WPU Recognizes Michael John for Janice Edwards Award

Apr 12, 2022

Michael John, director of public safety at William Peace University, is this year’s winner of the WPU Janice Edwards Award. This award exemplifies the characteristics of dedication and loyalty so often displayed by Dr. Janice Edwards during her 35 years at William Peace University. She retired in 1999. The recipient is nominated by the WPU community and is reflective of the service through incredible standards set by Edwards. 

At WPU, Edwards served as the Vice President for Student Services and as a faculty member. Nominations are received from the WPU community and a winner is chosen by a committee based on those nominations.

John was chosen for this “impactful presence on campus,” according to the award announcement from the department of human resources. “Michael always makes campus community members feel that they are cared about and cared for, that they are important, and that they all matter. Micheal simply gets things done and responds quickly to minor requests and major issues with respect, concern and expertise.” 

John has worked in public safety for more than 35 years. He says safety is his number one priority, and he feels that it’s very important for all students and staff to have a sense of security and comfort while on campus.

“I am committed, I’ve been committed, and I’ll continue to be committed to making that possible for all in the community to feel that sense of security while they’re on campus,” John said.

As the director of public safety, John is responsible for “about 15 officers, assignments, investigations, setting up security for events, such as graduation, and some other events that take place on campus.”

In addition to that, he also prepares and handles campus-wide drills or emergency situations.

Growing up, John lived in every part of New York City except Staten Island. After high school, he attended both Baruch and Medgar Evers College before graduating with a Bachelors in English Literature from the Lehman College at the City University of New York, known as CUNY. 

While pursuing his degree, John began working as an assistant director of public safety at Rockefeller University in New York City. There he was not only in charge of campus security, but also in charge of patrolling biomedical and animal research laboratories. 

He says he wasn’t fully interested in pursuing security work as a career until he met his former mentor, Lloyd Jones. Jones was a police sergeant in the New York City Police Department, a World War II veteran, and a civil rights activist. He drove John to pursue leadership positions as they became available, and remained John’s mentor until passing away in 2008.

“He inspired me, through his mentoring, to continue in law enforcement,” John explained.

After many years of service at Rockefeller University, John left to move to Raleigh in 2007.

John had moved to North Carolina with the intent to teach. He only meant to take the open position as part-time work, but soon fell in love with the university and has remained there ever since.

“The college was such a great place to work,” said John.  “The atmosphere was great, everything was great.”

Parents and guardians who are familiar with John and his work know just how committed he is, and it goes without saying that great at what he does.

“Mr. John truly takes the safety of William Peace students seriously,” said Pamela Perry, mother of one WPU student and one recent graduate. “He reassured me as a first-time Pacer Parent that my children would be in good hands. He has a calm and reassuring presence and is knowledgeable of the Raleigh community.”