William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship - Director, Urban Investment Strategies Center, Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise
"We're in the business of shaping minds. By creating and conveying new knowledge, we transform the way business people think about world problems."
"Johnson leads effort to take kids 'from the streets to the suites."
Research, teaching and impact on business
- Johnson focuses on the changing demography of the U.S. population and its effects on competing in emerging consumer markets.
- "American companies must learn to transition from gray to brown," says Johnson. "Native-born baby boomers are retiring in waves. Firms will find success when they create roles at every level for immigrants and people of color."
- "Our research on the economic impact of Hispanics in the state of North Carolina challenges conventional thinking about the role of immigrants — legal and illegal — in U.S. society today. Downloads of this research from our Web site exceed 200,000."
The student experience
- "Students are never too young or too old for lightbulb moments," says Johnson. He delights in classroom aha! events.
- "We're in the business of shaping minds. By creating and conveying new knowledge, we transform the way business people think about world problems. We equip them to strategize about consumer spending in a global economy."
Award-winning work with social impact
- Johnson garnered national accolades for the Durham Scholars Program, initiated at Kenan-Flagler in 1995.
- Students with amazing promise and few advantages are educated, motivated and mentored. Studies take place after school, weekends and summer, grade six through high school graduation. Durham Scholars Program funds their college tuitions. The program's own laboratory school will open in fall 2008.
What personal passion brings balance to your life?
"I feel very blessed," he says, "returning to North Carolina to work in a flagship university just a hop, skip and jump from family."