James Johnston ’69

19 November 2013

Class: 1969

Major: English

Residence: Chattanooga, TN

Deceased: January 1, 2008

According to the Carleton College publication, New Students – 1965 (a.k.a., “The Zoo Book”), James (“Jim”) Johnston attended Brainerd High School in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  In the 1966 Algol, Jim is pictured as having lived on 3rd Goodhue.  In the 1967 Algol, he is identified as having lived on 3rd Musser; however, the person in the photograph who is supposed to be Jim does not, in my opinion, look at all like him.  In the 1968 Algol, Jim is pictured among the students who gathered in the square in downtown Northfield in silent tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, shortly after Dr. King’s assassination.  In the Photo Essay section of the 1969 Algol, Jim is pictured among a group of students clustered outside of Severance Great Hall protesting against US Representative Al Quie, then the Republican Congressman from the 1st district of Minnesota (which included Northfield), who was scheduled to speak on campus, for Quie’s support of the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) program.  Jim’s photograph also appears In the Seniors section of the 1969 Algol, where he is listed as having been an English major.

My late wife Trisha and I were deeply moved by Jim’s essay in the Class of 1969 Reunion Book, Back for the Future, released in 1994 for our 25th Reunion.  We appreciated his trenchant analysis of student life during our years at Carleton.  We were saddened by the striking contrast he made between most of our classmates, who, in his view, had done great things, and himself, regarding whom he concluded: “I’m not worthy.”

Jim had it all wrong.  By his insights and his humility, Jim demonstrated that we weren’t worthy of him.

(Submitted by Andrew Korsak)

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