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Emmy Award Winner John Johnson, ’61, ’63MA, Gifts Papers to CCNY

From left: John Johnson on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., August 23, 1999, with ICM Iiterary chief Esther Newberg, Manhattan prosecutor Linda Fairstein, her husband, lawyer Justin Feldman, and President Clinton.

Growing up in Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, and Harlem, John Johnson wanted to be the first person in his family to attend college. He was accepted by many universities but chose The City College of New York because of its excellence and free tuition for those who qualified academically.
 
“I received a first class education that allowed me to compete at all levels,” recalled the retired Emmy Award-winning television news anchor, artist and author. “City College gave me the wherewithal to sit down and interview Nelson Mandela. It gave me the wherewithal to sit down and interview Bill Clinton and others.”
 
In appreciation, Johnson,’61, ’63MA, has gifted his alma mater an invaluable collection of papers, documentary films, videotape and other possessions from his illustrious 30-year career as a television journalist with ABC News, WABC, WCBS and WNBC.
 
The largesse includes his Emmy Awards, a rosary blessed by Pope John Paul II and dedicated to Johnson in appreciation for his work; notebooks, scripts, video and film. There are also priceless objects and photographs from his decades of reporting on wars in the Middle East, Somalia and Bosnia; politics and the human condition, and interviews with prominent world figures.
 
“My knowledge of art and history came from the outstanding education I received at City College and so this is a way to give back,” said Johnson. 
 
Dr. Lisa S. Coico, president of City College, called Johnson one of the most distinguished broadcasters of his generation and thanked him for his commitment and generosity to his alma mater.
 
“The college is proud to call John Johnson one of its own and to accept his personal documents, mementos and audiovisual materials from his illustrious career,” she added. "This collection will offer our students an understanding of history, political science and communications that will be invaluable to their learning experience.”  

His legacy collection will go on display in CCNY’s Raphael Cohen Library in the fall.

Johnson, who received City College’s Townsend Harris Medal in 1994 for outstanding post-graduate achievements, retired from broadcasting in 1997. 

Always a painter, he has exhibited worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and he continues to show his work. He is also the author of the highly acclaimed book, "Only Son: A Memoir” (Warner Books, 2002).

About The City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. More than 16,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture; the School of Education; the Grove School of Engineering; the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, and the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership. U.S. News, Princeton Review and Forbes all rank City College among the best colleges and universities in the United States.

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Jay Mwamba
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e:jmwamba@ccny.cuny.edu