SIUE Alumnus David Johnson Creates Scholarship Endowment to Support Theater and Dance Students

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SIUE Alumnus David Johnson Creates Scholarship Endowment to Support Theater and Dance Students

Newton-JohnsonSouthern Illinois University Edwardsville alumnus David Jay Johnson made a career for himself in sports broadcasting by being the voice of the Triple Crown for ABC sports for 25 years and at racetracks from coast to coast for more than 45 years. 

However, Johnson’s passion is the arts, and making an indelible mark in that area was his good friend Michael Newton, a well-known arts administrator who passed away in 1986. 

Johnson, of New York, who graduated with a bachelor’s in history in 1966 from SIUE, has established the Dave Johnson and Michael Newton Scholarship for students in the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Department of Theater and Dance. The first scholarship of $1,000 will be awarded at CAS’ Honors Day Convocation in April 2019, according to Kyle Moore, CAS director of development. 

“I am happy to share my good fortune, and I hope that the students who receive our SIUE Dave Johnson and Michael Newton Scholarships are a credit to SIUE and the Department of Theater and Dance,” said Johnson. “Michael Newton was a great force in furthering drama and dance through so many of his executive positions in London, St. Louis, Kansas City, New York and Los Angeles. He was instrumental in theater and dance becoming better and reaching a greater audience in those cities and beyond.” 

Among other things, Newton was the director of the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis, president of the American Council for the Arts in New York and president of the Los Angeles Music Center’s Performing Arts Council. 

“Dave Johnson has created an endowment, which means $1,000 will be awarded annually in perpetuity to students who meet the criteria,” said Moore. “It’s wonderful to work with people like Dave who want to make a difference and help students on campus by paying it forward.” 

Other scholarship requirements include:

  • Financial need
  • Undergraduate students
  • Underrepresented students, with preference given to males
  • A 25-word responding to the questions: Who do you look up to and why? Why do you want to make theater and dance your career? 

“I wanted to keep the flame of Michael Newton alive,” reminisced Johnson. “I worked with him on so many projects. The theater gave me the most satisfaction in my life, and my mother’s family has roots in vaudeville.” 

The project that Johnson enjoyed working on the most with Newton was the annual Cultural Auction of Many Lots of Treasures (CAMELOT) that was on St. Louis KETC, Channel 9. Another fundraising project for the arts that the two collaborated on involved bringing live drama to grade schools and high schools in the St. Louis area. Students learned about acting, producing and working behind the scenes. 

SIUE also brought Johnson great happiness. “I really loved my time at SIUE,” he said. “It was a place of great contentment for me, and SIUE helped develop me into a well-rounded person. I had great teachers in William Vilhauer and Stuart Weiss. SIUE was a stepping stone to a busy and productive career.” 

“This scholarship/endowment is my way of saying thank you,” continued Johnson. 

To support the Dave Johnson and Michael Newton Scholarship, please contact Kyle Moore at (618) 650-5048 or [email protected]. 

Photos courtesy of David Johnson and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis: (L-R) The late Michael Newton, renowned arts administrator, and David Jay Johnson, SIUE alumnus. Johnson established the Dave Johnson and Michael Newton Scholarship for students in the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Department of Theater and Dance.