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UW Receives $1.5 Million Gift to Support Student Success

July 16, 2019
artist's conception of reception area
A $1.5 million gift from longtime University of Wyoming supporters will establish the Peter M. and Paula Green Johnson Student Success Center, a new UW College of Business program that supports students throughout their college experiences and careers. (UW College of Business)

A $1.5 million gift from longtime University of Wyoming supporters will establish the Peter M. and Paula Green Johnson Student Success Center, a new UW College of Business program that supports students throughout their college experiences and will help launch successful careers.

“Among the obligations that every great business school has to its students is to prepare them for employment,” the Johnsons say. “The Peter M. and Paula Green Johnson Student Success Center will help the University of Wyoming College of Business students both succeed in college and be prepared for and achieve professional business employment upon graduation.”

The new center will be an essential element of the College of Business student experience, with students interacting with the center from the time they consider attending UW through their academics to interviewing for jobs and graduation.

The Peter M. and Paula Green Johnson Career Center -- now part of the Student Success Center in the College of Business -- also has been supported by the Johnsons. In 2007, the couple donated $1 million to support the career center, which was doubled by state matching funds.

The Student Success Center also is supported by gifts from Lois Mottonen, Scott and Anne Macdonald, Pat and Nancy Higgins, and Charles Morrison, most of whom are UW College of Business alumni. The McMurry Foundation College of Business Dean’s Excellence Fund, which was established by Mick and Susie McMurry through the McMurry Foundation, also will be used to support the center.

The Student Success Center will be located within the old Commerce and Industry Building on the west end of the College of Business Building. It will open in the 2020-21 academic year. The new center will be restructured and renovated, including a dedicated entrance and an open floor plan, a reception and common area, flexible office space, interview and conference rooms, and technology-rich sales simulation spaces. A director who oversees managers, academic advisers, recruiters and career coordinators will oversee the center.

Fundamental student services that will be offered by the center include enrollment management, academic advising, and professional development and engagement:

-- For enrollment management, services include Wyoming high school recruitment, community college relations, articulation and transfers, recruitment beyond Wyoming’s borders and awarding of scholarships.

-- For academic advising, services include advising, degree progression and completion tracking, study abroad and the management of resources balancing student demand, space availability and faculty.

-- For professional development and engagement, the Peter M. and Paula Green Johnson Career Center offers career, mentorship and professional development, corporate engagement and employer relations, internships, coordination and support of faculty careers, and experiential learning opportunities. The career center will serve up to 800 students each year.

“I am inspired by the dedication and generosity of donors like Peter and Paula to our students,” says David Sprott, dean of the College of Business. “Without supporters such as them, it would be impossible for UW’s College of Business to support the success of our students. Our new Peter M. and Paula Green Johnson Student Success Center will leave an immeasurable impact on the college’s efforts to provide quality business education to our students and to impact the economic vitality of Wyoming and beyond. With this center, we stand ready to prepare and advance our students’ academic and professional lives.”

The center will aspire to instill students with career confidence, ethical grounding, collaboration, problem-solving, creativity, lifelong learning, global engagement, resilience, vision, competent communication and core business competencies. The success of the center will be measured by enrollment, scholarship dollars, retention, study-abroad participation, graduation rates, internships, corporate engagement and job placement.

“Peter and Paula have been remarkable UW leaders and supporters,” says Ben Blalock, UW Foundation president and CEO. “The University of Wyoming is in their debt for the many valuable contributions they have made to the success of this institution.”

The Johnsons are both UW graduates -- Peter from the College of Business and Paula in the College of Health Sciences. They are the recipients of the UW Medallion Service Award in 2014 for outstanding support of UW.

Peter is president of Sinclair Oil and served as the UW College of Business’ first executive-in-residence in 2004. He also serves on the College of Business Advisory Board and is a College of Business Distinguished Alumnus. While at UW, he was active in Iron Skull, Alpha Kappa Psi and the Associated Students of UW.

Paula serves on many boards and volunteers her time for several worthy causes. She served on the UW Foundation Board of Directors and received an honorary degree from UW. Among her other volunteer work, she served with the American Red Cross in Ghana, earning a Red Cross Lifetime Achievement Hero Award.

“We live our lives in line with Winston Churchill’s statement on philanthropy: ‘We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give,’” the Johnsons say.

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