On Friday, May 13, Alec Johnson, Ph.D., associate professor of entrepreneurship, was awarded the Julie Hays Teaching Award. The award, given each year in honor of Dr. Julie Hays, recognizes a faculty member who exemplifies the commitment she had to teaching and learning.

At the Opus College of Business, Professor Johnson focuses on entrepreneurial strategy and finance. He’s active in developing case studies focused on opportunity identification, business models, entrepreneurial management and entrepreneurial finance. He’s noted for developing (along with colleague James Ebben, Ph.D.) the Lemonade Stand Class, which earned the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship(r) 2013 award for Special Recognition in Entrepreneurship Education Innovation.

Winners of the Julie Hays Teaching Award are actively engaged with students and committed to continually challenging them. They also demonstrate a passion and enthusiasm for teaching that shines through in their creative approaches to presenting material.

Here’s what students said about their experience working with Johnson:

“There is not a more intelligent, harder working, high energy and compassionate educator within the university’s faculty.”

“I find myself applying the skills I learned from him almost daily in my job. His passion… inspired me to push myself beyond what I thought I was capable of.”

“He routinely challenged us beyond our comfort zones, especially our human and personal side. While challenging us, he continually affirmed what we were feeling during this process such as fear, anxiety, lack of confidence, etc.”

“His commitment to personal growth and finding one’s higher path in life, combined with his ability to equip us with a wide array of real-world tools and skills has made my education at St. Thomas a life-changing experience.”

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