MITCHELL KRAUS | Editor-in-Chief
Art Johnson, the interim president, said he is not here to make big changes.
“What I am going to do is significantly different than a full-time president,” he said. “My main role is to act as a steward for the university and continue the great work that had been done here.”
Johnson was born and raised in the St. Louis area and graduated from Parkway Central High School. Johnson said he decided to forego college and work in his father’s company, coordinating advertising and setting up publicity interviews for the big movie studios.
“It was a very specific business, and I wanted to get to work,” he said.
Before he retired in 2013, Johnson served as an executive at AAA for 28 years, spending the last seven years as president and CEO.
As to how he ended up as a CEO, Johnson credits his “extremely hard work.”
“You have to take the time to be a steward of the company,” he said. “My greatest strength is my ability to work with and manage people.”
Johnson took over after Michael Shonrock was put on paid administrative leave on Tuesday last week.
The quick transition has left the president’s office in a state of mismatched personalization; Shonrock’s name is still on the sign by the door, and a stack of Shonrock’s business cards sits in the waiting area.
Johnson has been married for almost 40 years, has two daughters and five grandchildren.
Up until a few days ago, Johnson was vice chairman of the board of directors, according to a statement released by a university on Friday. Johnson said he had to step down from that position to serve as interim president.
Johnson said the search for the new president will happen “as soon as practically possible,” but did not give an exact timeline. He is not interested in serving as president permanently.
“As much as I love Lindenwood and all that it stands for, my time here will be just until a new president can be recruited and hired,” he said.