Mickey Johnson, Class of ‘78 and president of the Alumni Board at Southwestern Adventist University met his wife Nilsa (Arauzo) Johnson, Class of ’81 during their time as college students. The Johnsons are active members of the Keene community and their children, Lance, Class of ‘09 and Tyler, Class of ’12 are also proud to be SWAU alumni. The Johnsons have a deep fondness for the campus where they met and an appreciation for the friendly, caring atmosphere that continues to exist on campus after all these years.
Growing up in Keene, Nilsa always looked forward to the day she would experience SWAU student life for herself. Little did she know she would end up meeting her future husband while on the university campus. During her senior year of high school, Nilsa began working at Hamilton Hall, and Mickey remembers the first time he saw her. They would occasionally interact when he was picking up his mail or simply passing through the lobby, and he remembers always looking forward to those moments.
Nilsa knew Mickey was a big deal on campus and that there were several girls who were interested in him. During the summer of ‘79, Nilsa took part in an educational experience in Europe. During her time abroad, Nilsa’s mom noticed that Mickey would ask about Nilsa every time he saw her at La Loma Foods, where he was working that summer. “I remember when she told me Mickey Johnson was asking about me,” recalls Nilsa. When Mickey saw her after she returned from her summer away, he took that opportunity to ask her out, and of course she said yes.
Looking back on their time at SWAU, they both recall how much they enjoyed their time as students. Mickey enjoyed cruising around in his car and finding friends around campus as well as going over to the ball field for intramural games. This was where students would often spend their evenings, cheering for their friends. Mickey would often participate in a variety of sports and Nilsa loved cheering on Mickey as well as her other friends. The SWAU ball field was the place to be and brought students and members of the community together.
Even 40 years after their graduations, the Johnsons have a special place in their hearts for SWAU. Following their wedding they decided to settle down in the area and have lived in Keene since. Over the years they have seen the campus grow and thrive with new buildings, employees, and students; they even remember when Southwestern Adventist College become Southwestern Adventist University!
If they had to go back and do it all over again, Mickey and Nilsa would both choose to attend SWAU. They are grateful that they were able to meet on campus, raise a family near their beloved alma mater and now continue to be involved in supporting the SWAU alumni community.