Press Releases | General Education

KC Johnson to Receive Philip Merrill Award

Prize Recognizes Outstanding Contributions to Liberal Arts Education
July 27, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC—Robert David “KC” Johnson, professor of history at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate Center, will receive the fifth annual Philip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to Liberal Arts Education.

The prize, sponsored by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, is the only one in the nation to honor those who have made an extraordinary contribution to the advancement of liberal arts education, core curricula, and the teaching of Western civilization and American history.

“KC Johnson is not just a brilliant and respected young scholar with an impressive list of publications to his name,” said ACTA president Anne D. Neal of the 41 year-old professor. “He is also a passionate advocate for the study of American institutions and principles, who inspires his students by focusing on key subjects that are too often ignored.”

KC Johnson is the author of six books, including “All the Way with LBJ”: The 1964 Presidential Election and Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case, with Stuart Taylor, Jr. He has also co-edited four volumes of The Presidential Recordings: Lyndon B. Johnson and edited a book on international history.

Johnson received national attention in 2003 when the CUNY Board of Trustees overturned the Brooklyn College History Department’s decision to deny him tenure. The board found that the department had justified its decision by appealing to arbitrary non-academic standards. ACTA had vigorously supported Johnson’s appeal.

Johnson will accept the Merrill Award at a November 6 gala dinner at the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC. Launched in 2005, the award is named after the late Philip Merrill, a publisher, entrepreneur, philanthropist, member of several university boards and distinguished public servant who served six presidential administrations, most recently as president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Merrill focused his philanthropic efforts on improving the quality of higher education.

The past recipients of the Merrill Award are, in chronological order, Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University; Harvey C. Mansfield, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Government at Harvard University; Gertrude Himmelfarb, professor emeritus of history at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York; and Donald Kagan, Sterling Professor of History and Classics at Yale University.

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni is an independent non-profit dedicated to academic freedom, academic excellence and accountability. Since its founding in 1995, ACTA has counseled boards, educated the public and published reports about such issues as good governance, historical literacy, core curricula, the free exchange of ideas and accreditation in higher education.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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