North Carolina-Grace P Johnson-January 29


North Carolina People, Places, and Things-January 29

I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.

In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special.

This time next week we will be getting ready for the Super Bowl 50 to be played in Santa Clara, California. The game will take place on Sunday February 7, 2016 at Levi’s Stadium. Levi Stadium just opened this year and is the home to the San Francisco 49’ers,

Levi Stadium

I have always been curious on the name of stadiums. I pay particular attention to stadiums named after a female. To my knowledge UNC Pembroke in North Carolina has the only collegiate football stadium named after a women. That stadium is called Grace P. Johnson Stadium. The number of football stadiums named for females that I know about are few and far in between.

Grace P Johnson Stadium images below.

The football stadium at UNC Pembroke is named in honor of Grace P. Johnson. Grace was the late wife of E. Marvin Johnson of Rose Hill, N.C.


Marvin Johnson was the son of Nash Johnson. Rose Hill, NC  is located in southeastern North Carolina  and Marvin who was born in 1926 grew up during the depression years in a hard-working, close rural family. In 1936, his father built his first turkey hatchery. From these beginnings, the business called House of Raeford has expanded.

Grace Powell Johnson was born on August 26, 1929. She and Marvin Johnson had four children: Edgar Johnson, who preceded her in death, Diane Beasley, Robert Johnson, and Mary Anna Johnson. They have 14 grandchildren, two of whom are deceased, and 5 great-grandchildren.  After she died her husband Marvin and son Robert made a sizable donation to UNC Pembroke as they started up their program in 2007.

(l-r) Cowan Johnson, UNC Pembroke Chancellor Allen Meadors, Marvin Johnson, and Robert Johnson.

Johnson family

On the major college scene I am only aware of two stadiums named after women.

One of those is a SEC team the South Carolina Gamecocks and their stadium is called Williams-Brice. The deed to the stadium was given over to the University from the city in 1941 and the name was subsequently changed to Carolina Stadium. At the time it seated 17,500.

USC decided to expand Carolina Stadium in 1972  and increase the seating to 54,000. This project was funded by a gift from the estate of Martha Williams-Brice, wife of former Gamecock player Thomas H. Brice, and the stadium was subsequently re-named Williams-Brice Stadium in her honor.

The other major college football stadium named after a woman, is Marshal University’s Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington, West Virginia.

Martha Williams-Brice, Joan Edwards, and Grace P Johnson are special ladies in the world of college football.

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