AA - Waldorf College, Forest City, IA
BA - Concordia College, Moorhead, MN
MDiv - Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN
PhD - Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN
Rev. Dr. Philip Johnson came to Finlandia University in January 2006 as campus pastor and assistant to the president. From August 2006 until June 2007, he served as campus pastor and associate dean of Finlandia's Suomi College of Arts & Sciences. He became the university's 16th president July 1, 2007.
Since 2007 President Johnson has advanced Finlandia’s mission with new initiatives in planning, governance, finance, campus leadership and visioning. Framing the university’s current strategic planning document is an innovative long-term exchange of properties for programs called Campus and Community: Together for Good, a partnership which draws on and builds community relationships and targets enrollment growth through the College of Health Sciences and NCAA Division III athletics.
President Johnson is a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) with 23 years of leadership experience in church-related contexts, including congregational ministry, teaching, and administration. He has lived and worked in the United States, Tanzania, Kenya, and Ethiopia.
From 1999 to 2005, Johnson taught at the Mekane Yesus Theological Seminary and the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He served as the seminary's dean of the Theology Department from 2001 to 2003. From 1992 to 1996 Johnson supervised the Nairobi Lutheran Parish of the Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church. Prior to this, from 1988 to 1991, he was associate pastor at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Circle Pines, Minnesota.
President Johnson earned his BA at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota and completed his M.Div. and Ph.D. at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is married to René Johnson, Finlandia's director of servant leadership. The Johnsons have two children, Simon and Neal. They are active members of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Hancock, Michigan.