Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Family of Greg Johnston Donates Art Collection to Ball State Libraries

In late September, the family of Michael Gregory Johnston generously donated a collection of more than 20 modern artworks to the University Libraries through the Ball State University Foundation. The collection includes limited edition silk screens, acrylic on canvas artwork, photography, and posters.

One of two sons born to Michael and Jackie Johnston, Greg was only 40 years old when he was murdered this year during a robbery in Austin, Texas while on a business trip.

Greg graduated from Northside High School with Academic Excellence in 1985 where he earned several state thespian and art awards. With both an Ellison Scholarship and a Ball State Scholarship, he was admitted with distinction to Ball State University in 1985 and was actively involved as a member of the Student Association, Cardinal Corp, Alpha Lambda Delta, and Mortar Board.

In 1989 Greg graduated with a bachelor’s degree in actuarial science and with honors from the Honors College. In 1994 he completed his advanced education with an MBA from the Carlson School of Business at the University of Minnesota. It was during this year that Greg changed careers and moved to Minneapolis with Orion Consulting as a supply chain software integration consultant. Within a few years, Greg started a successful company, HowWhenWhere Technologies, Inc., a supply chain systems integrator serving major global clients.

He was one of a few individuals in the country who provided a specific skill in that field as a consultant to Fortune 500 companies. The most senior employee and protégé has purchased the business and plans to continue the successful business in Greg’s memory.

The first item purchased in this contemporary collection was Icon #1 (Radiant Baby) by artist Keith Haring, which Greg purchased in 1993. Altogether, there is a portfolio of five limited edition silk screens by Haring. Several pieces were purchased from local Minneapolis artists, including Vivacious II, an acrylic on canvas (60”x36”) by Patrick Pryor.

“It is a pleasure to know that the painting has gone to BSU. I am very happy that you have it,” said Mr. Pryor. “Thank you for making art accessible and an important part of student life!”

Marilyn Monroe and Spiderman are depicted on other large-scale pieces. The entire collection of art was donated to Bracken Library to preserve for students to enjoy in Greg’s memory. Greg deeply loved his family and friends and enjoyed traveling, skydiving, the arts and technology. Greg’s father said he leaves a legacy of devotion to family, hard work, humor and a practical and thrifty approach to the good life.

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