Why I Give
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addition to Meighan's being charismatic, a lot of fun and a real
joy to be with in the classroom and the field," Johnson recalls,
"he gave all kinds of people all kinds of opportunities."
Johnson's opportunities was a summer spent directing UCLA's archaeological
field school in Cedar City, Utah, a responsibility typically reserved
for senior faculty members.
would take a grad student out of state and turn him loose,"
Johnson recalls. "He didn't worry about the consequences. He
just sort of said, 'OK, here's something for you to do.' He'd think
you were going to do OK, even though you weren't quite so sure of
that. And then you went and did it."
after Johnson graduated and moved to Chico, letters from Meighan
would routinely arrive in his mail, missives describing tempting
opportunities elsewhere. Although Johnson decided to stay put, he
notes, "If I ever ran into any trouble, I could contact him
and he would help. If he recommended something, you would have no
reason not to think that it was going to be a great success."
Meighan died in 1997, hundreds of admirers showed up at his memorial
service, a powerful reminder to Johnson of how much Meighan had
meant to him.
back, I thought, 'If it hadn't been for this guy, where would I
be?' " he says. "I decided I wanted to do something. That's
when I thought, how about a fellowship at UCLA in Meighan's name?"
make it happen, Johnson continued to teach part-time for five years
after his retirement, putting every cent of that additional income
into the Clement W. Meighan Graduate Scholarship Fund. When fully
endowed at the end of this year, the fund will support graduate
research in the Department of Anthropology.
my attempt to give back to the university for what was a fabulous
education. I'm hoping," Johnson says, "that with Professor
Meighan's name attached to it, some student will someday say, 'I
just won all this money from the department. So, who was this guy?'
hopefully, somebody will know the answer."