March 26, 2020

Johnson University has decided to move to remote instruction for the rest of the semester on both campuses. We are also canceling May commencement on both campuses. Following is a message from President Smith about this decision and links to details for TN and FL students and staff. Students, please review this information!

To the uncommon Johnson community:

As Debbie and I sat watching the Johnson University tennis team compete on that beautiful spring afternoon of Friday, March 13, nearly every conversation with students, faculty, and staff contained the sad realization that this might be the last event on our campuses for the semester. Nearly every day since, Debbie and I have walked the campus and often commented on how lonely we were without the energizing and encouraging presence of our students. We discussed all of the scenarios that might emerge during this most unusual time brought to us by the COVID-19 pandemic and confessed our feelings of helplessness in combating the spread of the virus.

In our administrative response to the COVID-19 threat, two driving forces have guided the frequent deliberations of the president and senior leadership team: first, we must ensure that the worthy and compelling mission of Johnson University persists into the future. My first priority as president is to guard, guide, and advance the mission. Therefore, we wanted to make sure that every decision we made regarding this situation supported both the short-term and long-term sustainability of the mission to educate students to extend the kingdom of God among all nations. Secondly, we must care deeply for the well-being of our students, faculty, and staff. The senior leadership team has thoroughly examined every aspect of our operations to protect the people on our campuses; the policies and procedures that have emerged fulfill our goal of doing what is best for the health of our community.

None of these decisions, policies, or procedures are perfect. We are confronted by circumstances that change daily (sometimes even hourly) and we make the best possible choices given the current information available. The preceding announcement reflects what we believe to be the best alternative at the time to advance our mission and support the well-being of our community.

We know this is a difficult time for all of our students, especially the seniors, and it is normal to feel a sense of loss, sadness, or even anger at how this pandemic has changed your school year. We are grieving along with you for the experiences we won’t share together this spring. But we do not “grieve without hope”! Even in these times, there is much to be thankful for and there are many ways to encourage each other. I hope you know that I, our faculty, and our staff are praying for you all. I hope you will commit to getting everything you can out of your classes the rest of this semester, that you will participate in the Livestream prayer times we have scheduled, and that you will pray for each other and for usĀ as we continue to pray for each of you.

Grace and peace,
Tommy Smith
President, Johnson University