Cornell University Johnson at Cornell University


Through the Eyes of Sam Johnson

Sam Johnson

An exhibition of stunning photographs by Sam Johnson '50 was on display last summer at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art and at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity. Many of the same photos were published in a beautiful book, Through the Eyes of Sam Johnson (Johnson Keland Management Inc., 2005). Imogene Powers Johnson, Sam's wife, graciously gave the Johnson School permission to reprint a selection of these photos in both the print and Web editions of Cornell Enterprise. They reveal a side of the legendary leader that is not widely known.

A pioneer of sustainable business, Sam Johnson was widely recognized for making the business world a better place. He built the Johnson organization – one of the world's most respected companies and a household name for generations – on a philosophy that always put people before profits. He was a founding member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and was appointed by President Clinton to the U.S. President's Council on Sustainable Development in 1993. He received a Lifetime Environmental Award from the United Nations Environmental Programme and was inducted into the U.S. National Business Hall of Fame.

Sam Johnson and his family have played and continue to play a key role in the Johnson School's history, development, and identity; their values and ideas have shaped many of the school's programs and initiatives, as well as its physical home. Their generous gift in 1984 helped to transform Sage Hall as the new home for the Johnson School, and they endowed three professorships as well as the Johnson School's Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise. H. Fisk Johnson, '79, MEng '80, MS '82, MBA '84, PhD '86, the chairman and CEO of S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc., serves on the Johnson School's Advisory Council.

While the Johnson School is named after Sam's great-grandfather and the founder of S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc., Sam himself epitomized the type of leader the Johnson School aspires to produce: a truly transformational leader who leaves his mark on the world of business.

The quotes that appear alongside the photos on the following pages are from a letter written by Imogene Powers Johnson '52, Sam's wife, in the introduction to his stunning book of photos, Through the Eyes of Sam Johnson.

View a slideshow of the photos