February 13, 2017

This week Century Library is featuring Marian Bemis Johnson. Marian was the Women’s Athletic Director and coach at Lakewood before it merged with Northeast Metro Tech to form Century College.

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Marian Bemis Johnson

Marian Bemis Johnson was a pioneer in the development of women’s sports. She graduated from Waterville High School in 1948 during the period when no sports programs existed for high school or college women. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Mankato State University in 1952 and her Master of Education from the University of Minnesota in 1973.

Johnson was a physical education teacher at Stillwater High School from 1952 until 1957. She started the competitive synchronized swimming team in 1953. As a member of the faculty of Hamline University from 1957-1964, she also coached synchronized swimming. From 1968-1987 Johnson developed the women’s sports program at Lakewood Community College, now Century College. She was the Women’s Athletic Director and coached volleyball, basketball, softball, and tennis. During this time, she took an active role in establishing intercollegiate competitive programs.

Her interest in chronicling the history of women’s participation in sports comes from a long time quest to answer the question: “Why wasn’t I allowed to play?”