Shaun Johnson is a bit of an outlier in a family of pirates. Most of his family graduated from East Carolina, and Johnson did, too, after his undergraduate work. While his family members have stayed true to the purple and gold, Johnson switched his allegiances to red and white when he came to NC State in 2002 to pursue a doctor of veterinary medicine.
“Initially, it was a hard transition,” Johnson says, laughing. “But I became more of a Wolfpacker. It can be awkward with my family since they all went to ECU.”
Since graduating from NC State in 2006, Johnson has stayed a Wolfpacker, helping form the Philadelphia alumni network in 2012. He has headed up that network since that time, and he’s just been named the Network Leader of the Year by the NC State Alumni Association’s outreach team.
“Shaun’s efforts have allowed us to fully engage the Philadelphia area in a way that was desperately needed,” says Melissa Shampine, assistant director of alumni outreach. “His ability to fully execute events on his own makes him a dream volunteer in the alumni relations field. His creative event ideas have inspired other regional networks and even other alumni groups in the Philadelphia area.”
Johnson, 37, says he found his calling to serve with the network after a stint living in the Big Apple. “After vet school, I did an internship in NYC,” he says. “I worked up there all the time. I joined the alumni network up there, and it was my one thing to do outside of work.”
The Philadelphia network includes alumni from the City of Brotherly Love, northern Delaware and southern New Jersey. Johnson, who works as a vet in the Philadelphia suburbs, says he tries to plan activities he knows not only can bring people out for the first time, but keep them coming back. Sporting events are always big hits, especially when they feature a fellow former Woflpacker. “Our biggest event last year was a 76ers game. [Former NC State guard] Lorenzo Brown was playing,” Johnson says.
For Johnson, the dedication to the network comes from his experience at NC State as a grad student, which provided him outlets he didn’t experience at East Carolina.
“When I was an undergrad, I was working my tail off to get into grad school,” he says. “In grad school, I went to games and went out. I got the college experience most get as an undergrad. The connections are there for me.”
The NC State Alumni Association hosts alumni networks across North Carolina and the United States. To find your network, click here.