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William R. Johnson Personal Papers

Identifier: A-0165

Scope and Contents

This collection consists primarily of speeches that William R. Johnson gave while President of SFA. There are speeches to students, faculty, civic organizations and high schools, at conferences, and to dedicate university buildings. The collection has correspondence to friends and on SFA matters, like the renovation of the President's house. There are also a number of reference letters that Johnson wrote for SFA personnel, students and friends. Additional information related to Johnson's presidency at SFA can be found in the University Archives.


  • Creation: 1976-1990


Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Biographical or Historical Information

Dr. William Rudolf Johnson was born on January 12, 1933 in Houston, Texas. He attended the University of Houston and graduated with a B.S. in Education (with a History concentration) and an M.A. in History, both in 1959. Johnson went on to obtain his Ph. D. in History from the University of Oklahoma in 1963.

After graduating from the University of Oklahoma Dr. Johnson served as an Assistant Professor of History at Austin Peay State College (1959-1962), a Visiting Lecturer at the University of South Dakota (1967), an Associate Professor of History at Texas Tech University (1968-1973), and Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences at Texas Tech University (1972-1973). From here Dr. Johnson moved into an Administration role with Texas Tech University where he served as Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Senior Associate Vice President (June 1, 1973-September 1975), Dean of Faculties and Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs (September 1975-December 1975) and finally being named Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculties (December 1975-June 1976).

Dr. Johnson was named the forth President of Stephen F. Austin State University on July 1, 1976 and was inaugurated on November 18, 1976.  During his tenure SFASU saw growth of the campus as new structures were erected including a Health Center, Agriculture Building, Physical Plant Shop, Home Economics Building – South, Art Building, Mathematics and Nursing Building, University Woods Apartments, a 400-bed residence hall, and additions to the University Center, Forestry, the Ferguson Building, and the Early Childhood Center. There were also renovations made to Chemistry, Ferguson, and Griffith Fine Arts buildings. Several academic programs were acquired including the Bachelor of Social Work (1979), Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation (1979), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (1981), and Master of Interdisciplinary Studies (1982). He also oversaw the creation of Regents Professors, the University Scholars Program, and the first fully funded academic chairs at the University, the Temple and Rockwell Chairs.  Johnson’s era also was a time of student growth as he pushed the institute to attract a greater number of Hispanic and African American students. Note written by Greg Bailey.


2.00 Cubic Feet


This collection is described in 134 folders and housed in one banker's box and one clamshell box. The collection is broken down into 11 series.

At some point the materials in this collection will be merged into the University Archives as part of William R. Johnson's presidential papers. This is where the collection should have been arranged and described when it was first acquired.

Related Materials

Office of the President (Johnson), UA-0002.

Guide to the William R. Johnson Personal Papers
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the East Texas Research Center Repository