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History Peeps: Mary W. Johnson, Executive Assistant II

Mary Johnson has literally seen it all. Supporting History faculty and students since 1978, Ms. Johnson started as a clerk-typist preparing book manuscripts in the days before faculty had their own computers, when the department was in the Academic Building. She now heads an administrative staff of four people in the Glasscock Building, and has acted as the executive assistant to five different chairs of the Department. When she briefly left campus to take a job in Bryan in 1985, department chair Dr. Larry Hill personally tracked her down and convinced her to come back in 1990. Local to the area, having grown up in Somerville and established her family in College Station, Mary Johnson has helped hundreds of students and faculty make the transition to Texas A&M. It’s the people in the History Department and the excitement of campus life that keep her motivated.

Mary Johnson is also an avid athlete and can regularly be found at the gym or in Flourish Pilates classes. She played softball for many years as shortstop and third base, and was a dedicated member of the History Department’s intermural team organized by grad students in the 1990s. That athleticism appears to run in the family. Her granddaughter now competes at the national level with Thunder Elite Cheerleading, and you will often find Mary Johnson cheering from in the stands.

To what historical figure would Ms. Johnson like to say “Howdy,” given the chance? Mary Johnson turns to literature for inspiration and Maya Angelou tops her list. She would love to hear some of her favorite poems recited by Maya Angelou herself—perhaps “Still I Rise”—in the writer’s rich, melodic voice.

(By Kaitlyn Ross ‘23)