By John Brooks
CHICAGO (May 15, 2012) – An October groundbreaking will officially launch construction of a new science and community life center on the campus of North Park University, it was announced today.
The university’s Board of Trustees at its May meeting approved naming the new building in honor of Nancy and G. Timothy Johnson, longtime medical editor and senior medical contributor for ABC News, who the trustees say “define a life of exemplary service.” Johnson also is an ordained Evangelical Covenant Church minister.
Formal groundbreaking for the 101,000-square-foot Nancy and G. Timothy Johnson Center for Science and Community Life will take place on October 26. Site preparation will begin this summer with construction to be completed in time for the 2014 fall semester.
The Johnson Center will support a number of the university’s signature academic programs in science and the health professions. North Park President David Parkyn said the new building will enable the school to hire new faculty in several disciplines.
The new facility, to be located in the heart of the campus, will reflect environmental stewardship and energy conservation. The project will target Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification, demonstrating characteristics such as lower operating costs and resource conservation, as well as healthy and safe working conditions.
The center will feature 30 technology enhanced laboratories, academic facilities, and faculty and staff offices, as well as offices for University Ministries. Student co-curricular services will be housed in the new facility, as will a café and conference and meeting spaces.
Funds from the university’s $57 million Campaign North Park will pay for construction as well as the university’s Annual Fund, student scholarships, and Chicago-based academic programs and faculty development. The campaign is ongoing.
“This is an indispensable project positioning North Park for a thriving future,” said Gary Walter, president of the Evangelical Covenant Church. “I hope others will join Nancy and me in making a financial commitment.”
Timothy Johnson graduated from North Park College in 1956 and earned a seminary degree at North Park Theological Seminary in 1963. After completing a medical degree, he served as chief medical editor for ABC News from 1984-2010.
Johnson became one America’s best-known physicians, providing award-winning on-air medical analysis on Good Morning America, World News Tonight, Nightline, and 20/20. He was honored with the university’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1991. He also is the founding editor of the Harvard Health Letter and the author of several books on medicine and faith.
Johnson chaired a task force in 1979-1980 that recommended the university remain in its historic location on the north side of Chicago.
Nancy Johnson was trained as a nurse at the Swedish Covenant Hospital School of Nursing, Chicago, also completing studies in the sciences at North Park University. Immediately after receiving her nursing credential, she completed a short-term medical assignment in Indonesia.
The Johnsons, who live in Marblehead, Massachusetts, have volunteered considerable time to the university through their service on the Board of Trustees and on behalf of North Park’s two most recent fundraising campaigns, including Campaign North Park.
“North Park was the first stop for both of us in our long academic journeys,” the Johnsons said. “It gave us a moral and intellectual foundation that has lasted a lifetime – and for which we will always be grateful. We are both very pleased, but humbled by this naming honor.”
Editor’s note: John Brooks serves as director of media relations and news for the university.