Family tradition of investing in K-State engineering

Jim and Laura Johnson name the GE Johnson Department of Architectural Engineering and Construction Science

Many families have traditions, and for the Johnsons of Colorado Springs, Colorado, one tradition involves investing in the success of the College of Engineering at Kansas State University.

Jim and Laura Johnson invested in naming the GE Johnson Department of Architectural Engineering and Construction Science, in honor of Jim’s father, Gil E. Johnson. Gil Johnson founded Colorado Springs-based GE Johnson Construction, a general contracting firm, in 1967. A 1955 graduate of Kansas State University, Gil invested in College of Engineering students and faculty. Jim and Laura have carried on the family tradition of investing in the college and the success of its students and faculty.

“We’re fortunate enough to have the opportunity to name the department,” Jim said. “I think it really helps signify the importance and how life-changing our experience was at K-State. I’m thankful for the College of Engineering for giving us the tools, not only for myself, but for my father to succeed. We hope this gift sends a message, not only to students but also to the faculty and the administration, about the importance and significance of this program. We hope it will give the necessary tools to the college and the department to further improve the program and develop, retain and hopefully improve their place in a very international marketplace.”

Jim recognizes the importance of all gifts to K-State, regardless of the size, and he feels fortunate he can invest in the success of students, K-State and the construction industry.

“My first donation was about $250, and that was a lot of money, but it felt good and I felt a part of something,” Jim said. “I’ve always felt you should support people who have supported you in the past. To me, it is giving back to something that helped me tremendously in my life, but it’s also an investment in the future. We’re going to be hiring construction science students for the foreseeable future, so our investment ensures they receive the best possible experience because someday they’re going to be our employees.”

Jim Johnson earned his degree in construction science from K-State in 1984. He served on the Engineering Advisory Council, received the Professional Progress Award in 2003, is a member of the College of Engineering Hall of Fame and currently serves on the College of Engineering’s Innovation and Inspiration Campaign steering committee.

Jim and Laura Johnson

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