Carl R. Johnson, former chair of the Department of Chemistry at Wayne State University, has created an endowed professorship to help the department retain talented academics. Johnson initiated the Carl Johnson Early Career Endowed Professorship with a $1 million gift.
A renowned scholar and researcher, Johnson led the department from 1997 to 2001, becoming a distinguished professor emeritus in 2002 as he concluded a 40-year career at Wayne State. He hopes to inspire fellow chemists and alumni to contribute to the fund.
“Retaining young professors is a challenge for any university, and this endowed fund will help keep brilliant early-career academics at Wayne State, where they can inspire our students with their teaching and research,” said Dean Stephanie Hartwell of Wayne State’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Johnson is a much-lauded chemist and teacher. During his 40 years at Wayne State, he mentored nearly 200 aspiring researchers, from the undergraduate to postdoctoral level. He received multiple faculty awards and was a charter member of the university’s Academy of Scholars.
Johnson also was an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow, an American Chemical Society (ACS) A. C. Cope Scholar, an ACS Division of Organic Chemistry Paul G. Gassman Awardee for Distinguished Service and an associate editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. He served on the board and as treasurer of Organic Syntheses Inc. for 40 years. Johnson co-authored more than 200 research publications and several textbooks that were used in their various translations around the world.
In addition to serving on the faculty, Johnson has long been a supporter of Wayne State. In 2002, he partnered with Pfizer to establish the Johnson Pfizer Endowed Chair in Chemistry at Wayne State University.
Johnson noted that talented young faculty members learn the ropes at Wayne State but are sometimes lured to other universities for their most productive years. He established the Carl Johnson Early Career Endowed Professorship to help the department retain its best and brightest.
“Wayne State University offers exemplary research opportunities and a stellar faculty, but we were losing our rising stars to schools with deeper pockets,” Johnson said. “I established this endowment so that the Department of Chemistry can keep these innovative thinkers here, where they can help our students reach their potential.”
President M. Roy Wilson expressed sincere appreciation for Johnson’s steadfast support. “Dr. Johnson represents the type of scholar we seek to nurture at Wayne State. He has used innovation to improve people’s lives through chemistry. We are fortunate to have him as a distinguished professor emeritus and are grateful for his generous gift.”