Community News

Johnson to speak at UT commencement


News Staff Report

When graduates of the University of Tennessee Tickle College of Engineering receive their degrees at commencement May 9, they will hear a speaker who will no doubt inspire them on to bigger things, who will celebrate their achievements … and who is from Atmore.
Jerry L. Johnson is the commencement for the college which was established in 1838 and has a tradition of commitment to excellence in scientific research and the training of engineering professionals.
Johnson is a founding member and partner of the private equity firm RLJ Equity Partners. He has been involved in all the phases of the firm’s development since 2007. RLJ, founded by Robert L. Johnson and the Carlyle Group, acquires controlling positions in United States-based middle market companies.
Jerry Johnson’s career includes experience as a merchant banker with Donaldson, Lufkin, and Jenrette, and as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company.
He was appointed by President George W. Bush as a White House Fellow to serve as a special assistant to the secretary of defense; his exemplary work on the Quadrennial Defense Review earned him the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service.
He serves on the boards of Crossfuze (chairman), Naylor (chairman), Native Maine (chairman), Command Security (AMEX: MOC, Chairman Compensation Committee), Illumen Capital (Investment Committee) and the Library of Congress James Madison Council.
Johnson is a member of the New York Economic Club, Young President’s Organization, the University of Tennessee Investment Advisory Council, and the Tickle College of Engineering Board of Advisors. He is also a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Johnson received his MBA from Harvard Business School and his bachelor’s in chemical engineering, summa cum laude, from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. While at UT, he served as president of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and was recognized with the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009.
A native of Atmore, Johnson attended Escambia County public schools until the ninth grade when he moved to Columbia, Miss., with his brother Ricardo L. Johnson. He is the son of Mary H. Johnson of Atmore and Marion O. Johnson, and the grandson of Nathaniel D. Holt and Mattie R. Holt.
He and his wife, Cara Grayer Johnson, have two children, Cayden and Grayer, and reside in Washington, DC and West Tisbury, Massachusetts.

Professional information taken from University of Tennessee website.