Eddie Bernice Johnson No Longer Receiving Distinguished Alumni Award

September 27, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

By Aida Ahmed
aahmed@smu.edu

Southern Methodist University’s Distinguished Alumni Award ceremony will have one less honoree this year.

Missing from the lineup will be U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas), who is no longer receiving the 2010 SMU Distinguished Alumni Award at the ceremony on Oct. 21.

Congresswoman Johnson, who in the past month has been surrounded by a scandal stemming from a Dallas Morning News investigation into her handling of scholarship funds, plans to postpone the award until next year.

According to Dena Craig, director of communications for the congresswoman, it was a matter of timing.

“She is going to receive the award, just next year,” Craig said. “It was a scheduling conflict and she has just finished surgery. It’s better for her recovery.”

Craig said the award ceremony comes at an inconvenient time for the congresswoman but that she still plans to receive the 2011 distinguished alumni award.

Kent Best, executive director of news and communications at SMU, said that Johnson’s scheduling conflict made it impossible for her to be a recipient of this year’s award.

“She notified us that she had a scheduling conflict, and presence is necessary to receive the award,” Best said. “She will be honored at a future date and that date has yet to be determined.”

This news comes after a whirlwind of controversy stemming from her office’s handling of scholarship funds from the congresswoman’s office. Johnson awarded thousands of dollars in college scholarships to four relatives and a top aide’s two children using money from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, one of which is an SMU student. Although she claims to have unknowingly misused the funds, the congresswoman has since paid back the funds to the CBCF.