Darius Johnson '15
Major: Business Management
As the first Executive Director of Kent Attainable Housing, Darius Johnson is a Kent County High School graduate and a recipient of the Washington College Vincent Hynson Scholarship. He has worked with the Maryland Center for Construction Education & Innovation and more recently with the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy as their Communications Manager and as a Community Revitalization Project Manager. He currently serves on the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area Board of Directors and the Washington College Alumni Board.
This is tough. Michael Harvey and Lansing Williams for the longevity of their impact. I’ve known Michael since my youth—he and his wife had a program called Imagination Alley that I was a part of in elementary school. He taught me chess at the church I attended in Coleman (in the county) when I was in 7th grade; and in addition to my coursework, he was my business major advisor. We connect regularly to this day. Michael has been a constant presence and mentor in my life and I couldn’t be more grateful. Lansing is similar in that regard. He’s always been a voice of encouragement for me in my professional and personal life after college. During college, I took several accounting classes so I saw him regularly. Math never came to me naturally—I’ve always had to work at it like a muscle and Lansing made you work at it. He gave you the right feedback to know where exactly you needed to improve. There was no slack given with him either. I really struggled early in my last course with him (auditing) and with his help I really improved and finished strong. A bonus: his wife was regularly a substitute teacher for me in middle and high school, so it was great having another connection to him outside of WC.
Fondest WC Memory
Receiving the Vincent Hynson Scholarship to attend WC was huge for me. Growing up in Kent County, I spent my whole life driving past the campus, sometimes sneaking onto the field to play football with my friends around Thanksgiving or playing basketball in the gym. But being able to attend WC gave me a new perspective of a piece of my community that ultimately felt off limits and not really a part of my home. However, walking across the stage for graduation four years later changed that for me. I truly felt like WC became a part of home for me.
Let’s Hear It for the Liberal Arts
WC prepared me in so many ways. My writing dramatically improved. I went from being pretty shy and reserved to a major networker. I gained a broader perspective of people from having the opportunity to become friends with people from different countries and different classes of living. WC also helped me transform the way I think. The liberal arts style was perfect for me. It exposed me to so many different areas of knowledge in a structured way—which is what I needed to really grow into my full potential. It showed me I can soak up all the knowledge I want but I needed to take time to think critically about what I’ve learned, to combine it with my morals and ethics, and to figure out how to apply it in the real world. Lastly, it gave me the confidence and courage to step out into the world and explore whatever I feel it has to offer for me. Creating my own path along the way.
Get in touch with the local community and get engaged with civic issues and opportunities. But before you do that, do your research on the history of Washington College, Kent County and the broader Eastern Shore. This school was founded as a school for the region’s future leaders. It was deeply entrenched in the local community and we’ve gotten away from that. The College's unique value is directly tied to the broader community’s environment, history, and economy, which means the prosperity of both are tied as well. If you lean into your education and the surrounding community, you will prosper in ways that you might have not imagined.