Growing up in Jamestown, North Dakota, Johnson had a good educational path, despite his family’s inability to send him to college. After receiving a full tuition scholarship to Jamestown College due to his academic standing, excelling in college with a 4.0, and later obtaining his masters and doctorate, he went on to teach at Temple University in 1957, where he fell in love with teaching, becoming the chairman of the English Department and eventually becoming the Dean of the College of the Arts. This position of power taught him how to be a proper college administrator. After a tense relationship with the president of Temple and its board of directors, he ended up leaving to find a new occupation, one that led him to George Mason University after a friend of his submitted an application for him.
During the interview process about how he saw the learning institution in the future, Johnson responded with “the shape of education in the future is going to be wrought at places like Mason,”one of his quotes that he never failed to live up to. From one work detailing his biographical background, key cooperative investments, and overall impact on the various aspects of the campus, the author argues that Johnson’s influence within the university and beyond have made a bold impact on what the campus is today.
 “A History of George Mason University | 1978-1996: Emergence: George W. Johnson: A Biographical Sketch.” Accessed February 29, 2020. http://ahistoryofmason.gmu.edu/exhibits/show/prominence/contents/georgewjohnson