Tabor receives estate gift from former prof

William J. Johnson gave 35 years of his career to Tabor College as a member of the science faculty. Now the college has received a $50,000 gift from the William J. Johnson estate.

Johnson, who spent many of his formative years near Shafter Calif., came to Tabor at the urging of then president A.E. Janzen.

In 1947, P.E. Schellenberg, then president of Tabor, sought out Johnson, who was working on a degree in chemistry from Kansas State College, and recruited him to teach chemistry classes in Hillsboro.

Johnson accepted the offer and served the college for 31?2 decades?33 years in the classroom and two as the school business manager during the 1950s. While teaching at Tabor, he achieved a doctorate in chemistry from Kansas State in 1962.

When he retired in 1982, Johnson spoke of one of his greatest sources of pride: Of the 99 students who majored in chemistry during his tenure in the classroom, more than half went on to finish a doctorate or enter the medical profession.

The Johnson estate gift will be used to provide scholarships for students, to purchase equipment for the chemistry department, to enrich the endowed Wm. J. Johnson Scholarship and to purchase chemistry-related materials for the library.

Bruce Heyen, professor of chemistry, said the gift of the high-performance liquid chromatography instrument and updated software for a gas chromatography mass spectrometer will allow students to more fully engage in their area of study.

?The chemistry department now has some greatly needed equipment that will support undergraduate teaching and research projects,? Heyen said.

?Our instrumentation needs are ongoing, and the timing of this gift occurred just as we were searching for ways to fund some urgent upgrades.?

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