David Johnston works at the University of Kansas as vice president of strategic communications and digital media for the KU Alumni Association. In addition to teaching Strategic Campaigns, the capstone course for the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communication, he also teaches an introductory course in the Leadership Studies minor at KU. A former KU student-athlete and cross country All-American, Johnston is a past president of the K Club board of directors for KU Athletics, and he currently serves on the board for the Council of Alumni Marketing & Membership Professionals, supporting alumni associations across the country.
Johnston grew up as a Jayhawk living in Lawrence, and he comes from a loyal KU family. After graduating from KU in 1994, he moved to Chicago to work for Leo Burnett Advertising and Starcom Media Services. He returned to Lawrence and KU in 2000 to serve as marketing coordinator for the KU Memorial Unions before being promoted by Chancellor Hemenway to become the university’s first director of marketing in 2004. In that role, Johnston oversaw the creation and implementation of KU’s logo and visual identity system, including brand standards for proper use of the Jayhawk and KU trademarks.
Today, Johnston oversees strategic communications and digital media for the KU Alumni Association, encompassing online communication and technology, content strategy, broadcast email and social media. He holds two degrees from KU, including a BS in Journalism (advertising) and an MS in Higher Education Administration. He lives in Lawrence with his wife, Sara, and their three children, Sydney, Sophia and Austin.
In 2007, I was invited to contribute an original essay for a book titled What it means to be a Jayhawk, by Doug Vance and Jeff Bolig. My original unabridged essay is published here, and the book is available for purchase online through the KU Bookstores and Amazon. Read the essay.
As a former KU student-athlete, I was featured in a series of alumni profiles by K Club, the association of former letterwinners at KU, called Once a Jayhawk, Always a Jayhawk. The feature, along with a video interview created for the Kansas Relays around the same time, can be viewed here. Read the profile.