2005 Honorary Alumni Award

Marilyn Johnson

Marilyn JohnsonSince 1975 the presidents of Western Illinois University relied on Johnson for information, meeting arrangements and administrative support. When she retired in July 2005 she completed 38 years of service to WIU and 30 years of service as executive secretary to four presidents, while also serving as the secretary to Western’s Board of Trustees since the Board’s establishment in 1996.

Johnson was first employed at Western in 1965 and served for four years as clerk stenographer for the Journal of Developing Areas. She briefly worked in the Physical Plant central stores and then for four years in the University Personnel Office before taking the position as executive secretary in the office of the president in 1975 for then President Leslie F. Malpass. Her tenure has also included the presidencies of Ralph H. Wagoner, Donald S. Spencer and Goldfarb and interim presidents Burton O. Witthuhn and David R. Taylor. When the Western Board of Trustees took office in 1996, the Board named Johnson to serve as secretary.

“Marilyn’s loyalty to this University is second-to-none,” said Gordy Taylor, associate vice president for alumni programs.

In addition to her employment, Johnson has been an enthusiastic volunteer in numerous University and community endeavors. She served as co-chair of the Western Illinois University Centennial Celebration opening event and has supported the WIU Performing Arts Society and the Western Athletic Club. In the community she has worked with the Fulton and McDonough County Community Mental Health Board, the McDonough County 708 Mental Health Board and McDonough County United Way. In 1999, she was named as one of the 50 Women of Western.