Written by Tri-State Defender
Back in the day, Cato Johnson methodically made his way through Memphis State University en route to a stellar corporate career that he has balanced against commitments to family and the Memphis-area community. On Feb. 1, his lifetime of achievements will be recognized by his alma mater, now the University of Memphis.
The University of Memphis will present the Authur S. Holmon Lifetime Achievement Award to Johnson during the opening reception for Black History Month. The reception will begin at 7 p.m. Feb. 1 at the Rose Theatre on the U of M campus. Sponsored by the Black Student Association and the Office of Multicultural Affairs, it is free and open to the public.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 1991 to honor Memphians whose lives exemplify outstanding dedication to the Memphis community and who are a constant reminder to today's students that hard work and dedication are true keys to success. In 1996, the award was renamed the Authur S. Holmon Lifetime Achievement Award in honor of the longtime University of Memphis administrator.
A native Memphian, Johnson has been senior vice president of corporate affairs at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare since 1985. Previously, he was vice president of corporate affairs at the Regional Medical Center at Memphis.
Active in public policy for more than 35 years, he is a former member of the original Governor's TennCare Roundtable. He was named by the governor to serve on the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, where he now serves as vice-chair. He was vice-chair of the State Health Planning and Advisory Board, chair of the TennCare Medical Care Advisory Committee, and a member of the Tennessee Hospital Association Bylaws Committee, the Tennessee Hospital Association Council on Diversity, the Governor's Healthy Wellness Task Force and the Tennessee Hospital Association Council on Government Affairs.
Mayor A C Wharton Jr. tapped Johnson to chair his Transition team and to serve as co-chair of the mayor's Advisory Council on Education. Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell appointed Johnson to his Advisory Council.
Johnson received bachelor's and master's degrees from Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis). He has served on the Board of Trustees of the University of Memphis Foundation, as president of the U of M Alumni Association, as chair of the University's Athletic Department Community Advisory Committee, and as a member of the Athletic Advisory Board of Directors.
Currently he is chair of the Fairgrounds Redevelopment Committee on the Sports, Recreation and Entertainment Venue Committee for the Pyramid and Fairgrounds, vice-chair of the Needs Assessment Committee (funding of capital needs for Shelby County and Memphis City Schools), member (and former chair) of the Southwest Tennessee Community College Foundation Board, chair of the MIAA Athletic Development Committee, member of the MPACT Memphis Advisory Board, and member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Board.
Additionally, he has served as the Board of Trustees chair for Leadership Memphis, executive committee member of the Memphis and Shelby County Sports Authority, member of the Memphis and Shelby County Public Building Authority, member of the Memphis and Shelby County Growth Alliance, member of the YMCA of Mid-South board of directors, and chair of the Cordova YMCA board of directors.
At Cross of Calvary Lutheran Church, Johnson is a Sunday school instructor.
Throughout his career, Johnson has received numerous awards and accolades, including inductions into the Inaugural Hall of Fame for the University of Memphis College of Education, Health and Human Sciences; the Black Business Directory Inaugural African American Hall of Fame; and Memphis City Schools Alumni Hall of Fame.
He has also received the Tennessee Hospital Association Meritorious Service Award, the University of Memphis Dr. C.C. Humphreys Golden Tiger Award, the Southwest Tennessee Community College Distinguished Service Award, the Tri-State Defender Man of Excellence Award, and the St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church Keeper of the Dream Award.
Johnson and his wife, the former Georgette Alexander, are the parents of Cato Johnson III.
For more information, call Linda Hall at 901-678-2054.