- School of Public Health John R. Endwright Alumni Service Award (1996)
In her thirty-six years at Indiana University, Norma Jean Johnson was a champion for undergraduate students, their education, their professional and personal development, and the protection of their rights. She enthusiastically taught undergraduate classes and was honored as an excellent and inspiring teacher. She received the John Endwright Award from the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation in recognition of her devotion and dedication to good teaching. "Johnny," as she was affectionately known to her colleagues, always placed the education of undergraduate students among her highest priorities.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, and raised in Veedersburg, Indiana, Professor Johnson received her B.S. degree in health and safety and physical education from Indiana University in 1952. She spent three years teaching physical education in high school in Connersville, Indiana, before returning to Indiana University for her master's degree in physical education and health in 1955. After teaching at the College of Wooster in Ohio, she joined the faculty at Indiana State University. In 1960, she returned to Indiana University as a member of the faculty in the Department of Physical Education for Women. Professor Johnson was awarded the Ph.D. in Physical Education and Administration from the University of Iowa in 1968. Her mentor and friend, Gladys M. Scott, served as her dissertation chair.
In her early years in the Department of Physical Education for Women, she focused her energies on the development of sports for girls and women in Indiana's public schools. She served on the Executive Board of the Indiana League of High School Girls Athletics Association and was chair of the Indiana Division for Girls' and Women's Sports. She continued providing leadership in the Indiana Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, serving as Vice President for Sports and Athletics. She advocated and promoted quality in officiating women's sports and she received the Fellow Honor Award from the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport.
During her mid career at IU, the Indiana Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (IAHPERD) membership recognized Professor Johnson for her service, electing her president of the organization. Four years later, she served as the president of the Midwest Association of College and University Physical Education and the following year was elected president of the Midwest District, American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. It was during this time, that her colleagues began to fully appreciate her ability to organize and manage professional conferences and educational workshops with quality and financial success. She organized, managed, or made presentations at over fifty-two workshops, clinics, and conventions at the local, state, regional, and national levels. She truly exemplified the adage, "If you want something done, and done well, ask a very busy person."
In 1983, Governor Otis Bowen appointed Professor Johnson to the Indiana Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine, where she served as chair for four years. It was, in part, through her membership on this council that she became a consultant to the Indiana Department of Education and, subsequently, to the committee charged with writing and assessing the Indiana State Health Education and Physical Education Proficiencies for public school students.
In 1984, Norman Jean was appointed Assistant Chair in the Department of Kinesiology, a position she held until her retirement in 1996. Her contributions to curriculum development, student services, and scholarship development enriched the lives of students and faculty alike. Throughout her career, Norma Jean consistently served the IU community. She was a valued and active member on a number of University committees: University Budgetary Affairs, Faculty Affairs, Bloomington Campus Promotions, and the Bloomington Campus Faculty Board of Review. She was appreciated for her dependability, her ability to carry through with committee assignments, and her ability to work well with others. In the School of HPER, she contributed her talents to nearly every committee during her thirty-six years at IU. She served on the School's Tenure and Promotions Committee and the Academic Council, including two terms as Chair.
In her last semester on campus, she received the IAHPERD Leadership Award. Professor Johnson retired in 1996 and continued to call Bloomington home. She remained active in national and regional professional organizations and continued to serve the department as academic advisor to undergraduate students. Professor Johnson died in her home surrounded by family and friends on January 27, 2000. What her friends and colleagues know is this: Johnny's spirit will continue to be in the stands cheering for the Hoosiers.