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The Johnsons

This scholarship has been endowed by the generosity of Emeritus Professor Dr. Conrad Johnson and his wife Mrs. Melita Johnson. Through their bequest and the generosity of alumni and friends of TCNJ, this new scholarship will provide $1,000 annually to a School of Engineering student. Professor Johnson was a master craftsman and a beloved industrial arts professor from 1942 to 1982. He was well known and remembered fondly by multiple generations of students. Mrs. Johnson was also well known by TCNJ faculty and students. An artist, she was known to use the campus as the subject for her paintings.

Here are a sampling of fond remembrances of Dr. Johnson by former students and colleagues:

“I had the unique experience of having Professor Conrad Johnson as my teacher and later as a colleague at Trenton State College!  Professor Johnson was a master teacher who had high expectations for every student: you needed to come prepared for class, no excuses, never come late to class: if you needed something like a fastener, you better be specific! As a colleague I had many great experiences with Conrad Johnson! I vividly recall his Volkswagen Beetle with the roof rack…always overloaded with wood AND the permanent bumper sticker: ‘HOLZ IST WUNDERBAR’ translated to ‘Wood is Wonderful’.” – Robert D. Weber ‘64 Professor Emeritus, TCNJ

 “Things I remember about Conrad Johnson: his ability to have students explore wood in all of its hidden beauty and usefulness, his white Volkswagen Beetle with logs strapped to the roof carrier .” – Jeffrey J. Bishop ‘75

“I will always remember my strong desire to learn everything Connie presented. He was truly an inspiration and allowed me to develop the skills I have today as a professional luthier, teacher, and master craftsman. Connie never stood in the way of my eagerness to build stringed musical instruments. In fact, a few years after I graduated, I paid him and Melita a visit at their home to show off the first guitar I had ever built.” – Donald Kawalek ‘78

 “Dr. Johnson was a craftsman, a professional teacher, and a talent, who left a great impression on my career in education.” – Joseph Graceffo ‘65

 “Conrad Johnson was a consummate professional who was all business, but never unkind.”  – Stephen Capelli ‘66

 “An exemplary teacher, and craftsman, who greatly inspired me in my teaching career, as well as my pleasure in collecting 18th and 19th century tools, and demonstrating their usage and value in woodworking trades.” – Joe Zaykowski ‘78

“One of his best known remarks was: ‘Follow me and I’ll talk to you.”  – Herbert and Dolores Fisher ‘50

 “The lesson I learned so well was ‘you can’t sand end grain enough. Sand it some more.’”– Robert Ritter ‘64

 “Connie Johnson was my most influential teacher at Trenton State.” – Ray Markley ‘73

“He was an intelligent, multi-talented, inquisitive, kind, humble, generous and happy person. The lessons that Conrad Johnson taught transcended the wood shop. After 50 years, I still live many of Conrad Johnson’s values. I hope I have been able to pass them on to others.” – Richard A. Swanson ‘64

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