Olympic athlete guest for Wellness dedication

Wed, 2012-07-25 08:46 -- univcomm
Anderson University is pleased to announce that Olympic athlete David Johnson will be the featured guest speaker during the dedication of the institution’s new Wellness Center , Saturday, October 12, at 10 a.m. Johnson is a four-time USA champion decathlete and a bronze medallist during the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. Johnson burst in the national consciousness in the famous “Dan vs. Dave” Reebok commercials, launched during the 1992 Super Bowl. The Reebok campaign featured the competition between up-and-coming decathlete Dan O’ Brien and the champion Dave Johnson to qualify for the 1992 Olympics. The October 12 dedication of the Wellness Center at Anderson University is free and open to the public.

“We are fortunate to welcome an Olympian who embodies our vision of wellness to help us on this dedication weekend,” said Dr. James L. Edwards, president of Anderson University. “Dave Johnson is a product of Christian higher education and continues to be a spokesperson with a refreshing faith perspective who understand the demands and opportunities of our commitment to develop the whole person for a life of faith and service.”

In addition to his appearance at the main dedication ceremony on Saturday, October 12, Johnson will meet with faculty, athletes, and coaches from both AU and area high schools on Friday, October 11, at 3 p.m. During the session, Johnson will share how he went from troubled youth to Olympic competition. To register for the session with David Johnson, please call 765-641-4481 or 765-641-4478.

Drawing from his own experiences, Johnson says the Wellness Center at Anderson University will be very beneficial for faculty, staff and students alike.

“Wellness is about developing a lifestyle direction,” said David Johnson. “The Wellness Center will be a place where teachers and students can come together—a place where they can understand the importance of the body, the mind and a focus for God. It’s the total body and person that will be affected and educated to go out into the world and represent Christ.”

Just prior to his senior year of high school, Johnson moved from his hometown of Missoula, Montana, to Corvalis, Oregon. It was in Corvalis where he discovered his athletic potential and the decathlon. His immediate success in track and field taught Johnson how to set goals and reach them, how to push to be the best, and how to give 100 percent. His energies became focused on a more stable lifestyle and a balance of education, faith and sports. Johnson earned the opportunity to be on the 1992 Olympic medal stand under adverse conditions. Heavily burdened by a serious stress fracture to his foot, he battled through two days of ten tortuous events. At the time, Johnson was the first American to win a medal in the decathlon in 16 years. Currently, Johnson is completing his master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, specializing in sports psychology and the impact of relationships on athletic performance. He and his wife, Sheri, live in Oregon, with their two daughters, Alexandra and Makenzie.

The dedication of the new Wellness Center at AU will take place during homecoming weekend along with tours of the new facility. The 132,000 square-foot Wellness Center project, with an estimated cost of $17.4 million, will incorporate health, recreation and wellness in all forms—spiritual, emotional, physical, social and connect the existing structures of O.C. Lewis Gymnasium and Bennett Natatorium at the northeast end of the university campus. The facility is the largest building project in the university’s history.

Anderson University is a private, four-year, Christian liberal arts institution of approximately 2,400 undergraduate and graduate students. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, the university offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and graduate programs of study in business, education and theology.