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February 7, 2023

SVSU art professor receives ‘Distinguished Servant of Public Education award from MEA

Man flanked by two women

Saginaw Valley State University professor of art J. Blake Johnson was selected for the 2023 Distinguished Servant of Public Education Award from the Michigan Education Association. The award honors an individual who positively promotes public education – at any level – through union activity, political action and/or community advocacy. Blake received the award at the Human Rights and Excellence Awards Luncheon at the MEA Winter Conference on Thursday, Feb. 2. 

Johnson’s nominator cited the professor’s work with SVSU Cardinal Solutions, an interdisciplinary team of faculty and students that provides marketing consultation and graphic design services to businesses and nonprofit organizations in the Great Lakes Bay Region. Johnson formed Cardinal Solutions in 2013. Since then, more than 325 SVSU students have participated in the initiative, gaining hands-on, practical experience in the design industry before graduating from college. 

Johnson joined the SVSU art faculty in 2007, teaching a variety of classes related to graphic design and web design. In 2016, Johnson served as an exchange professor and Shikoku University in Tokushima, Japan, and as a visiting professor at Shenyang Aerospace University in Shenyang, China. 

Johnson holds an associate degree in art from Brigham Young University, a Bachelor of Fine Arts from ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Idaho.