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Chad Johnson ’14 – Student, Athlete, Scholar

By Salote Tenisi '15 on April 8, 2014

Home Town:

  • Atlanta, Georgia



  • Jack Bruen – Most Improved Player Award (2012-2013)

Extracurricular Involvement:

Why did you choose Colgate?
I heard about Colgate in 6th grade when I lived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I had a teacher, Mr. Kendrick, who had played football for Colgate. That was my first time hearing about the school. Sometime later, when I was a senior in high school, the head basketball coach from Colgate came to visit. He saw my skills and potential as a basketball player and wanted to recruit me, so I signed.

How did you choose your major?
Basketball has allowed me to meet new people. I like people. Everybody has a different story. I love to observe and interact with people. As a person who has all these abilities to see, smell, think, jump, run – Why not help people? That’s why I chose sociology as a major because it deals with people. At first, I thought I’d be into the philosophy of economics, but I realized I liked people more.

What is it like to play at a Division I (NCAA) school?
Being a student-athlete at Colgate has definitely changed my life. As a student-athlete, you take on a different role where the ‘athlete’ part becomes a job. Colgate is rigorous, so your time outside is pivotal to your success, both as a student and an athlete. You have to be able to manage your time well. Being an athlete can be time consuming, so my GPA is not as high as I would like it to be. My commitment to basketball requires me to be present on campus, so I haven’t been able to study abroad.

What valuable lessons have you learned at Colgate?
I’m originally from South Atlanta, so going to school at a place like Colgate was a culture shock. Being up in “this snow globe of a town” has opened me up more. I noticed the differences between people of higher socio-economic status compared to people of lower socio-economic status. It has allowed me to deal with both sides of these worlds and be able to cultivate my own opinion of the story. Colgate has made me become more of a critical thinker. A lot of people get blindsided by the negatives, but I’m really appreciative of this experience.

Have there been any professors that have impacted you in a positive way?
I’m close to Professor Janel Benson. It’s funny because she was very critical and hard on me. I went to her office hours, and I told her “I don’t think you like me”. She said, “Because I push you to do better on your work, that means I don’t like you?” It didn’t hit me that the reason she was hard on me was that she wanted me to be the best I could be. We have a really close relationship because of that.

What advice would you give to incoming first years?
I would tell them to be open minded: be a sponge, be willing to learn, be positive, and be appreciative; just absorb everything you can from this institution because there is so much you can learn here.


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