Crowley’s Ridge College (CRC) has announced that Richard Johnson, its current Vice President for Advancement has been named as the College’s next president, effective January 1, 2020. He will succeed current CRC President, Ken Hoppe when Hoppe retires from the top post on December 31, 2019. Johnson will become CRC’s 7th president.
Dr. Jimmy C. Smith, chairman of the school’s board of trustees, made the announcement of Johnson’s selection on Saturday, July 20, 2019. Smith says, “Crowley’s Ridge College has been blessed in its search for a President to succeed the very able and capable Ken Hoppe. We were blessed to have exceptional internal candidates from which to choose. In selecting Richard Johnson, the Board of Trustees is confident that it has selected not only an extremely qualified individual, but also an individual whose heart beats as one with everything for which CRC stands. We are indeed looking forward to the future and ask for God’s blessings on President-Elect Johnson, and the future of Crowley’s Ridge College.”
The decision came eighteen months after Hoppe announced his intention to retire from the presidency at the end of 2019. During Hoppe’s presidency, contributions of numerous generous donors provided the ability to greatly enhance CRC’s campus, facilities, and degree programs. New facilities included a Student Center and the Joe and Wanda Hall Johnson and Charles R. and Wilma King Honor Housing apartment complexes. CRC also acquired the Home Ridge Apartments at 5511 West Kingshighway, the Hillcrest House at 7206 West Kingshighway, the bookstore property at 6905 West Kingshighway, and purchased 40 additional acres on the south side of campus. Additionally, Hoppe helped CRC build and improve offices, classrooms, the softball field, along with baseball and softball field renovations, including a press box and restroom facilities at Pioneer Baseball Field. The campus also enjoys a nice concrete road system and annual technology upgrades throughout campus. CRC’s four-year accreditation and additional degree programs advanced greatly under Hoppe’s leadership.
Johnson stepped onto the Crowley’s Ridge College campus as a freshman in 1982 following his graduation from Biggers-Reyno High School in Biggers, Arkansas. He received his Associate of Arts degree from CRC in 1984. At that time, Crowley’s Ridge College was a junior college, so Johnson continued his education at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, and received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 1986. In December 2000, he received the Master of Non-Profit Management degree from Regis University in Denver, Colorado. Johnson has currently completed all required classes for the Doctorate of Organizational Leadership in Higher Education from Abilene Christian University and is working on his dissertation, with an anticipated graduation in December 2019.
Johnson joined CRC’s administrative team in 2007, serving as Vice President for Advancement. In this role, he has managed the annual gift campaign, grant writing, planned and major gifts, presented/preached at churches, hosted fundraising dinners in multiple states and major campus events, and supervised the public information coordinator and marketing committee. Johnson also serves as a member of the operational assessment and executive committees.
Prior to coming to CRC, Johnson served as Vice President for Thompson & Associates in Brentwood, Tennessee, a Christian based estate planning consulting organization. He provided annual gift/charitable estate planning consulting services to nonprofit organizations’ staff, boards and supporters, and, to churches located in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.
Early in his career, Johnson served Children’s Homes, Inc. in Paragould, Arkansas as Director of Campus Activities from 1986-87, then as Director of Public Relations/Development from 1988-2001.
Johnson has thirty-three years of experience in administration, with the majority of those years pertaining to public relations and fundraising, which included charitable estate planning, planned giving, annual/major gifts, matching gift campaigns, grant research/writing and proposals funded, capital campaigns, and strategic planning. He has presented a variety of these topics at several regional and some national workshops and seminars.
Johnson stated, “as President of Crowley’s Ridge College, I look forward to the opportunity of working with CRC’s board of trustees, co-workers, students, alumni, the community of Paragould and the surrounding region. I know we can rely on God, and on each other to further help strategically grow this quality, Christian, four-year college for the benefit of everyone throughout our service area.”
Johnson and his wife, Andrea have been married for 34+ years. They have three grown children; son, Brandon and his wife, Lacey and their two daughters, Hallie and Haidyn, a daughter, Bethanie Coleman and her husband, Seth and their son, Matthew, and son Logan. He and Andrea are members of the 7th and Mueller Church of Christ in Paragould, Arkansas, where he has served as a shepherd since October 2015.