Jim and Janet Johnson, of Roanoke, Virginia, were recently honored as the 2014-15 inductees into the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Hall of Fame.

Jim Johnson, who holds a bachelor's degree and master's degree from Virginia Tech, spent his professional career at Virginia Tech. Jim retired as director and associate professor emeritus of Virginia Cooperative Extension and has remained active in extension by heading up networking activities for Virginia Tech retirees.

Janet Johnson’s career was also spent at Virginia Tech after she obtained degrees from Purdue University and Cornell University. She is dean emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and has been active in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise since her retirement. 

In 2011 she served on the committee to plan the celebration of the department’s 50th anniversary.  She was also actively involved in shepherding the department’s move from the College of Human Resources and Education into the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Together, the Johnsons served as members of the college’s Campaign Steering Committee for the Virginia Tech: Invent the Future campaign.  They were major donors to the initiative and hosted multiple events to assist the development office. The Johnsons are also members of the Ut Prosim Society, the university’s most prestigious donor society. Their philanthropy has made a mark on numerous areas of campus and funded four endowments. The Johnsons have supported 4-H and Virginia Cooperative Extension through annual gifts to local programs, service on advisory boards, and support of 4-H Educational Centers.

“The Johnsons have given many gifts to the college, but perhaps the best gift has been their spirited connection to Virginia Tech all these years,” said Alan Grant, dean of the college. “They truly deserve to be inducted in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumni Hall of Fame for their commitment and dedication to the university.”

The Johnsons have not only been extremely giving of their time and gifts in their retirement years, they have also not shied away from leadership roles.  Janet Johnson has served as president and board member of the Virginia Tech Faculty Women’s Club, as an advisory board member who was primarily responsible for bringing the Peacock-Harper Culinary Collection to Virginia Tech, and as chair of the Montgomery County 4-H administrative board. She is an interpreter at historic Smithfield Plantation and chaired the Gobble D’Art Program for the Blacksburg Partnership, the organization responsible for placing HokieBirds around Blacksburg. In addition, she also served as Rotary International district governor and member of a separate local Rotary club.

Jim Johnson has also served numerous leadership roles. He was president and charter member of his Rotary club and is on the boards of New River Community College, the University Club of Virginia Tech, and the YMCA at Virginia Tech. He is an honorary member of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. Both Johnsons have also served in leadership roles on the board of the New River Friends of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra.

In 2013, the Johnson’s were awarded the Ruby C. McSwain Outstanding Philanthropist Award by the National Agricultural Alumni and Development Association. The award honors individuals who have demonstrated sustained giving to agricultural initiatives including agriculture in higher education, extension, or land-grant universities. 



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