The Tennessee Board of Regents presented the family of George R. Johnson with the 2019 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy during the 2019 Cleveland State Community College Foundation Donor Appreciation Dinner at the Cleveland Country Club in Cleveland on Nov. 7.
Cris Perkins, assistant vice-chancellor for strategic advancement with the Tennessee Board of Regents, presented the award to the Johnson family at the event. Mr. Johnson, longtime restaurant entrepreneur who established Franco Incorporated, passed away in 1996.
However, through his family and his foundation, his legacy lives on.
“The legacy of George R. Johnson being lived out through the Family Foundation continues to serve as an inspiration to each of us,” said Mr. Perkins. “It is truly inspiring to hear how this family’s support of Cleveland State Community College continues to express Mr. Johnson’s belief in the power of education.”
Mr. Johnson served as a Cleveland State Community College Foundation board member from 1979 through 1996. Mr. Johnson believed strongly that access to education was key to creating better lives and building stronger communities. After his passing in 1996, Mr. Johnson’s family established the George R. Johnson Foundation which has continued to serve in the same way Mr. Johnson did for decades here in the Tennessee Valley. Cleveland State Community College was one institution which the Johnson Foundation has continued to impact for so many years.
Among the gifts donated to Cleveland State, $1.5 million was given to the renovation of the Community Services Building, now named the George R. Johnson Cultural Heritage Center, on the Cleveland State campus in Cleveland. Most recently, the Johnson Foundation contributed $250,000 toward the match needed to acquire $25 million in capital funding from the State of Tennessee to help build the new Health and Science Center set to open in 2021. The gift will also support the renovation of the Mary T. Barker Humanities Building.
“Mr. Johnson’s story is so powerful and truly is part of the foundation of so much of what gets done at Cleveland State,” said Cleveland State Community College President Dr. Bill Seymour. “We are so proud that the state has honored him, his family, and his foundation in this way. It’s truly a well-deserved honor.”
A United States Navy veteran who graduated from the University of Tennessee with a bachelor of science in industrial management, Mr. Johnson would go on to own and operate more than 40 Hardee’s Restaurants across Tennessee and Northwest Georgia.
Another long-time friend and member of the Cleveland State Community College family was honored at the annual Cleveland State Community College Foundation Donor Appreciation Dinner. The CSCC Foundation has established “The Culbreth Award” in recognition of the support of Dr. Spencer Culbreth and his wife, Ann.
To further honor their commitment, and to inspire others to give, the Culbreth Society has been established to recognize a donor’s commitment to make a gift to the CSCC Foundation each year. “The Culbreth’s have made nearly 500 gifts to the college over the past 34 years,” said Cleveland State Community College Foundation Executive Director Christa Mannarino. “Now, Dr. Culbreth retired more than a decade ago, but they still contribute to the foundation and the college.”
Dr. Culbreth, a former CSCC associate professor of history, dean of humanities and social sciences, and vice president for academic affairs from 1971 to 2008, was recognized for faithful and consistent support of the college. “When those who serve our students day in and day out also make a decision to donate to their cause, it really helps make the mission of the college shine brightly,” added Ms. Mannarino.
For 48 years, The Cleveland State Community College Foundation has served as a separate not-for-profit entity to raise and manage funds given to meet the strategic needs of Cleveland State Community College. Currently serving on the CSCC Foundation board of trustees are Gary Fuller, chair; Mike Griffin, vice-chair; Ann McCoin, secretary; and Veronica Fox, treasurer.
Registration is now underway for all CSCC classes on-campus and online for Spring 2020. For more information on the event, contact CSCC’s Director of Communications and Marketing Don Foley at 423-473-2341 or email@example.com.