In 2018, Johnson University launched a Greater Knoxville Advisory Board to help the University develop stronger and more strategic relationships with the Greater Knoxville region. Currently, twenty-four of Knoxville's educational, political, and business leaders are part of the Board, chaired by Dale Keasling (Chairman of Home Federal Bank). These leaders have already worked with President Smith to create new partnerships with the Emerald Youth Foundation, Legacy Parks, the Change Center, Young Life Knoxville, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and other organizations in the city. This initiative is the culmination of over ten years of intentional engagement with the Knoxville community through such programs as the Urban Alliance and the Future of Hope Institute.
On August 1, Matt Johnson will join the Johnson University staff as Director of Community Engagement. This new position is responsible for working closely with both Johnson leadership, the Advisory Board, and community partners to develop new opportunities for collaboration and strategic engagement in Knoxville. In this role, Matt will build relationships with community organizations, seek to match Johnson University's resources with local needs, and facilitate faculty support and student participation in community partnerships.
Matt received his bachelor's and master's degrees in music performance from Ball State University and his master of ministry degree from Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as senior pastor at Levittown Christian Church in Levittown, Pennsylvania since 2003, and has demonstrated increasing commitment and skill in community-building. President Smith commented: “What Matt brings to the table is a strong overall vision of the University’s role in the local community and a sense of calling to build relationships and partnerships that foster mutual benefits that will fulfill the mission of Johnson University.”