Advising assistant welcomes all

By Obed Manuel
Opinion & Copy Editor
Gabriel Secundino
Distribution Manager

Timothy Johnson of the Brookhaven College Welcome Center keeps his sticky-note-filled Bible on a small filing cabinet under his desk. He said he picks up the black leather-bound book whenever he has downtime or feels “inspired.”

Johnson, a devout Christian, said the biblical principles he taught himself to live by help him keep a peaceful demeanor while on the job at Brookhaven.

“A lot of people see me here twiddling my thumbs, think I do nothing and tell me ‘I want your job,’” Johnson said. “I tell them, ‘You can have it; I’d like to see you try my job.’”

Johnson is a departmental assistant to advising, but said he does much more than just printing out advising reports, greeting people and pointing them in the right direction.

“Sometimes I’m running here,” Johnson said. “Sometimes I’m running over there, helping any way I can.”

As often as he can, Johnson walks around the S Building, greeting other employees from the various offices on the first floor.

When Brookhaven has visitors from universities and community service organizations, he said he greets them to “help them feel accepted” during their visit to the school.

Brenda Dalton, executive dean of student enrollment services and Johnson’s supervisor, hired him 10 years ago.

“We were looking for someone for the welcome desk – at the time it was called the Help Desk – that would be very helpful, that was welcoming to the college,” Dalton said. “He fit that bill. He dresses up, he’s happy to see people, and that’s what we want at our front door.”

Johnson walks through the front doors of S Building at 8:05 a.m. every morning. He lives close to the campus and said the drive is not too bad.

“If I catch all green lights, it’s a five-minute drive,” Johnson said.

Johnson is a Dallas native and graduated from Warren Travis High School in 1979. He also completed all of his Eagle Scout badges, a feat he prides himself on to this day.

“Of course I still have my badges,” Johnson said. “I have my plaque up on my wall – probably the only thing of real value anyone could steal from home.”

After high school, Johnson chose not to complete a post-secondary degree.

“I took classes at various community colleges, but that was it,” Johnson said. “I never felt the desire or need to continue with education.”

He said students should want to make life better for themselves as much as they can, and that is one of the reasons he does his best while on the job.

“I want to feel like I’m part of the success that happens here,” Johnson said.

Student Zeeshan Jiwani said when he first arrived at Brookhaven, he did not know what to do or where to go. Jiwani saw Johnson sitting patiently at the welcome desk but said he continued roaming around the S Building like a “little dog.”

Jiwani said Johnson helped him find his way around. “He showed me pretty much everywhere in the S Building,” Jiwani said. “So, I have him to thank for that.”

Apart from the welcoming atmosphere of Brookhaven, Johnson said he enjoys the cultural diversity.

“People say they want to travel all over the world; the world comes to me here,” Johnson said.