Vest Johnson, BE75
Any fan who attended a University of Delaware event at Delaware Stadium, the Bob Carpenter Center, or Delaware Field House over the last 40 years probably noticed or interacted with Sylvester “Vest” Johnson, BE75, in one way or another. Over a four-decade career, Johnson established himself as a fixture in the history of UD Athletics.
A native of Jacksonville, Fla., Johnson moved to Milford, Del. as a youngster. After graduation, he was hired by former longtime assistant athletics director and UD Athletics Hall of Fame member Raymond B. “Scotty” Duncan in 1976 and moved directly into the position of assistant to the director for promotions and sales. He coordinated all promotional efforts for the UD athletics department, worked closely with the football and basketball programs, coordinated championship events and student ticket operations, and produced radio advertisements.
Johnson was promoted to assistant athletics director for sales and events in 1989 and oversaw UD football and basketball ticket operations, internal and external event management, daily football program operations, and Delaware Stadium and Delaware Field House risk management.
When the Bob Carpenter Center opened in 1992, Johnson took over major responsibilities in the daily operations of the 5,000-seat, state of the art facility. He coordinated, handled staffing, and oversaw all events that were scheduled in the facility. He managed everything for a specific event, including set-ups, breakdowns, security, equipment, supplies, safety, labor, and general troubleshooting.
For much of his 40 years at UD, Johnson was a leader of football gameday operations and was a familiar face throughout Delaware Stadium, making sure everything surrounding the event ran smoothly. In his role as associate director of the BCC, he oversaw maintenance of the facility and took special pride in doing everything necessary to provide a safe environment for fans, participants, and employees.
Another huge role of Johnson’s was managing the BCC event staff, which consists mostly of students and members of the local community. He built a large network of employees and developed a life-long connection to hundreds as a mentor and advocate.
“Over the last 40 years, the University of Delaware has become my home and members of the UD community have become my family,” said Johnson. “As I start the next chapter of my life, I will miss my UD family. I hope the lasting legacy I leave is one that stresses the importance of relationships. In this day and age of text messaging and social media, I have prided myself on face to face relationship-building that I had with UD patrons, employees, and students. As the University of Delaware Alma Mater says, ‘I give thee thanks for glorious days.’ As a student, parent, and employee of this great school, thank you for over 45 years of glorious days.”