The James A. Johnson Scholarship Award was established by James’ son, Alfred I. Johnson. 

This award provides financial support to undergraduates who are looking to pursue a career path in politics and public service and are actively engaged with the University of Minnesota. This engagement can look like participating in one or more student organizations, the student government, a college or departmental advisory board, or any community organizations that are committed to the public good of the area. 

This award was inspired by James Johnson’s time at the University of Minnesota, where he graduated in 1966 with a B.A. in Political Science. After graduation, James served as Executive Assistant to Vice President Walter Mondale and is still the Chairman Emeritus of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Brookings Institute today. While at the University of Minnesota, James served as the President of the Minnesota Student Association. His passion for politics and public service was inspired by his father, Alfred Ingvald Johnson, who was a former speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives and a former University of Minnesota Regent from 1959-1965. 

The world of politics is a challenging but rewarding one, which is why the James A. Johnson Scholarship Award is so important. It encourages students who already have a particular interest in public service to turn their passion into a lucrative career in the industry. 

To be eligible for the award, a student must be an undergraduate in their Junior or Senior year at the University of Minnesota. They must have already been a recipient of that year’s President’s Student Leadership and Service Award (PSLSA) and must demonstrate their engagement with the University of Minnesota by being involved in student organizations or within their local community. 

A student cannot nominate themselves for this award, but are only considered after receiving the PSLSA. That committee then sends over a list of eligible candidates to the James A. Johnson Award selection committee. All candidates are then interviewed for the award and are notified about the committee’s selection as soon as a decision has been made.  

Every year, two juniors or seniors will be chosen to be the recipients of the $1,940 scholarship. You can see the updated list of recipients for every year on the PSLSA’s website, as well as recipients of the other prestigious awards that are possible only through the University of Minnesota.

This year’s winners were Jude Goossens, a Philosophy and Neuroscience major, and Jael Kerandi, a Finance and Marketing major with a minor in Business Law and Leadership. Congratulations, Jude and Jael!