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Loyola University New Orleans Names Recipient of 1999 Integritas Vitae Award

Loyola press release - November 19, 1999

(New Orleans)—Phil Johnson, a 1950 Loyola journalism graduate and former on-air editorialist for WWL-TV, is this year’s recipient of the Integritas Vitae Award. Loyola University New Orleans bestows the Integritas Vitae Award, the university’s highest honor, to an individual who possesses a high moral character in a lifetime of unselfish service without expectation of material reward or public recognition. Recipients of this award have demonstrated a courage of convictions and adherence to the principles of honesty, integrity, justice and preservation of human dignity throughout their lifetime. Johnson received the award at the Benefactors’ Tribute held at the university on Thursday, November 18.

Throughout his professional career, Phil Johnson has lived a life guided by the principles of the Jesuit tradition. As a graduate of Jesuit High School and Loyola University New Orleans, he has held a special place in his heart for the ideology of Jesuit education and has never shied away from bringing his convictions to the attention of others.

Johnson chose to make his career in his native New Orleans and joined the news staff of WWL-TV shortly after it was established. Recently, after 35 years as an on-air editorialist, he retired. During his years at WWL, he vocalized his interest and support of his alma mater. He editorialized about the university’s accomplishments in an effort to inform the entire community of Loyola’s special role in education; he brought many network personalities to the campus — Walter Cronkite and Charles Kuralt among them for special events; and he organized the first Communications Visiting Committee with a network of national newsmen and media executives. No request from Loyola was ever denied, be it narrating a video or serving as master of ceremonies for an event.

Many other religious and community organizations have also benefited from his good work. One of his favorites, St. Michael’s School for Special Children, was the subject of a documentary he wrote and narrated. It received national recognition and was the first of many activities he became involved with for the school.

As a professional communicator he has received countless honors and awards. His writing and narration of television documentaries earned him two Peabody Awards—the Pulitzer Prize of television and an Emmy. However, he is proudest of several Gabriels, awarded by the Catholic Broadcasters Association for productions reflecting Catholic teachings and morals. The first graduate of Loyola’s journalism program to attend Harvard as a prestigious Nieman Scholar, Johnson achieved such recognition in his field that some thirty years later he was named to the Harvard selection committee to determine future Nieman Scholars.

Just recently he was named to the Louisiana Broadcasters Hall of Fame and merited a Lifetime Achievement Award from his peers in the New Orleans Press Club. Loyola University New Orleans is proud to honor him as an example of Loyola’s alumni and an inspiration to those seeking their education and charting their future as Loyola students.

Past Integritas Vitae recipients include: Sunny Norman, 1998; Ronald W. Busuttil, M.D., 1997; Elizabeth Valker Lauricella and Frank B. Stewart, Jr., 1996; Adelaide Wisdom Benjamin, 1994; John F. Bricker, 1993; Rosa Freeman Keller, 1992; Frank Purvis, 1991; Dr. Jack A. Andonie, 1990; Robert L. Howard, 1989; James R. Moffett, 1988; Monsignor Roger P. Morin, 1987; Dr. Norman C. Francis, 1986; Sr. Anthony Barczykowski, D.C., 1985; Mother Teresa of Calcutta, 1984; Verna Satterlee Landrieu, 1984; Mrs. Martin O. Miller, 1983; Francis C. Doyle, 1982; Alden J. Laborde, 1981; Margaret Lauer, 1980; Sr. Mary David Stier, O.P., 1979; Alton Ochsner, 1978; and Archbishop Philip M. Hannan, 1977.