Trinity College has received a gift of $5 million from Thomas S. Johnson, a 1962 graduate and former Trustee and Chairman of the Board, and his wife, Ann. The gift will finance two distinguished endowed faculty chairs at Trinity.
“In the long history of the College,” said Thomas Johnson, “we have been blessed with imposing yet compassionate teachers and scholars. We can think of no better way to impact Trinity and its future than by investing in men and women who will make such a profound difference in the lives of the students they will mentor.”
“We are elated,” Trinity President James F. Jones, Jr., said, “that the Johnsons have decided to endow such a key priority at Trinity, helping build on our commitment to recruiting and retaining superior faculty. We are grateful to Tom and Ann for their continued leadership support, which is an inspiration to all of us at Trinity.”
The first Johnson chair has been awarded to Daniel Blackburn, Chair of the Biology Department and a member of Trinity’s faculty since 1988. Blackburn recently delivered his inaugural lecture as the Thomas S. Johnson Distinguished Professor of Biology. Entitled “A World in a Grain of Sand,” the lecture focused on student biology research at Trinity in terms of its scientific significance and its value in launching students’ careers in science and medicine.
The recipient of the second Johnson faculty chair is expected to be named during the next fiscal year.
An economics major while at Trinity, Johnson received his M.B.A. from Harvard University and spent more than 30 years in banking, retiring in 2004 as chairman and chief executive officer of GreenPoint Financial Corporation and GreenPoint Bank. He has been one of Trinity’s most engaged alumni and has received numerous awards for service to the College, including the Eigenbrodt Cup, Trinity’s most distinguished honor, and in May 2005, an honorary doctorate. Ann Johnson shares her husband’s passion for education, recently retiring as a Trustee at her alma mater, Connecticut College.
With this generous support from the Johnsons, Trinity now has secured 10 of the 16 new endowed chairs that are among the highest priorities of the Cornerstone Campaign for Trinity, a $350-million comprehensive fundraising effort that was publicly launched in October 2007.