Ben F. Johnson Jr. Public Service Award

Honoring An Exceptional Georgia Lawyer

Johnson, founding deanThe Ben F. Johnson Jr. Public Service Award is presented each year to a living Georgia attorney whose overall accomplishments reflect the high tradition of selfless public service that our founding dean, Ben F. Johnson Jr., exemplified during his life.

Throughout his career, Johnson advocated for women and minorities, including helping argue a landmark legal case before the Georgia Supreme Court in 1962, successfully challenging a state law that denied tax exemptions to integrated private schools, and seeking support for a program to help recruit African American law students during his years as dean of Emory University School of Law.

Johnson also was elected to a state senate seat representing DeKalb County, serving in the Legislature from 1962-1969. He was the principal author of the legislation creating the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). At Georgia State Law, he helped make possible the return of ABA-accredited, part-time legal education to Atlanta students.

“Ben F. Johnson Jr.’s leadership and dedication to public service is exemplary,” said Wendy F. Hensel, dean and professor of law. “We are proud to honor his legacy with an award in is name.”

Submit your letter of nomination and any supporting materials to award@gsulaw.net by 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1. The award is intended to be given to a person who is living at the time the award is conferred.

Nominations and supporting materials may also be submitted by mail to:

Professor Mary F. Radford
Johnson Award Selection Committee
Georgia State University College of Law
P.O. Box 4037
Atlanta, GA 30302-4037

The college is accepting nominations for the 2019 award through 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1.

  • 2018: Edward J. ‘Jack’ Hardin
  • 2017: Bobby Lee Cook
  • 2016: Aimee Maxwell (M.Ed '83, J.D. '87)
  • 2015: Rita A. Sheffey
  • 2014: Miles J. Alexander
  • 2013: Judith A. O’Brien
  • 2012: Randall L. Hughes
  • 2011: Emmet J. Bondurant
  • 2010: Horace Sibley
  • 2009: Steven Gottlieb
  • 2008: Judge Orinda D. Evans
  • 2007: John T. Marshall
  • 2006: Linda K. DiSantis
  • 2005: Judge Anthony A. Alaimo
  • 2004: Judge Robert Benham
  • 2003: Stephen B. Bright
  • 2002: Griffin B. Bell
  • 2001: Clifford Oxford
  • 2000: Judge Luther A. Alverson
  • 1999: Paul Cadenhead
  • 1998: Randolph W. Thrower
  • 1997: State Justice Dorothy Toth Beasley
  • 1996: State Justice Harold G. Clarke
  • 1995: Donald L. Hollowell
  • 1994: Judge Elbert P. Tuttle

  • Mary F. Radford, professor of law and committee chair
  • Cass Brewer, associate professor of law
  • Ronald J. Freeman Sr. (J.D. '85)

Board of Visitors

  • Ben Johnson III;
  • Julian Juergensmeyer, Ben F. Johnson Chair in Law
  • Natsu Taylor Saito, Distinguished University Professor and professor of law
  • Corneill A. Stephens, professor of law
  • Beth Tanis - Chair, Board of Visitors
  • Anne Ware Lewis (J.D. '89) - Law Alumni Council

Frequently Asked Questions