News and Information
Science building renamed for longtime professor Lamar Johanson
Tarleton State University
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 11, 2014
STEPHENVILLE, Texas—Tarleton unveiled a new name for its Science Building April 11 to honor longtime professor and philanthropist Dr. Lamar Johanson.
Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio and Dr. Karen Murray, provost and executive vice president of academic affairs, each praised Johanson for his integrity, commitment and dedication to Tarleton.
“Lamar Johanson has become a Tarleton legend in his own lifetime,” Murray said. With the Lamar Johanson Science Building, she added, “his legacy will live forever.”
Johanson retired in 2001 after 40 years of service to Tarleton. Among other duties, he served as a professor of biological sciences, chairman of the Department of Biological Sciences, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and as the first executive director of Tarleton State University System Center-Central Texas in Killeen. The center has since become Texas A&M University-Central Texas.
“This is truly a remarkable day, the capstone of a 40-year career for a country boy,” Johanson said. He went on to thank the university “for providing the place, the environment and the culture for me to do what I enjoyed the most—teach and work with students. Nothing is more satisfying.”
Johanson, a native of San Saba County, earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from what was then Southwest Texas State Teachers College in San Marcos. He was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force after graduation in 1958.
He married Marilynn Timberlake in 1960, and their first home was at Chanute AFB in Rantoul, Ill. Johanson was clinical laboratory officer in charge of the hospital lab and pharmacy.
Following the completion of his military duty, the couple moved to Stephenville in 1961 after Lamar accepted a position at Tarleton as an instructor in the Department of Biological Sciences. He took a leave of absence from Tarleton in 1963 to earn his doctorate in plant physiology and biochemistry from Texas A&M University. They returned to Tarleton in 1967.
In 2012, the Johansons made a life estate gift, estimated to be in excess of $5 million, for the benefit of Tarleton. The gift included nearly 1,700 acres of farm and ranch land, with mineral rights, in San Saba and Mills counties. Terms of the agreement allowed a portion of the property to be used as an academic laboratory to support Tarleton research, academic programs and other university functions, while another portion provided for scholarships and created a maintenance endowment.
While their parents did not have the opportunity to go to college, Lamar Johanson said at the time, “they all valued a college education and they instilled in both Marilynn and me the need and value of a college education. Because of the effort and hard work by those who came before us a nice asset was developed, and today we are passing on a large portion of that asset along to help students gain a college education. We know of no way to better invest in the future of this great nation of ours than to invest in the education of our youth.”
Today the Johansons live on the Timberlake Ranch in the Rye Valley community of Mills County. The ranch became home to Marilynn's grandparents, W.C. and Effie Stephen Timberlake, in 1902. Located 15 miles from Goldthwaite, the land is surrounded on three sides by the Colorado River.
The Johansons maintain ranching and farming interests in both Mills and San Saba counties. They produce coastal hay and wheat and raise quality Braford cattle.
Tarleton State University
A member of The Texas A&M University System
Contact: Joe Michael Feist