Why I Give
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L. JOHNSON '57, M.A. '62:
REMEMBERING A MENTOR
makes it sound like it's no big deal. "I'm just trying to start
this fellowship," Keith Johnson says over the phone from his
home in Chico, Calif.
voice sounds younger than that of a man who earned his B.A. in anthropology
from UCLA in 1957. After he completed his M.A. in 1962, he and his
wife, Karen '57, and their 3-year-old son, Christopher, headed north,
where Johnson took a job as the sole anthropology faculty member
at California State University, Chico. He ended up almost single-handedly
building that school's anthropology department and also founded
the Museum of Anthropology in Chico in 1970.
recently retired but only in theory. Now he's working double-time
to come up with a $100,000 gift to UCLA to honor his mentor.
late Professor of Anthropology Clement W. Meighan was, for Johnson
and countless others, an inspirational, heroic figure. Nicknamed
"The Prof" as a child for his intelligence and voracious
reading habits, Meighan completed much of his undergraduate work
at UC Berkeley while in a hospital bed convalescing from combat
injuries he received in World War II. He went on to become a leading
figure in California archaeology.
Johnson arrived at UCLA as a 17-year-old freshman, Meighan had been
on the faculty for only a year and was serving as adviser to new
students. The campus, Johnson recalls, "was huge." Meighan
helped cut UCLA down to size for Johnson and his fellow freshmen,
while simultaneously opening doors for them into a wide new world.