By Richard Clark, Vice President for Advancement

My father was an engineer. Well, that is not precisely accurate. His college education and his work as a master chief in the Navy strongly suggested that was who he was. The titles on his badges at the TV station and the factories where he was employed all said “engineer.” And the pocket protector that was part of his daily attire was a dead giveaway.

He certainly had the brain of an engineer. My school science projects simultaneously proved that I did not build them myself and that my dad knew how to design and build electrical toys that flashed alternating lights with the press of a button.

When he designed the water-to-air heating and cooling system for the dormitories of one of Johnson’s sister universities, saving them many thousands of dollars, he displayed the full range of engineering acumen he possessed.

But in reality, he was not an engineer. At least that was not primarily what or who he was. He was a disciple of Christ, an evangelist, a minister of the gospel cleverly disguised as an engineer. This is how it happened.

When I was six years old, my father was stationed in the Los Angeles area with the Navy. My mother had been a believer all her life; she passionately pursued Christ and was actively involved in a church. My father attended the Knott Avenue Christian Church with her, and eventually his objections to faith were overcome.

My father believed the laws of science and the truths of Scripture could not contradict. Theories and human interpretations were another matter. The value of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) to a Great Commission-oriented person like my dad is not only that it supplied a wonderful career option, but also that it provided part of the solid foundation for his faith and the starting point for his efforts to win others to faith.

This personal story highlights the value of Johnson’s approach to offering educational opportunities in STEM fields. The Great Commission is at the heart of everything we do, including courses in science, nursing, and math. After all, we live in a universe so ordered that it consistently obeys natural laws like gravity and entropy. This is a system so vast and seemingly chaotic, and yet one that is so systematic that we can count on complex mathematic and algebraic formulas to predict outcomes. At Johnson, we educate students about both the creation and the Creator, and what each has to teach us about the other.

Your support of Johnson University educates students for Christian ministries and other strategic vocations, all of which are framed by the Great Commission in order to extend the kingdom of God among all nations. Because of the faithful support of alumni, friends, honorary alumni, faculty, staff, churches, and businesses, Ashley and Emma Johnson’s 19th-century vision of worldwide evangelism is being fulfilled in 21st-century ways. They did not see every scientific advance coming when they founded this school in 1893, but they had a vision for an institution that educated students about both God’s world and God’s word.