Friday, April 26, 2013

Vol State at Livingston Professor Honored with Statewide Service Award

David Johnson has been involved in civic service and leadership in the Upper Cumberland for more than 22 years. Now the Vol State at Livingston associate professor has been awarded the Harold M. Love Community Service Award by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. It’s an honor presented to just a few higher education professionals each year in Tennessee. Johnson’s work with the United Way and numerous community groups led to the nomination.

“Dave’s knowledge of the needs and services in our area make him a sought after volunteer and community advocate,” said Melinda James, executive director of the United Way of Putnam County, serving the Upper Cumberland, in her nomination letter. “The collective effect of his work has a tremendous impact on the organizations themselves and the community at large.”

The list of Johnson’s community service runs long. He is current president of the Putnam County Adult Literacy Council and secretary of the board of directors of Friends of the Appalachian Center for Craft. He has served on the board of many other area nonprofits, including the United Way, M.A.D.D., U.C. Dismas House, Mediation Services, the Upper Cumberland Alliance Against Domestic Violence, the American Heart Association, and the Wesley Foundation.  He has organized several partnerships leading to the annual Bard’s Day fundraiser and the Hippie Jack Music Festival, events raising more than $20,000 over the past few years for child abuse prevention programs headed by The Stephens Center. 
Johnson is described as a “tireless advocate” for the local arts. His extensive community theater work includes acting and directing. He has worked with Shakespeare in the Park programs and produces the annual Putnam County Adult Literacy Council “Write Voices” fundraising event. He hosts several radio shows in the Upper Cumberland, which ties into his position teaching English and Communication at Vol State.

"I share this award with my wife, Sandy Dunavan-Johnson, who not only supports me in all my community involvement, but who directly participates as a partner in these activities,” said Johnson. “Honestly, I couldn't do all this without her help and encouragement."

The individuals selected to receive recognition with the Harold M. Love Award represent the many dimensions of community service – volunteer work, public service, charitable service and leadership roles in community organizations. Those honored each year are chosen from colleges and universities across the state.

“Dave is always thinking of innovative ways to identify, address and find solutions to our community’s most pressing needs,” said James. “As a knowledgeable and well-versed playmaker in our community, Dave advocates for starting where you are, using what you have, to do what you can.”

Johnson has served on the faculty at Vol State at Livingston since 1996. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Tennessee Tech University. He was presented with the Love Award during a reception with Tennessee Higher Education Commission on April 25.

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