The transformative power of education


When Tara Johnson ’12 found out about her appointment to a full-time, tenure-track teaching position at Chaffey College, there were two people at the University of Redlands she wanted to tell. One was Eva Rose, a faculty member who encouraged her to pursue the Master of Arts in Management (MAM) at the School of Business, Rancho Cucamonga campus. The other was Bruce Rawding ’93, who retired in June after nearly 30 years with the University. Johnson and Rawding have a special connection: She received the Kathie J. Rawding Memorial Endowed Scholarship, established by Rawding to honor his late wife.

“When someone invests in you like Bruce did in me,” says Johnson, “you have a responsibility to update them when awesome things happen to you!”

When she began the master’s program at Redlands, in addition to working full-time in the bookstore of Chaffey College (her alma mater before transferring to San Diego State University to complete her history degree), Johnson was a wife and mother of three. “I was motivated by how students are facing so many challenges,” she recalls. “I thought, ‘If they can do it, so can I!’” This fall, she began teaching at Chaffey’s School of Business and Applied Technology. “I understand the transformative power of higher education, and it makes me want to help others transform.”

Johnson refers to her Redlands cohort, with whom she completed the program, as her “MAM-ily.” “Even though we were in different life stages, it was helpful to have them on my journey,” she says. Johnson also appreciated the practical aspects of her classwork: “I went to class on Monday night and implemented what I learned at work on Tuesday.”

As for the Kathie J. Rawding Memorial Endowed Scholarship, Johnson notes, “It opened doors that would have never opened otherwise.” In setting up the scholarship, Bruce wanted to honor his wife’s legacy after she passed away from brain cancer. Both Bruce and Kathie were alumni of the University’s MBA program, and Kathie also worked at the School of Business for 12 years. “I wanted to support students like Kathie who were transformed by their Redlands education,” says Bruce. Since 2009, the scholarship has been awarded to women of color who possess high potential for academic and professional success.

Bruce, who is completing his Ed.D. in Leadership for Educational Justice at Redlands, was ecstatic to hear Johnson’s news: “Exceptional students like Tara are on a journey and have overcome obstacles. They want to achieve and give back to the community. When I look at these students, I see Kathie in them.”

To make a gift to the Kathie J. Rawding Memorial Endowed Scholarship, visit or call Ray Watts, associate vice president of development, at 909-748-8358.


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