Providing a value-added experience important to Mark and Pat Johnson

The couple’s endowed scholarship seeks to help students participate fully in college life

Pat and Mark Johnson
Pat and Mark ’81 Johnson endowed a scholarship in business to say thank you to Wichita State and to pay it forward to the next generation of students.

Mark Johnson remembers his college days at Wichita State vividly — being on campus every day at 6:30 a.m. to have breakfast with friends and to study before his first class, feeling energized by class discussions, getting recognized for his academic achievements at an Honor Society dinner.

    “I can still recall the inspiration I would feel walking across campus,” he said in a recent interview. “A college campus is like no other place, grand, beautiful and vibrant, and all the while inviting. I loved being in such a stimulating environment.”

    Johnson and his wife, Pat, want to help provide a similar experience to deserving students at Wichita State. They recently pledged $50,000 to create the Mark W. and Patricia A. Johnson Scholarship in Business.

    “Pat and I have a profound appreciation for the impact that education has had on our lives,” said Johnson, who graduated from Wichita State in 1981 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance. “Neither of us would be who we are today without it.”

    Pat graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in special education. Mark, who grew up in Wichita and Park City, was the first person in his family to attend college.

    “I had ambitions that would have been impossible to achieve without the tremendous base of knowledge, the critical thinking skills and the personal confidence I gained in my four years at WSU,” he said. “Pat and I would like to see every person have the opportunity to realize his or her full potential.”

    The Johnsons hope their scholarship will make attending Wichita State more affordable for students, and also make it easier for them to participate in activities that create a full college experience. That could include living on campus rather than commuting from home, or studying abroad for a semester.

“Young people are our national treasure and we need to invest in them wisely.”

- Mark Johnson '81

    “Even though I had a wonderful experience at WSU, I was a commuter student and was not able to immerse myself in everything the campus had to offer,” Johnson said. “We hope to help students take their participation to the next level by relieving some of their financial burden.”

    Johnson joined Hess Corporation after graduating from college. He has been controller of the Exploration and Production Division since 2004, residing in Houston. He took a leave of absence in 1988 to get his MBA from Stanford University, where he and Pat lived on campus for two years and immersed themselves in school life.

    Johnson received a merit-based scholarship while at Wichita State. He also received grants and student loans and worked part-time at a savings and loan institution all four years of college. He has family living in the Wichita area and visits occasionally.

    He and Pat have contributed to Wichita State in past years, but they decided it was the right time in their lives to create an endowed fund, Johnson said.

    “Wichita State was good to me and I loved my time there,” he said. “I got much more out of the school than I was able to give financially at the time. Now that we are able to do so, we want to say thank you to WSU and pay it forward to the next generation of students.”

    The scholarship endowed by the Johnsons will be awarded for the first time in the fall of 2014 to a student in the W. Frank Barton School of Business. Recipients must maintain at least a 3.25 grade-point average to remain eligible for it.

    “We want to see the money used by students who are serious about their education and are willing to put in the hard work required to get the most out of it,” Johnson said.


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