Schreyer Honors College names educational equity scholarship after Johnson

April 29, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Schreyer Honors College will honor outgoing Dean Peggy A. Johnson with a scholarship in her name that will support students entering the college.

Schreyer Honors College Dean and civil engineering professor Peggy A. Johnson

Peggy A. Johnson, outgoing dean of the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State

IMAGE: Steve Tressler

The Dean Peggy A. Johnson Educational Equity Honors Scholarship will support students with a demonstrated financial need to meet their college expenses and whose gender, ethnic, cultural, and/or national background contribute to the diversity of the Honors College’s student body.

The scholarship will be endowed by gifts from the Schreyer Honors College’s External Advisory Board, the Scholar Alumni Society Board, and the Schreyer Parents Council. All Penn State alumni and friends may contribute to the scholarship.

“This gift was motivated and shaped by Dean Johnson’s perception of the opportunities to provide our deserving students with a world-class honors experience as well as her sensitivity and engagement with our Scholars from underrepresented communities," said Bob Edwards, vice chairman of the Honors College’s External Advisory Board. "Her energy and leadership have continued the growth and improvement of what is recognized already as one of the premier honors colleges in the United States. Her work will benefit the college and Penn State for years to come.”

Johnson, a tenured professor of civil and environmental engineering, has been dean of the Schreyer Honors College since July 2017, and she announced her plans for retirement last fall. During her tenure, the college developed a new strategic plan for 2020-25, including the creation of a new ethics program for Scholars and expanded initiatives with a focus on diversity and inclusivity, and appointed the college’s first assistant dean of equity and inclusion. Last fall, the college launched “Inclusive Conversations,” a new lecture series featuring guest speakers who bring expertise and perspectives on issues of inequity.

“It is critical to the success of these students that they have sufficient resources to put them on more equal footing with their peers,” Johnson said. “I am honored to have such an important scholarship in my name and especially touched that so many alumni and friends donated to make this possible.”

Johnson joined the Penn State faculty in 1996 and served as head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering from 2006 to 2015. She has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the ASCE-EWRI (Environmental & Water Resources Institute) and the ASCE Hans Albert Einstein Award (2016) and was named the ASCE-EWRI Outstanding Woman of the Year in 2012. She received the Penn State Howard B. Palmer Faculty Mentoring Award for her outstanding mentorship of junior faculty in 2014.

Gifts to this scholarship will advance "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit

Last Updated April 29, 2021