Mark Johnson: the Board of Trustees’ chairman and his vision for TCU


The Texas Christian University stone sign on S. University Dr. Behind it is Sadler Hall, which offices administration, financial services and the Registrar.

By Hunter Geisel

As the TCU Board of Trustees gets ready to meet next week, the new board chair Mark Johnson is ready to see his goals put into action.

New Board of Trustees chair Mark Johnson. (Photo by Gregg Ellman)

Johnson was elected in the spring of this year and already has a positive vision for the university.

“I would very much like to see the university thrive,” he said. “I would love it to continue to see it thrive as I think it has over the last several years. We have had many great leaders in the past, and I’ve certainly had benefitted from what they’ve been doing. We all benefit greatly from what they’ve done for us.”

Maintaining this vision revolves around these criteria: academic and athletic excellence and focusing on areas that have become priorities through TCU’s strategic plan Vision in Action: Lead On, such as strengthening endowment and the growth of the future medical school, Johnson said.

“It will involve really everyone from the bottom of the board, administration and faculty, as well as students,” he said. “Everyone really coming together and honing that plan, if you will, for the next five to ten years.”

To achieve academic excellence, Johnson said he wants to see TCU preserve the improvements made to its academic profile, such as the continuation of the teacher-scholar model, where students are involved in various disciplines and come to know and understand their subject matter to apply it in their careers.

“There are so many areas of strength, and so it’s a continuation of that and bringing in the best professors and improving the academic profile of all of those things,” he said. “Preserving what has worked so well and just improving on that is how I look at that.”

For athletics, Johnson said he wants to see student-athletes get more involved off the field and understand the value of their sport.

“It’s not just about winning; it’s about involving the student in athletics and an athlete being involved in the community at large as well,” he said. “Athletics is very much a part of growing up and being a part of a team and learning to work with others — all of those good things, too.”

As for the endowment, Johnson said the growth in investments and fundraising will focus on providing student scholarships and providing faculty chairs.

“Those are probably two of the main areas that the endowment will have an impact and support the university as we go forward and really continuing to build that academic excellence that we want to strive for,” he said.

One of the other major priorities Johnson and the board are focused on is also the new medical school and program.

“We’re really getting our arms around the MD program, and that’s going to be such an evolutionary opportunity for this university,” he said. “I think we’re focused very much on that as being what’s going to be something that’s new and very much will change the university in a very good way.”

If you want to be involved with the Board of Trustees and administration with furthering Johnson’s vision, students can attend forums along with attending the student relations committee and Student Government Association meetings.

“I know it’s busy studying and that takes up most of everyone’s time and it should, but to be involved at that level would be really exciting to know you have that input to do what ultimately happens here is great,” Johnson said. “To be a part of that process is really wonderful.”

To learn more about Vision in Action: Lead On, visit to find other ways you can get involved with TCU’s strategic plan.