Ken Johnson’s long-term dedication to Rutgers School of Engineering has culminated in a $100,000 endowed scholarship he and his wife Jackie have given to support students in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
The first scholarship is expected to be granted next fall to a sophomore in the department, and it is renewable twice, said Johnson, who graduated from Rutgers School of Engineering in 1966 with a bachelor degree in mechanical engineering.
“My wife and I jointly designed this grant and scholarship program. What we were thinking is that we’d like it to be significant for the person receiving it,” Johnson said. “We wanted to help talented, high-potential but perhaps financially challenged students,” he continued.
The exact amount of the award and the number of awards given is still being determined.
Over the years, Johnson has been an active alumni volunteer, including as an officer and leader of several of the Engineering Industry Advisory Boards, Rutgers University Alumni Association Board, Rutgers Alumni Association Board, Rutgers Engineering Society Board, and the Rutgers University Alumni Association Philanthropy Committee. In 2013, he was awarded the Rutgers Engineering Society’s Distinguished Engineer Award.
After getting his degree from Rutgers School of Engineering, Johnson worked for 35 years in the space industry for companies such as RCA, General Electric, Martin Marietta, and Lockheed Martin.
As the leader of the GE/Lockheed Martin astro space division in East Windsor, N.J., he was part of the development of America’s space program. The facility developed and delivered more than 170 satellites over its 40-year history, including 28 in its final two years before consolidation.
“It’s kind of a dream career I was lucky enough to have,” Johnson said.
Now, he would like to pay it forward so that other Rutgers School of Engineering students might have the same opportunities.
“Mechanical engineering is embedded in all the branches of engineering,” he said. “Challenges abound. The planet needs our best and brightest well-educated engineers to meet these challenges.”