A Conversation With Dr. Francis S. ‘Frank’ Johnson
He Led Southwest Center for Advanced Studies, Which Later Became UT Dallas
“ A Conversation With…”
Frank Johnson’s Biography
We sat down for A Conversation With ... former acting UT Dallas President, Dr. Francis S. “Frank” Johnson.
Dr. Johnson served as president of the Southwest Center for Advanced Studies (SCAS) and presided over the organization’s transition to becoming UT Dallas and a full-fledged member of the University of Texas System in 1969.
Dr. Johnson was acting president of UT Dallas through July of 1971, when Dr. Bryce Jordan became the first president of UT Dallas.
During our visit, Dr. Johnson shared recollections and thoughts about:
• Dr. Lloyd Berkner’s role in recruiting him to UT Dallas.
• Space research he conducted using captured German V2 rockets.
• The transformation of SCAS into a fledgling university and the opposition to that effort in the late 1960s.
• The positive and lasting impacts of his time in leadership at SCAS and UT Dallas.
• The efforts the university is undertaking to grow and become Tier One.
“I don’t know that the organization could have survived without some leadership in this. The other part of it was the matter of financing—of course that was at the heart of it. It was proving more costly than private philanthropy could support…that was one of the things that led really to the realization that the only way to preserve the institution was to bring it under state support.”
On his time in leadership at SCAS and UT Dallas