Dairy Johnson has spent his life serving the community, and for more than 18 years, he has helped guide students as they pursue their education at Navarro College.
As Coordinator of Student Success for the college, Johnson helps prepare students to transition into the next level of their educational journeys.
He also serves as the student advisor for recipients of scholarships, like the Opening Doors to Success scholarship, which is awarded to first generation college students.
Prior to his current position, Johnson served as Assistant Vice President of Student Services for 14 years.
A 1972 graduate of Navarro College himself, Johnson says he enjoys seeing how the college has grown and developed over time.
“I've seen generations of students come through Navarro College,” he said.
Entering the workforce at just 8-years-old, Johnson worked six years at a market on Third Avenue, before joining his brother, James Roberts, in the production department of the Corsicana Daily Sun where he worked for many years.
After graduating from Corsicana High School, Johnson and his brother became some of the first students to graduate from Navarro College with Associate of Applied Science degrees in printing.
During that time, Johnson said he felt called to the ministry, beginning as a deacon before taking over for the church's longtime pastor. Johnson has served as the pastor of Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church for 35 years.
The church will celebrate its 99th anniversary the second Sunday of July with a homecoming celebration.
Eventually, he went on to publish his own monthly newspaper, The Examiner, becoming the first African American publisher in the area.
The Examiner, which spotlighted the accomplishments of members of the community who may not have been considered for other front pages, earned several awards and distinctions.
Johnson served as publishing editor for 20 years until he stopped publication to focus full-time on his new career at Navarro College.
Among the many roles he plays at Navarro College, he also serves as a chairperson for the college's annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day program.
Johnson also organizes the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration and Black History Month community programs presented by the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, of which he serves as president.
Since Johnson took over, the program has expanded citywide, bringing the program to several local churches.
“It's been very successful,” he said. “We try to recognize the citizens who contribute to the community.”
Always busy, Johnson also serves as moderator of the Greater Rising Star Institutional District Association, over eight Dallas-area churches; Vice Chair on the Corsicana's Zoning Board of Adjustment; First Vice President of the local NAACP chapter; and Chairman of the Community Services board. He also served on the Corsicana & Navarro County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for 11 years.
Johnson and other volunteers offer tutoring for Corsicana students on Wednesday and Thursday evenings at Bethlehem Baptist Church's Learning Center.
“I'm involved in other things, but the most important thing is working with the students here at Navarro and seeing how successful they are,” he said.
Describing himself and his journey through life, Johnson offered a simple summary in the form of a quote from Maya Angelou: 'Nothing will work, unless you do.'