Johnson family makes lead gift for new women’s residence hall


Johnson Family Hall Feature

Todd, Susan, Matthew and Hilary Johnson of Duluth, Minnesota, have made a significant leadership gift to the University of Notre Dame for the construction of Johnson Family Hall, a women’s residence hall on the northeast side of campus.

“The Johnsons, an exceptionally generous family, have exhibited that generosity in making possible this hall at Notre Dame bearing their name,” said University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. “We are extremely grateful for this residence hall, a place for building community and contributing to the education of our students’ minds and hearts.”

Todd is chairman and CEO of Capstan Corporation, a third-generation family business. Under Todd’s direction, the company expanded from a construction company and a shipyard to include a thermal energy utility in Omaha, Nebraska; a plastic film manufacturer in Superior, Wisconsin; and leadership in a large community bank. He earned his bachelor’s degree in construction engineering management from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 1981. Todd served as a board member and chair of the Audit Committee of the Federal Reserve’s ninth district for six years. 

Susan has been a speech-language pathologist with Duluth Public Schools for more than 30 years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and her master’s degree in speech-language pathology from the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 1987. She has held board positions on the Junior League of Duluth and the Minnesota Ballet. The Johnsons are members of Notre Dame’s Cavanaugh Council, Badin Guild and Boldly Notre Dame campaign cabinet.

Matthew Johnson is a 2012 and 2019 graduate of Notre Dame. He recently graduated from the one-year accelerated MBA program. While on campus he served as a campus tour guide and as a weekly reader to president emeritus Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C.

Hilary Johnson is a 2015 graduate of Notre Dame, and is currently working toward a master of biomedical science degree at Midwestern University. While on campus she was a resident assistant in Lyons Hall and a weekly volunteer at Saint Mary’s Convent.

Erin Hoffmann Harding, vice president for student affairs, said, “As the University continues to invest in strengthening our undergraduate residential communities and improving the quality of hall life for our students, we are extraordinarily thankful to Todd, Susan, Matthew and Hilary for the addition of Johnson Family Hall.”

At nearly 70,000 square feet, the character and design of Johnson Family Hall will be unique, integrating elements of campus architecture and Notre Dame residence hall traditions, including a chapel, courtyard and various spaces for studying and socializing. The new hall will house 225 women and is expected to open in fall of 2020.

“We are deeply honored to share our family’s blessings with the University of Notre Dame for being the lead gift for the new women’s residence hall on campus,” said Todd and Susan Johnson.

Along with the Johnsons, additional benefactors contributing to the construction of Johnson Family Hall include Celeste and Kevin Ford of Portola Valley, California; Carol and Bill Hoffmann of Minnetonka, Minnesota; Molly and Geof Meyers of Ottawa Hills, Ohio; Clare and Jerry Richer of Southborough, Massachusetts; and Shayla and Chip Rumely of Atlanta, Georgia.

Johnson Family Hall will be the 32nd residence hall on campus and increases the number of women’s halls to 15. It is the fourth addition to a quad of some of Notre Dame’s newest buildings. Located north of McCourtney Hall, a facility dedicated to research in the molecular sciences and engineering, Johnson Hall is east of Flaherty and Dunne residence halls.

Originally published by Sue Ryan at on September 06, 2019.