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Roger I. Johnson (B.S., Physics, 1962)


I have been married to my wife Vicki for 45 years.

We have two sons. We have three grandchildren whose sporting escapades we enjoy immensely. After earning a Master of Arts Degree in Teaching from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, I taught physics in publically supported institutions for two years in Connecticut, one year in the New York State College and University System, and then 35 years in the Minnesota State College and University System (MNSCU). Along the way I completed certificate programs in Astrophysics at the University of Rochester, Nuclear Engineering at the University of Missouri at Rolla, and doctoral work in Educational Administration at the University of Minnesota. I never lost the lust for learning! I left MNSCU in 2000. I did part-time adjunct teaching at Northwestern College in Roseville, MN. I finally retired in 2005. I taught calculus-based physics and engineering courses, but filled a full-time position with astronomy, algebra-based physics, and physics for nurses, physics for ultrasonographers, and physics for people who do not generally like physics, but needed an elective. It was a joyous experience teaching the subjects I loved. I have several fond memories from my time as an undergraduate: helping build nearly 200 electronic circuits used to count cosmic ray particles and
launching them on balloon flights, following the telemetric transmission of data to ground receivers was a joy that was preparative for graduate school and remunerative for someone who needed to work his way through school. Being the secretary, then president of the University’s Student Section of the American Institute of Physics familiarized me with most of the faculty. Arranging for the faculty to give talks to our Club was great fun. I simultaneously served on the IT Engineering Council, as a student representative from the Department of Physics. I was a ChemE major as a freshman; but one quarter of Physics with George Freier and I was hooked. Dr. Freier made physics come alive and made so much sense to me, that I changed majors. His blackboard artwork and general delivery and prowess at demonstrations were mesmerizing. I emulated his style as best I could in my own physics teaching career. Dr. William Zimmerman was a professor who captured my attention. He was one who added the gift of rhetorical injection and a rational flow of ideas to his development of theory and problem solutions that I found particularly exciting and useful in my own teaching. Finally, I found in Dr. Walter Johnson’s Senior Lab a love for following through with detailed experiments that was far more enlightening than the dry freshman laboratories. He showed me the now obvious connection
between theory and experiment that every physics student needs to
admire about the subject. I have always regarded my education at the
SPA as superior, and I have never regretted one moment, one course, or
one professor. The academic strength of the University has always been
a “shoulder to lean on” even as I taught at other colleges in Minnesota.