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Jerry Johnson

2019 Commencement Speaker: Jerry Johnson

Jerry L. Johnson is a founding member and partner of the private equity firm RLJ Equity Partners. He has been involved in all the phases of the firm’s development since 2007. RLJ, founded by Robert L. Johnson and the Carlyle Group, acquires controlling positions in United States-based middle market companies. Johnson’s career includes experience as a merchant banker with Donaldson, Lufkin, and Jenrette, and as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company.

He was appointed by President George W. Bush as a White House Fellow to serve as a special assistant to the secretary of defense; his exemplary work on the Quadrennial Defense Review earned him the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service. He serves on the boards of Crossfuze (chairman), Naylor (chairman), Native Maine (chairman), Command Security (AMEX: MOC, Chairman Compensation Committee), Illumen Capital (Investment Committee) and the Library of Congress James Madison Council. He is a member of the New York Economic Club, Young President’s Organization, the University of Tennessee Investment Advisory Council, and the Tickle College of Engineering Board of Advisors. He is also a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Johnson received his MBA from Harvard Business School and his bachelor’s in chemical engineering, summa cum laude, from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. While at UT, he served as president of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and was recognized with the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009.

Johnson is a native of Atmore, Alabama. He and his wife, Cara Grayer Johnson, have two children, Cayden and Grayer, and reside in Washington, DC and West Tisbury, Massachusetts.

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