This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages) This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. Please help improve it by removing promotional content and inappropriate external links, and by adding encyclopedic content written from a neutral point of view. (May 2024) (Learn how and when to remove this message) This article may have been created or edited in return for undisclosed payments, a violation of Wikipedia's terms of use. It may require cleanup to comply with Wikipedia's content policies, particularly neutral point of view. (May 2024) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
Johnson University
Former names
The School of the Evangelists
Johnson Bible College (1909–2011)
MottoFaith, Prayer, Work
TypePrivate university
Religious affiliation
Christian churches and churches of Christ
Endowment$160,000,000 (2022)
PresidentTommy Smith
ProvostGregory Linton
Academic staff
Students967 (2022-23)
Location, ,
35°56′10.32″N 83°45′1.44″W / 35.9362000°N 83.7504000°W / 35.9362000; -83.7504000
CampusRural 300 acres (1.2 km2)
Navy Blue, Gray and White
Sporting affiliations

Johnson University is a private Christian university headquartered in Kimberlin Heights, Tennessee, with an additional campus in Kissimmee, Florida. Rooted in the tenets of the Restoration Movement, it maintains affiliation with the Christian churches and churches of Christ.


This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Johnson University" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (May 2024) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

Johnson University was established in 1893 by Ashley S Johnson. It began as an extension of the Correspondence Bible College under the name "The School of the Evangelists". In 1909, following a student petition to honor the founder, the institution was renamed Johnson Bible College. This title endured until July 1, 2011, when the college transitioned to Johnson University.

The inception of the school was introduced in a sermon by Ashley S. Johnson at Bearden Christian Church in 1892, proposing a college-level institution dedicated to the gospels. Guests embarked on a steamboat journey from Knoxville in May 1893 to witness the laying of the cornerstone for the Main Building, completed in 1895 with a distinctive five-story square tower. However, on December 1, 1904 a fire originating from a chimney razed the original Main Building. In its place, rose a new brick structure dedicated in 1905.

The school experienced significant growth following the dedication of the "New" Main Building, leading to the construction of Irwin Library in 1912. Johnson's leadership persisted until his death in 1925, after which his wife, Emma Elizabeth Johnson, assumed the presidency until her death in 1927.

Alva Ross Brown became the third president at the recommendation of Emma Johnson, becoming one of the youngest college presidents in the United States at 21 years old. Brown's tenure lasted until his death in 1941.

Following the death of Brown, the trustees appointed Robert M Bell as the fourth president. Under Bell's leadership, the college navigated financial challenges and expanded its academic, financial, and physical infrastructure until his death in 1968.

David L. Eubanks assumed the presidency in 1969, overseeing continued academic expansion and the construction of new facilities, until his retirement in 2007.

Gary E. Weedman succeeded him, guiding the institution's transition into a university and fostering partnerships with other institutions and countries until his retirement in June 2018.[1][2]

L. Thomas Smith Jr. then assumed the presidency, overseeing significant expansions, including the construction of the Graham Center and the Commons on the Florida campus. Smith announced his retirement in late 2023, with Daniel Overdorf selected as his successor before February 2024.

Presidential leadership

Ashley Johnson, the first president and co-founder with his wife, authored the Condensed Biblical Encyclopedia.[3] When Emma Elizabeth Johnson took the reins in 1925, she was one of the earliest women to lead a college in the United States.

President Term
Ashley S. Johnson (founder) 1893−1925
Emma Elizabeth Johnson (founder) 1925−1927
Alva Ross Brown 1927−1941
Robert M. Bell 1941−1968
David L. Eubanks 1969−2007
Gary E. Weedman 2007−2018
L. Thomas Smith 2018−June 30 2024
Daniel Overdorf (President-elect) July 1, 2024 -


Johnson University awards associate, bachelors', master's, and doctoral degrees. It offers over 70 different academic programs organized into seven schools:[4]


Johnson University was first accredited in 1979 by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.[5] The university is approved by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) to operate as a degree-granting educational institution.[6]

Programs in the School of Bible & Theology and the School of Congregational Ministry are both accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education.[7] The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs accredits the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences in the concentrations of Clinical Mental Health Counseling (M.A.) and School Counseling (M.A.).


The university has two physical campuses and an online campus. The Tennessee campus is located in the upper Tennessee River valley on the banks of the French Broad River. The online campus is also located on the Tennessee Campus.

The Florida Campus, Johnson University Florida, is located at the site of the former Florida Christian College, in Kissimmee, Florida, just 20 miles south of downtown Orlando, Florida. This campus will close on June 30th, 2024.

Campus facilities

Since its founding, Johnson University has had many different buildings. While many are still in use, some have been refurbished and repurposed while a few have been demolished.[8]

Academic buildings

Campus life

Historic facilities

Former facilities


The athletic teams of the Johnson–Tennessee (JUTN) campus are called the Royals. The campus is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) since the 2021–22 academic year. They are also a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA), primarily competing as an independent in the Mid-East Region of the Division II level.

JUTN competes in ten intercollegiate varsity sports: Men's sports include baseball, basketball, soccer and tennis; while women's sports include basketball, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball.

Notable alumni

This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2024) (Learn how and when to remove this message)


  1. ^ Megan Boehnke, Johnson Bible College announces new name Archived 2012-10-14 at the Wayback Machine, Knoxville News Sentinel, April 29, 2011
  2. ^ "A Mission-Driven Name". Johnson University. April 28, 2011. Retrieved April 28, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Condensed Biblical Encyclopedia". Archived from the original on 2013-01-19. Retrieved 2007-10-25.
  4. ^ Archived 2018-05-04 at the Wayback Machine - Information about Johnson University academics
  5. ^ Archived 2018-05-09 at the Wayback Machine - Johnson University profile on the SACSCOC page.
  6. ^
  7. ^ – Search Johnson University for Accreditation information
  8. ^ The Story of Johnson Bible College. by Robert E. Black. Tennessee Valley Printing Co. Kimberlin Heights, TN
  9. ^ "Johnson University Receives Gift from the Graham Family Foundation".
  10. ^ [1] Archived 2018-05-04 at the Wayback Machine Johnson Magazine article updating on the renovations that were occurring on The White House.
  11. ^ The Main Building was destroyed by fire on December 1, 1904.