A rendering of the new Johnson Center for Science and Community Life.

The Time Is Now: The Johnson Center 

by Mary Nowesnick

Enter through a dramatic two-story atrium. Look all around — and up — as students and faculty rush to the most modern science labs and research facilities. Listen to lively breakout sessions in technology-enhanced classrooms. Visit inviting spaces for student services, for social interaction, and for contemplation. Take a seat in the atrium lounge or café overlooking the campus green. This is the gathering place to meet, confer, and recharge.

It is fall 2014 in the newly opened Nancy and G. Timothy Johnson Center for Science and Community Life, the latest and boldest addition to the North Park footprint. It is set in the heart of campus and well-positioned at the leading edge of science education and the forefront of vibrant college life.

It is where our mission flourishes to prepare well-rounded students in all disciplines, especially future scientists, nurses, doctors, and researchers, for lives of significance and service.

It is our legacy, our tradition, our future.

The Johnson Center for Science and Community LifeThe Nancy and G. Timothy Johnson Center for Science and Community Life:
Opening 2014

The Johnson Center is a major step in North Park’s trajectory of growth toward leadership among Christian liberal arts universities nationwide. The new Center will “position North Park to recruit students competitively and educate them effectively,” says Dr. David L. Parkyn, president.

The building’s design has evolved to meet the foremost requirement for any capital project at North Park: to fully meet the needs of current and future students. With trustee approval to begin construction this fall, the Johnson Center will more than meet its mandate, says Parkyn, by ensuring that “strong programs grow stronger and effective student learning advances to an even higher level.”

Science Excellence

As a specialized facility to continue our all important emphasis on collaborative student-faculty research, the Johnson Center will accelerate North Park’s leadership in science education. Over the past decade, student enrollment in the life and physical sciences and in nursing has increased by 35 percent. And our well-prepared graduates go on to prestigious medical schools and competitive graduate programs in the sciences nationwide — and on to distinguished careers.

The Center’s premier science spaces will open the way to discoveries and innovations, while renewing an appreciation of the wonders of God’s world. Featuring three floors and a garden level, the 101,000-square-foot building will house 30 technology-enhanced laboratories for biology, chemistry, physics, math, and psychology, along with additional resource, research, and conference spaces. Academic facilities will also include six multi-use classrooms.

Vibrant Community

The footprint of the new Johnson Center for Science and Community LifeToday, the quality of campus life is a critical factor in the competitive college market. The Johnson Center’s unique environments for social activities and student engagement will have a dramatic and far-reaching impact on North Park’s mission to educate the whole person. The building also will actively support the University’s commitment to environmental stewardship, sustainability, and creation care.

Students will have ready access to centralized student services, including University Ministries, student development, career development and internships, residence life, and the international office. Gathering and communal study spaces, including the café and generous atrium lounge, will create “a campus living room for conversation and interaction,” says Carl E. Balsam, executive vice president and chief financial officer, who oversees the building’s design and planning.

“We are blessed by our momentum as a University, including the success of Campaign North Park which has just surpassed the $50 million mark toward the final goal of $57 million,” says Parkyn, adding that fundraising will continue for the new facility. “Construction of the Johnson Center will quicken the pace of our momentum,” he says, “as we prepare for yet another major milestone — our 125th anniversary in 2016.”

Lifetime of Service

Dr. G. Timothy and Mrs. Nancy JohnsonNorth Park University has named the new science and community life center in honor of Dr. G. Timothy Johnson C’56 S’53 and Nancy Johnson.

“This distinction recognizes the Johnsons’ exemplary service to the University as donors, as campaign leaders, as alumni, as medical professionals, and as lifelong stewards of North Park’s mission and educational ideals,” explains Mary K. Surridge, vice president for development and alumni relations.

The chief medical editor for ABC News from 1984 to 2010, “Dr. Tim” is one of America’s best-known physicians, providing award-winning on-air medical analysis on Good Morning America, World News Tonight, Nightline, and 20/20. Nancy received her training as a nurse at the Swedish Covenant Hospital School of Nursing.

“As campaign co-chair with David Helwig, Tim has worked tirelessly to help us complete this building for our students,” says Surridge. “The dedication and support from both Tim and Nancy to champion a dynamic future for North Park University has been a tremendous gift to all of us.”

Next Steps

Make a gift toward the new Johnson Center for Science and Community Life.

Learn more about Campaign North Park.

Read more from the Summer 2012 North Parker.