October 10th, 2013 | University

Prank honors Charles B. Johnson

Additional reporting by Ashton Wackym. Follow @yaledailynews on for breaking updates on all stories. 

In a prank that was likely inevitable following Charles Johnson ’54′s recent $250 million donation to the university, a group of pranksters showed their thanks to the alum  by “renaming” many buildings in his honor. Blue paper signs with new names were put up on Yale building plaques as of this morning, with the note “[as] a sign of our gratitude to Charles Bartlett Johnson ’54, this building is hereby renamed.” Some of the more creative re-labelings included “William L. ‘Charles B. Johnson’ Harkness Hall” and “Bass-Johnson Library.” Woodbridge Hall is now temporarily “Johnsonbridge Hall.” Other locations were spared name changes, including Morse College, Sterling Law Library and Woolsey Hall.

The News received a tip from “Notthepundits,” suggesting credit may not go to the campus’ most frequently suspected prank group.

Surprisingly, sixty years ago Johnson studied in a humble Silliman College dorm room like any other undergraduate. The future donor-to-be waited tables and paid his tuition with help from a scholarship granted by the Yale Club of Montclair.

Less surprisingly, Johnson began amassing his personal fortune after graduation by going into finance. The $250 million dollar gift Johnson made to the University last week makes up only around four percent of his estimated $5.6 billion dollar net worth. Johnson served as chairman of Franklin Templeton, which manages holdings of around $815 billion dollars or around 40 times the University’s endowment. The young post-grad took over the investment company only three years out of graduation, and its then mere $2.5 million dollars in holdings, which Johnson increased by around 326,000,000 percent. This he did through adroit mutual fund management, which consists of overseeing financial portfolios, or — investing other people’s money.

Johnson is listed on the Class of 1954 website as the only billionaire Yale produced that year. He holds the #74 spot in the Forbes 400 listing.

Send tips to crosscampus@yaledailynews.com. Photos by the Yale Daily News.