Oscar Johnson was a distinguished chemical engineer, respected petroleum
industry executive and a venture capitalist who helped small companies succeed.
To honor his legacy of professional excellence, entrepreneurial ingenuity and generous
support of Hodges University’s educational mission, the university renamed its
School of Business to the Johnson School of Business at Hodges University in
Johnson commented on how honored he was to have
his name associated with Hodges University. He observed, “I’ve watched this
school grow over the years. The dedication with which its staff and faculty
have worked to help people better their lives is important for families and the
Southwest Florida community.”
Johnson was raised in Minnesota. His father died when
he was three, leaving his mother to raise him and a younger sister. He started
developing his entrepreneurial skills early in life; selling his mother’s baked
goods, maintaining a paper route, working on a farm and frequently fishing for
the evening meal. Tragedy struck again when his mother died when he was 15, leaving
Johnson to support himself and his younger sister. He worked his way through
the University of Minnesota, earning a Bachelor of Science in chemical
He started his career with ESSO (known as Exxon
Mobil today) in 1942 with a net worth of $32. Johnson immediately worked to
develop new high-octane fuels to power America’s fleet of fighter planes that
emerged during World War II. 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
In 1974, he became CEO of Florida-based Belcher
Oil whose company earnings doubled annually under his leadership. Three years
later, he negotiated the sale of Belcher to Coastal Corporation where, in
addition to maintaining executive responsibilities, he served as a member of
the parent board of directors. Johnson has also served on other various boards
of directors: Southeast Bank, New World Symphony, Florida State Chamber of
Commerce and Citizens Board of the University of Miami. In addition to his
current endowment, Johnson has previously named state-of-the-art computer rooms at Hodges University to honor his deceased wife of
58 years, Margery Johnson.
Johnson always stressed the importance of
integrity, character and reputation. He often spoke of the art of negotiation,
knowing how to deal with people and understanding differing global and cultural
perspectives as essential to forging success in the world of business today.
Until his passing on October 15, 2008, Johnson resided in Naples, Florida;
Durango, Colorado; and Houston, Texas, where his son, Eric, and two grandchildren
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