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Overton R. Johnson Step Show and Memorial Scholarship

Dr. Overton R. Johnson was born January 27, 1923 and passed on August 9, 1982. He grew up in rural Dinwiddie County, Virginia. He had a love of agriculture and forestry. In 1948, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Vocational Education from Virginia State College (now Virginia State University). Upon graduation, Dr. Johnson began his career as an educator by serving as a Vocational Education teacher for three years.   

From 1948-1951 he went to Cornell University, where he received his Master’s in Agricultural Education and his Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering in 1954. Dr. Johnson was a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated. Dr. Johnson became the first Black academic faculty member at Virginia Tech in 1969. He continued to make Virginia Tech history by serving as the first president of the Virginia Tech Black Faculty/Staff Caucus, and as the first Black dean, serving as the Interim Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences from July- December 1975. At the time of his death, Dr. Johnson continued service to the Hokie community as Associate Director of Institutional Research and Planning Analysis. 

Dr. Johnson had a huge garden on his family’s property. Every Saturday he and his children would pick vegetables from the garden, process them, and pack up his truck and car on the weekends and deliver fresh food to the community. Even before it was “in fashion,” Dr. Johnson was concerned about food security in his community because of its connection to physical AND mental health. 

Dr. Johnson’s first professional job was in Culpepper, and he later served on Pocahontas Island in the Petersburg area. Dr. Johnson would have liked more Black students in agriculture and animal sciences, with the goal of more Blacks working in poverty-stricken areas. 

With this in mind, in 1983, corporate donors, and friends and colleagues of the late Dr. Johnson gave several gifts to Virginia Tech to establish a university-wide scholarship in his memory and was officially endowed in 1985. The Annual Overton R. Johnson Step Show was launched in 1986, and is held each spring to honor Dr. Johnson’s legacy and to raise scholarship funds.


Isaac Donkor

Kayla Scott

Kira Harrison

Lyonel Myrthil

Emmanuel McNeill


Betelhem Demissie

Renay Harris

Zoi Robinson


Sashana Travers

Lauren Brown

Jordan Lozama

Elisha Boyd

Sashana Travers

No Recipients

Marquelle Benn

Danielle Jeffers

Jaketa Linzy

Makeda Mesfin

Nneoma Nwankwo

Elisha Boyd

Hyquan Conner

Aida Gebretekle

Jamal Washington

Dream Varnadore-Johnson

Jemeka Cotton

Savannah Hazelwood

Derek Litvak

Shanae Mobley

Michael Pheng

Tamia Spells

Jessica Gil

Edwin Torres

Terrence Austin

Willie Frazier

Josephine Kenfack

Justin Sinclair

Tressy Coats

Mario Moore

Joshua Trebach

Whitley Johnson

Craig Keys

Alana Mallory

Shemeka Neville

Lashia McLaurin

Lee Murphy

Adedamola Omotosho

Millie O'Neal

Elizabeth Ann Isom

Jordan Moore

Kristine Obusek

Jeanine Szczesniak

Christina Gaymon

Fayven Estefanos

Jeri Gaines

Lemetris Johns

Darnell Parker

Merhawit Tekle

Abimbola Fapohunda

Nickolas Jordan

Derrick Pledger

James Wynn

Brian Hunter

Myron McClees

Keniah Robinson

Arkeisha Roberts

Sharnnia Artis

Harry Sherman

Athena Janelle Evans

Jovette Gadson

Theta Iota Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Zeta Alpha Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Theta Iota Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Theta Phi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Theta Iota Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Kappa Psi Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.

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