Ambassador Johnnie Carson and his wife Anne’s investment in the Center for Public Democracy was inspired by his experiences at Drake and the prestigious career that followed.
Johnnie, LA’65, devoted his professional life to public service, international affairs, and the expansion of democracy. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer, a career Foreign Service officer, and as the U.S. Ambassador to Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Kenya.
“My career would not have been possible without my time at Drake, and the excellent professors I had,” says Johnnie. “The Center for Public Democracy will enhance the University’s academic programs in public policy and pave the way for the next generation of Drake students interested in international affairs, public service, and professions that contribute to our democracy.”
The Carsons’ gift will create multiple Public Democracy Scholarships. The Public Democracy Scholars program is a signature initiative of the Center for Public Democracy. The four-year program will prepare students to be civic leaders through dedicated coursework and immersive engagement and make Drake the school of choice for politically minded high school students.
“As a long-serving member of Drake’s Board of Trustees, I’ve enjoyed being part of the broad discussion of ideas that has helped shape the priorities of The Ones campaign,” says Johnnie. “From the beginning of that process, I recognized the potential impact of the Center for Public Democracy and the wonderful opportunity it would provide to strengthen our University. Anne and I are proud to make this investment, and we are confident it will advance Drake’s strong tradition of producing global citizens committed to the highest levels of political civility, public service, and democratic principles.”