William C. Johnson
William C. Johnson taught literature of the English Renaissance at NIU for 42 years. He was a frequent and popular participant in the NIU at Oxford summer program. He received a Presidential Teaching Professorship and an Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching award. His strong research profile, includes two books, over 100 conference presentations, and more than twenty refereed articles, many of them in important journals.
Professor Johnson also distinguished himself by sitting on almost every possible committee on the department, college, and university level, in addition to serving as director of the University Honors Program. He dedicated himself to sponsoring numerous student organizations as well, including the NIU chapter of the Sigma Tau Delta, Phi Kappa Phi, Mortar Board, and others. He made an enormous mark on the university.
Yet Johnson’s greatest contribution—both to NIU and the profession—has been through his work as Executive Director of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Society, housed at NIU. Under his leadership, sister organization Sigma Kappa Delta was founded for community college English students; Johnson also founded and leads the National English Honor Society (NEHS) for high school students. Sigma Tau Delta is the only honor society of its kind based in Illinois, and it is one of the largest, with 880 active chapters and more than 9,000 students inducted annually. The NEHS now boasts 925 chapters and inducts over 18,000 students yearly.