Hamline News

Professor Emeritus Scott Johnston Leaves a Legacy of Excellence in Life-Long Learning & Scholarship


Hamline University Professor Emeritus Scott Johnston passed away on Sunday, August 28, 2011 at the age of 88.  Johnston dedicated most of his career to teaching at Hamline University, bringing his deep subject knowledge, commitment to excellence in teaching, and devotion to life-long learning to generations of Hamline students. Johnston taught political science at Hamline for nearly five decades, starting in 1947 and serving as chair of the department during his tenure.  

He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Alpha Theta, and he received the Distinguished Service Award from Phi Gamma Mu, the social science honorary society for which he served on the board of directors and as its international president. He was active in several political science associations, serving on the board of directors of the Midwest Political Science Association and on the Research and Training Committee of the Middle Eastern Studies Association of North America.

At Hamline, Johnston won the Merrill C. Burgess Award for Excellence in Teaching. He served on all of Hamline’s major committees. He was well-published, with the majority of his writing focusing on his expertise in the Middle East, teaching, and academic governance. Johnston also served as Hamline’s first faculty liaison between Hamline University and American University, helping to establish Hamline’s Washington Semester program which allows students to go to Washington, D.C., take classes at American, and participate in an internship in the D.C. area. 

“Scott was renowned with students for his high standards and depth of knowledge,” said Professor Joseph Peschek, chair of the Hamline political science department. “His classes on East Asian and Middle East politics helped Hamline become the globally-oriented institution it is today.”

Johnston taught at Hamline until 1992, when he retired and was named professor emeritus. He continued to teach as an adjunct professor for several years after that.  He will be missed by everyone who knew him, loved him, and learned from him. 

The funeral service will take place on Friday, September 2 at 11 a.m., (gathering from 10-11 a.m.) at  Hamline United Methodist Church, located at 1514 Englewood Avenue in Saint Paul. A reception will follow the service. The private interment will take place at Roselawn Cemetery. Memorials are preferred to: Scott D. Johnston Scholarship Fund, Hamline University, 1536 Hewitt Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55104.