A mural dedication at the Johnson Farm last week provided the backdrop for the University of Tennessee to announce that 10 White County High School graduating seniors would be attending UT thanks to scholarships provided by the Johnson family.
Cynthea Johnson Amason, daughter of Rena and the late Bill Johnson, opened the May 26 program by introducing the 10 university-bound students who were accompanied by Suzanne Rushing, Advise TN college advisor for WCHS.
“I was particularly delighted to meet these 10 students that are now coming to one of our campuses,” Randy Boyd, president, University of Tennessee System, said, as he addressed the attendees. “The thing you might not know is all of these students are going [to U.T.] because of the scholarship that the Johnsons have provided.”
Amason, who led the group in prayer, said, “We are not claiming to be any kind of a self-made family. It is His grace and goodness. And so, we as a family, want you to know that we give Him all the honor and praise.”
Keith Carver, senior vice chancellor and senior vice president UT Institute of Agriculture, spoke about the historic significance of the Johnson Farm, which has been designated a Century Farm.
The dedication ceremony, which was the primary reason for the celebration, focused on the 80-foot mural painted on top of a large shed on the Johnson Farm that states “Everywhere You Look, UT.” The mural, which was painted in October 2022, is visible from Roberts-Matthews Highway and serves as a reminder to everyone who passes by of U.T.’s presence in the community.
Cathryn Johnson Rolfe, daughter of Rena and the late Bill Johnson, spoke about the impact of agriculture on the White County community. She also contributed a few lighthearted comments about the jobs assigned to the three Johnson sisters (Cynthea, Cathryn, and Carolyn) during their youth, including hauling hay.
“I’m sure that all of you know that the state of Tennessee motto is agriculture and commerce,” Rolfe said. “We have been farming the land that you are on for 130 years.”
Rolfe also talked about the Johnson family’s connection to U.T.
“The goal is to have a mural in every single county,” Boyd said. “Sometimes they’re on silos, sometimes on the sides of buildings in a small town. “Everywhere you look across the state of Tennessee, U.T. is there.”
In conclusion, Boyd said, “I just want to say thank you to all of you for being here for the celebration. Again, thank you to the Johnson family for everything you’ve done for over 100 years.”
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