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Long-time Employee Mike Johnson Gives Commencement Speech Upon Completion of his Construction Degree

April 29, 2021


On Saturday May 8 at 9:00 a.m. at Northrup Auditorium at the University of Minnesota, RJM’s Director of Quality Control Mike Johnson will give the commencement speech at this year’s College of Continuing & Professional Studies graduation ceremony. He was invited by the faculty to give the commencement address after completing his degree in Construction Management. He began taking classes part-time in 2012. 


“When my academic advisor nominated me to give the commencement speech, at first I thought it was a joke: I am a construction person and I build things. I do not give speeches,” Mike explained.  


Mike has worked at RJM for 20 years and started his career in carpentry. Many have wondered why he chose to go back to school to finish his degree long after he had already carved out his career path. Mike felt he needed to do it, not only for himself and his family but also to enhance his daily work life and contribute ideas learned outside of a practical standpoint.  


The learning experience was often a two-way street. His years on the job, seeing the real-life situations he and his classmates could only touch upon in a classroom setting, also enriched the learning experience of his fellow students.  “During discussions in many group projects, I was often told by fellow students—who were of course much younger than me— ‘That is something my dad would say.’ Truth be told, that bothered me a little bit at first, but I learned to embrace it and say, ‘Sounds like your dad is an intelligent guy.’” 


As an older student who returned later in life to complete his college studies while also working in the field and raising a family, he has learned to adapt and switch gears to make it all work. Now, as he graduates, he looks back on his decision to get a degree and doesn’t regret one minute of it.  


Join us in celebrating Mike Johnson’s admirable achievement in sticking to the plan to complete his degree!  

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