This past summer brought the tragic news that our beloved friend, Judge Horace J. Johnson, Jr. 77Ox 79B, unexpectedly passed away on July 1, 2020. Horace was a dear friend to all and a beloved and respected member of the Oxford, Covington, Newton County, and Emory communities, as well as a vital influence on Oxford’s Board of Counselors.
Judge Horace Johnson was one of Oxford's pioneering and most prominent African American alumni and spent years as a sought-after and generous mentor to many of our students. He had agreed to be the 2020 Oxford commencement speaker, and he was standing by to speak whenever we could safely gather to celebrate our graduates after commencement had to be postponed due to the pandemic.
In tribute, Oxford College Dean Hicks observed, “He made Oxford College a more compassionate, just, and fun place to be—he had the loudest laugh at every gathering. He was a fine student, a tremendous community partner, and a 29-year member of our Board of Counselors. He was an extraordinary mentor to countless students, over generations, for students of color and students of all backgrounds.”
Horace’s generosity extended not only to Oxford, but also to Emory in Atlanta, where a conference room in the new student center is named for him and his Emory fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha. He was a brother, friend, and mentor to many in his fraternity. Before his death, Horace served as Superior Court judge for Georgia’s Alcovy Judicial Circuit. He was elected President of the Council of Superior Court Judges in 2016, becoming the first African American elected to lead the statewide group.
Thanks to generous lead donations from Oxford College of Emory University alumnus Keith Burns 99Ox 01B and Judge Horace Johnson’s family, Oxford College has established the Judge Horace J. Johnson Jr. Scholarship Endowment to provide need-based scholarships to Oxford College students.
"I can think of no more fitting way to honor the memory and legacy of Horace Johnson than the establishment of this scholarship," says Doug Hicks, dean of Oxford College. "Horace touched the lives of so many students through his counsel, example, and generosity. The Horace J. Johnson Jr. Scholarship will make an Oxford College education possible for a host of deserving students far into the future."
Oxford College is halfway to its fundraising goal for the Horace J. Johnson, Jr. Scholarship Endowment. Won’t you join us in expressing our gratitude to Keith Burns, and honor the memory of our dear friend and classmate by making a contribution today?