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Agents of Change

Legacy and faith have been predominant themes in the lives of Randy C’61 and Judy (Gotberg) Johnson C’63. Each was inspired to attend North Park by their older brothers Dr. G. Timothy Johnson S’63, H.M. “Marv” Gotberg C’53, and Russell Gotberg C’56. Neither Randy nor Judy visited campus before submitting their applications, but trusted it was the right choice. Little did they know that decades later, their relationship with North Park would continue to play a vital role in their lives.

While Randy and Judy were students, North Park’s campus underwent several significant changes. Randy came to North Park Junior College and moved into Burgh Hall, a building that had only been in use for one year. The campus continued to evolve throughout the Johnsons’ time at North Park. Randy recalls that he was one of an assembly line of students who helped pass books from the third floor of Old Main to the newly built Wallgren Library in 1958. Three years later, when Randy crossed the stage at commencement, North Park had transitioned to an accredited four-year program.

The Johnsons annually visit campus for Homecoming and attend concerts throughout the year, taking note of the exceptional progress still being made. In October 2001, they were present for the dedication of Brandel Library.

“I bet they didn’t have students move all the books into the new library this time around!” jokes Randy.

Judy reflects that the changes throughout the years bring new life to campus. “As students, we didn’t think about the efforts required to provide the buildings we lived and studied in, but now we realize just how important it is to support the University and provide exceptional facilities for new students coming in.”

Eventually, these students included the Johnsons’ sons and their wives, Peter C’88 (who married Julie Nilsen C’93) and Mark C’92 (who married Jodi Monkowski C’2007).

“They were familiar with the campus because we brought them to basketball games as they were growing up,” says Judy, “but we never pushed them to attend North Park. We wanted them to make the choice that was right for them. In the end, I believe they observed our appreciation for North Park and wanted that experience for themselves.”

Randy and Judy agree that what North Park has given to them and their children is much more than a degree. “The relationships we formed at North Park are so special to us,” she says. “In fact, when we brought each of our boys to campus for college I think we had more fun than they did—reconnecting with so many classmates who were dropping off their children as well!”

These special friendships and memories are all part of the reason Randy and Judy wish to give back to the school that has given so much to them. Randy, who serves as co-chair of North Park’s President’s Club executive committee, says it has always been an easy decision. “North Park fostered our faith and provided us with an education, and continues to do that for others,” he says.

For 20 years, the Johnsons have been proud members of the President’s Club, one of many giving clubs that allow alumni and friends to partner with North Park financially. There are numerous opportunities to give back, and Judy encourages those who wish to get involved that no gift is insignificant.

“If everyone could consider giving something—even something small— it would make a meaningful difference in the lives of students,” she says. “North Park has added so much to our lives. . . .We want it to be around for years to come so others may benefit from all it has to offer, as well.”

For more information on the President’s Club and other giving opportunities, visit www.northpark.edu/Giving.