Transforming gift

Published 12:17 am Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Gospel according to Luke tells us that a man who exalts himself will be humbled but a man who humbles himself will be exalted.

Friday night, a humble Troy boy, now a man, was exalted.

The Homan and Ethel Johnson Center for the Arts was packed with those who came to recognize and show their appreciation to Dr. Manuel H. “Manley” Johnson for whom Troy University’s center for policy research will be officially named in a 2:30 p.m. ceremony today at Bibb Graves Hall on the campus of Troy University.

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With the support of a $3.6 million gift from Johnson, BB&T and the Charles G. Coch Charitable Foundation, Troy University has established the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy, which will promote teaching and research efforts that examine the role economic freedom plays in economic development and human prosperity. The Center will be a part of the University’s Sorrell College of Business and will be housed inside the Bibb Graves Hall, which is currently undergoing extensive restoration and expansion.

Johnson was characterized by Dr. John Schmidt, senior vice chancellor for advancement and external relations, as a man of generosity and integrity.

Schmidt said Johnson’s generosity will have a long significance to others.

“This is a time of transformation,” Schmidt said. “With this gift from Dr. Johnson, BB&T and the Coch Foundation, we will transform the world classroom here at Troy University.”

Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr. expressed appreciation to Johnson, BB&T and the Coch Charitable Foundation for their generosity and their vision for Troy University.

“Great universities stir great emotions and emotions are stirred at Troy University,” Hawkins said.

And, as emotions are stirred, Hawkins said Troy University does not corral that excitement and enthusiasm by putting boxes around the emotions.

“At Troy University we want to hire the best people and those with visions and encourage them and support them and then turn them loose to do what they do best.

“Later, we will draw boxes around the centers of excellence.”