr. Johnson served the school until his death in 1925. Upon his death, his wife Emma Johnson served as the college president until her death in 1927. Alva Ross Brown was chosen as the third president. He had not turned 22 years old at this point, making him the youngest person ever to serve as president of a U.S. college or university. He served the college and his determined leadership helped survive the great depression. He died in 1941 at the age of 35. His successor was Dr. Robert M. Bell. The college facilities were expanded slightly during his tenure. He served the college for 27 years and died in 1968. Dr. David L Eubanks became president in 1969 and served as the University's chief executive officer for 38 years. During the time of his leadership, the University expanded and moved down the hill with new dormitories, new educational facilities, and expanded academic offerings. The University experienced continued growth in its study body. Dr. Eubanks retired in 2007. Dr. Eubank's successor, Dr. Gary E. Weedman, has continued to expand and improve the institution.

Johnson University has the distinction of being 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 (Guest Housing, former Men's 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)
  • Bob 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 on top of hill. The Lower level contained the wood shops with Women's dorm rooms on upper floor.)
  • Irwin Library - 1912-2000 (Large brick structure. Contained Marble covered Library in basement with classrooms on upper 2 levels)
  • Brown Hall - 1971-2000 (3 story facility)
  • Johnson Hall - 1972-2000 (3 story facility with rooms arranged in suites)
  • 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 116-year history. After the death of Ashley Johnson, Emma Johnson became president. Mrs. Johnson was one of the first women to be elected and serve as president of any college in the United States. 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 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

* Retired from office/President Emeritus

Notable alumni[edit]

Graduates of Johnson University include ministers, missionaries, educators, counselors, business leaders and owners, physicians, lawyers, broadcast and media journalists, developers and entrepreneurs, airline pilots, community leaders, legislators, and church leaders, etc.[citation needed] Individually 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. 
  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
  5. ^ ABHE Accreditation Information
  6. ^ 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
  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]