For more than 35 years, Peter Johnson worked at Columbia University — the vast majority of which was spent in the office of undergraduate admissions. A former assistant dean of student affairs, Peter would go on to become the director of undergraduate admissions, director of enrollment group special projects, and special assistant to the dean of undergraduate admissions and financial aid. He was among the longest serving admissions officers at any highly selective college. And he was our friend. Our business had its beginnings at college admissions workshops at Massapequa High School on Long Island. Peter, with his tell-it-like-it-is style infused with humor, was a big part of many of these workshops, demystifying the highly selective college admissions process to many stressed out students and their parents.
Peter Johnson, a Man with an Enormous Heart and a Hearty Laugh
As Cara Maines writes in a piece entitled “Former admissions director Peter Johnson remembered for connecting to students” for “The Columbia Spectator,” “‘Peter Johnson was a man with an enormous heart, a wise mind, and a hearty laugh,’ Wanda Holland Greene, CC ’89 and a University trustee, said. ‘Whether he worked in the dean’s office or the admissions office, he was always warm, approachable, and responsive. Sometimes he would just sit and listen with a smile, tell a story, or share a memory; his goal was always to encourage students to pursue excellence and to take full advantage of all that Columbia and New York City had to offer us.’…’Peter was just a tremendous mentor,’ Director of Undergraduate Admissions Jessica Marinaccio said. ‘His door was always open and people were always welcome to just come and talk about their lives and next steps. He guided generations of admissions professionals, generations of Columbia students. He was very much a guide and mentor and friend, and an example, I think, of what is right and nice.'”
We at Ivy Coach mourn the death of our old friend, longtime Columbia admissions officer Peter Johnson. We will miss him. And we know Columbia University will too.
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