Dennis Johnson Is a Doctor
      Judson University’s Board of Trustees awarded an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters to Dennis Johnson, a successful businessman, civic leader, and author during Judson’s 10 a.m. Commencement Ceremony held on Saturday, December 12.
     Johnson has enjoyed a successful career as a business leader and entrepreneur. He served as Chief Executive Officer of the Johnson Group, a privately held award-winning company of commercial printers and related services headquartered in Rockford, Ill., with companies in East Dubuque, Ill., Louisvlle, Ky., and China. He was co-founder and treasurer of American Color Corp., which has locations in six cities across the United States. He also was one of the original co-founders of Guaranty National Bank, serving on its Board and continuing on merging boards as well as ending on the Board of Chase Bank of Rockford, Ill. He currently serves as president of the Lingonberry Group, which operates the Stockholm Inn, a Swedish restaurant in Rockford.
     Johnson has been active in Rockford’s civic arenas. He served on the Winnebago County Board and Rockford City Council for more than 20 years, co-chaired the Bi-Centennial and Sesquicentennial Committees of Winnebago County, and served as chairman of the Rockford Police and Fire Commission as well as the Sheriff’s Merit Commission.
     Named one of the most influential people in the 20th century and a finalist for the Excalibur award by the Rockford Register Star, Johnson was the founder of the Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition, which draws thousands of visitors to Rockford during January. He forged an international partnership and sister city relationship between Rockford and Brovary, Ukraine; Changzhou, China; and Borgholm, Sweden. Johnson also founded the annual Leadership Prayer Luncheon, now known as the Annual Day of Prayer for the nation.
     Johnson founded and led Kids Around the World, an organization that has built over 925 colorful playgrounds; packed and shipped over 38 million meals for hungry kids; and held 701 training sessions for teachers reaching 3.4 million children with the Gospel in over 70 countries. Most recently Johnson founded Bibles for Kids, which provides illustrated Action New Testament Bibles in English and Spanish, using Marvel Comic book artwork. The Bibles have been distributed within the local community and overseas by short-term mission groups.
     “Dennis Johnson’s insightful leadership and dedication to sharing the Gospel in meaningful ways around the world have blessed so many people,” said Judson President Gene Crume. “Dennis embodies Judson’s mission of sharing Christ’s light in the world and we are so pleased to recognize his many accomplishments by awarding this honorary doctorate.”
     A member of Rotary International, First Free Church of Rockford and Boca Community Church in Boca Raton, Fla., Johnson also has served on several Boards, including Judson University, David C. Cook, and Rockford University. He was Chairman of SwedishAmerican Health System, Bibles for India, International Aid org, the Bible League, John Guest Crusade Board and Bill Glass Prison Ministries. He continues to serve on the Boards of David C. Cook, Bibles for Kids, Lingonberry Group and Kids Around the World
     Active politically, Johnson was elected as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1984. In 2017, he spoke to the House of Representatives in Washington, DC. concerning the value and importance of “play” in children to accelerate learning.
     Johnson wrote the book “Tell Me A Story: Orality: How the World Learns” with Joe Musser. “Tell Me a Story” describes the importance of storytelling and has forwards written by Steve Douglass, Oliver North, Evelyn Christenson, John Ortberg, Jr. and Joni Eareckson Tada. The book was published in 2012 by David C. Cook, Colorado Springs, Colo.
     Johnson and his wife, Evie, have three children and eight grandchildren, all living in Rockford, Ill.
     Congratulations to Denny for not only this award, but for all that you have done to live by the Rotary Motto, "Service Above Self".