Dr. Norman Johnston
Dr. Norman Johnston, 91, Arcadia University professor, author, scholar, good friend to many students and colleagues and considered by many to be the foremost international expert on the history of prison architecture, died at the Artman Lutheran Home in Ambler on Oct. 6, 2012, of complications from a series of strokes.
Dr. Johnston was the author or editor of eight books and numerous articles on criminal justice and on prison architecture, both in the United States and abroad, and he appeared in several television documentaries focusing on those subjects. Dr. Johnston researched the history of punishment and imprisonment and the evolution of prison architecture worldwide. These interests led to his longtime association and board service with the Pennsylvania Prison Society and the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, the latter of which he was instrumental in developing.
Born in Marion, Mich., in 1921, Dr. Johnston was the only child of the late Henry Dean Johnston and Lila Madison. He did his undergraduate work at Central Michigan College, receiving the B.A. (summa cum laude) in absentia, as he had enlisted in the Army Air Corps LQ 1943 EHIRUH WKH RIfiFLDO college commencement. After World War II, he entered graduate school at the University of Chicago and completed his M.A. with honors.
Dr. Johnston began his professional career working in a state prison in Illinois for three years and then entered the Ph.D. program in sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was given an assistantship and began teaching in 1952. He completed the Ph.D. in 1958, and his dissertation was published as “The Human Cage.”
Dr. Johnston subsequently studied abroad on a Fulbright Award. In 1962 he was hired at Beaver College (now Arcadia University) as an associate professor and Chairman of the Sociology Department, where he spent his academic career. He was considered an outstanding teacher/scholar and was dearly loved by many students for whom he was a teacher, as well as a mentor and a friend. Soon promoted to full professor, he continued to teach fulltime until 1992, after which, as professor emeritus, he taught part-time while pursuing his scholarly work for another two decades. In his later years, he became a beORYHG fiJuUH RQ FDPSuV DQG appeared to be much like a “Mr. Chips” at the university.
A memorial celebration for Dr. Johnston will be held on Nov. 18, 2012, at 12 noon in the Castle at Arcadia University, Glenside.
Dr. Johnston is survived by his cousins from Michigan, and the family has asked that contributions be made to Arcadia University, University Advancement, 450 S. Easton Road, Glenside, PA 19038 for a memorial in both his honor and his memory.
Arrangements were by Baron Rowland Funeral Home in Abington.