Hodges University, a private, not-for-profit four-year institution of higher learning offering 23 undergraduate and seven graduate degree programs of study, announced today gifts totaling over $200,000 from Hodges Foundation member and benefactor Kenneth Oscar Johnson, which benefit the capital campaigns at both campuses. Johnson, a distinguished chemical engineer and respected petroleum industry executive with ExxonMobil, used that companies Matching Gift program in order to maximize his contribution.
“Hodges University has benefited over the years from the generosity of Mr. Johnson, especially through his leadership of our Foundation as a Director” said Dr. Louis Traina, Vice President of University Advancement at Hodges. “It’s rare to find a company such as ExxonMobil that matches contributions of its employees and retirees three times over. Matching Gift programs are a great incentive for individuals to support their favorite colleges and universities, and I feel more organizations should follow ExxonMobil’s lead” he said.
Nationally, ExxonMobil Corporation employees and the ExxonMobil Foundation have provided millions of dollars to hundreds of participating colleges and universities each year. Under the ExxonMobil Foundation’s Educational Matching Gift Program, a donor can give up to $7,500 a year to colleges and universities with which he or she is affiliated and the Foundation matches those gifts on a 3-to-1 basis up to $22,500.
Matching gifts provide an effective way for employees and retirees of ExxonMobil to maximize personal contributions to a University and increase the impact of their gift. By taking advantage of the company's matching gift program, Johnson was able to combine his contributions with the ExxonMobil 3-to-1 match, turning his contributions into a total of $200,000.
Johnson’s donation will further his support in a variety of academic endeavors at the University. “I have always known ExxonMobil to be a strong proponent of higher education, and their gift matching program demonstrates their commitment,” said Johnson. “Knowing that most graduates of Hodges University remain here in our area, giving back to the economic, social and cultural fabric of our community makes me very proud of their accomplishments.”
Johnson started his career with ESSO (known as Exxon Mobil today) in 1942 with a net worth of $32. In addition to having several U.S. patents to his credit, Johnson’s 32-year career culminated with his rise to Manager of Wholesale Sales for Exxon. In 1974, he became CEO of Florida-based Belcher Oil whose company earnings annually doubled under his leadership.
A separate donation from Johnson in 2006 lead to the University naming the Kenneth Oscar Johnson School of Business in honor of his legacy of professional excellence, entrepreneurial ingenuity and generous support of Hodges University’s educational mission.