Randolph-Macon College honored the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on January
17, 2011. Entrepreneur and philanthropist Sheila Johnson was the keynote speaker.
MLK Celebration to view a slideshow of photos from the event.
Johnson is CEO of Salamander Hospitality, LLC, a company she founded in 2005. She
oversees a growing portfolio of luxury properties including Woodlands Inn, in Summerville,
South Carolina; Innisbrook, a 72-hole golf and spa resort in Innisbrook, Florida;
and the much-anticipated Salamander Resort & Spa, currently being constructed
in Middleburg, Virginia.
As president and managing partner of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, and vice chairman
of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, Johnson is the first African-American
woman to have a stake in three professional sports teams, including the Washington
Wizards (NBA) and the Washington Capitals (NHL). She is also a TV pioneer, having
been a founding partner of BET (Black Entertainment Television) and the creator
of the award-winning program "Teen Summit." Currently, Johnson is producing films
with a humanitarian message including "Kicking It, A Powerful Noise," "She Is the
Matador," and her latest film, "The Other City," about the HIV/AIDS crisis in Washington
In 2006 Johnson was named global ambassador for CARE, a leading aid organization
fighting global poverty by empowering women. She is a member of the Council on Foreign
Relations and serves as chair of the board of governors of Parsons The New School
for Design in New York. A fervent supporter of the arts and education, President
Obama appointed her to the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities;
she also sits on the boards of Americans for the Arts, the Jackie Robinson Foundation,
the Tiger Woods Foundation, the University of Virginia Curry School of Education,
Howard University and the University of Illinois Foundation.
An accomplished violinist, Johnson earned a B.A. in music from the University of
Illinois, as well as honorary degrees from numerous other institutions. She lives
in Middleburg, Virginia, is married to the Honorable William T. Newman Jr., and
has two children.
The tribute to Dr. King also included a musical presentation by the Ujima Gospel