Happy 90th Birthday to Dr. Norman Johnston!

By Purnell T. Cropper | June 17, 2011

A grand celebration was held in Grey Towers Castle on June 3 to honor Dr. Norman Johnston, Professor Emeritus of Sociology. Johnston came to Arcadia in 1962, anticipating a one-year appointment. Thirty years later, he retired in 1992, and this year the University honored him by celebrating his 90th birthday, which actually occurs in August.

More than 100 friends, colleagues and family joined the celebration, and more than $66,000 has been raised to endow the Norman Johnston Scholarship Fund. In addition, it was announced at the celebration that his current office in Easton Hall will be dedicated in his honor. His family is preparing a commemorative photograph that will be hung in the Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice Department office.

The celebration included comments from President Emerita Bette Landman, who captured Johnston’s kindness and sincere spirit, and Department Chair Dr. Ana Maria Garcia, who noted the work he does day in and day out without the benefit of much of today’s technology. Other speakers included Sally Elk, CEO and President of Eastern State Penitentiary, Rosemary Gido, Editor of the Prison Journal, alumna Dr. Linda Williams, Professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and long-time colleague Dr. Barry O’Connor, Professor of Philosophy and Religion. Emcee Dr. Mike Berger coordinated all of the speakers and offered the following toast to the honoree: “Here’s to an inspirational teacher, a researcher with an international scholarly reputation, a tireless faculty ombudsman, and possibly most important of all, a decent human being.” To this all raised their glasses and cheered Dr. Norman Johnston on the occasion of the celebration of his 90th birthday.

Some of Johnston’s scholarly work is on display in the Landman Library, and the Scholarship Fund continues to grow and will support future undergraduate students.