W. Norman Johnson to Retire as VP, Dean of Students at Boston University

in News Releases, University Affairs
July 3rd, 2003

Contact: Kevin Carleton, 617/353-2240 | carleton@bu.edu

(Boston, Mass.) — W. Norman Johnson has announced his intention to step down after 14 years as Vice President and Dean of Students at Boston University. He will retire effective July 18, 2003.

Johnson came to Boston University in 1989 upon completion of 32 years in the U.S. Navy. In his last position in the service, he was commander of the third-largest Navy base in the nation, located in Charleston, S.C.

While at Boston University, Johnson has earned the respect and affection of students, staff and faculty. He has overseen one of the largest divisions within University, with responsibility for student activities — there are more than 350 student organizations on campus — and student community service, residence life, orientation activities for more than 4,000 incoming students every year, student judicial affairs, and a number of student support departments.

Chancellor John Silber said, “I have accepted with regret the resignation of Admiral W. Norman Johnson. In the 14 years he has served the University, Norm Johnson has met the highest standards. He understands students and he has constantly worked to build programs on their behalf. He has also been a wonderful colleague and friend. All of us at Boston University will miss Norm and his wife, Helen. Their contributions to Boston University will long be remembered. The University will be fortunate if it finds a worthy successor to Norman Johnson.”

During his time at the University, the number of resident students on campus grew by more than 2,000, and his office was responsible for developing and implementing policies designed to improve both safety and satisfaction with on-campus living. He developed a number of programs to monitor and improve undergraduate retention, including the creation of the highly successful Educational Resource Center, which provides tutoring and workshops on writing and study skills, among other topics.

“ Vice President Johnson worked effectively with the schools and colleges of the University to ensure the integration of students’ academic and co-curricular experiences,” said Provost Dennis Berkey.

A native of Boston, Johnson graduated from the New England College of Pharmacy, which is now a part of Northeastern University, in 1955. He and his sister operated a family-owned pharmacy in Roxbury, but Johnson thought greater opportunities could then be found in the Navy. After completing boot camp he selected for Officers Candidate School and was commissioned an ensign in 1957. Over the next three decades he held a series of positions of increasing responsibility on shore and at sea. He was promoted to rear admiral in 1983, and assumed command of the Charleston Navy Base in 1987.

“ I’ve had a fabulous time at Boston University,” said Johnson. “I’ve enjoyed tremendously the chance to work with many outstanding colleagues, and I will miss all of my friends here, particularly the many wonderful students I’ve come to know.”

Boston University, with an enrollment of more than 29,000 students in its 17 schools and colleges, is the fourth-largest independent university in the nation.

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