Five Questions with Johnston King

Johnston King is a longtime UNC supporter with an appreciation of the classics.


Johnston (right) celebrates with his siblings at his sister's wedding. (Contributed photo)

Johnston (right) celebrates with his two siblings at his sister’s wedding. (Contributed photo)

Name: Johnston King
Position: Admissions coordinator, Office of Student Affairs
Years at Gillings: One


What I do at Gillings (and why I love it): My job at the School is brand new. I work with my colleagues to attract students to Gillings and help those students through the process of applying. I also keep the Gillings GPS up to date and organize recruitment events.

My favorite thing about this job is the people. My colleagues are the best and it’s great to see them use their talents to support students. I love working with the students too, because they show a passion not just for their specific programs, but for making positive changes in the world.


I was raised in: Wilson, North Carolina. It’s a small town just east of Raleigh. Growing up, I kept busy playing basketball, tennis and soccer. I’ve always been a big sports fan, especially because my dad used to take me to UNC football and basketball games. He used the games as an opportunity to teach me life lessons about teamwork, a good work ethic, things like that.


When I’m not at work, I like to: Read. I get this from my mother. She’s a teacher, and her enthusiasm for education – especially her passion for reading – was very influential as I grew up. Now I’m working my way through a list of classics I should have read in high school, but didn’t get to. I’m a big fan of the Lost Generation, authors like Fitzgerald and Hemingway who were writing post-World War I. I enjoy stories as a hobby, but they also come up working in admissions. Talking with students always has an element of storytelling, like, “What brought you here?” And then you work with them to create the next chapter of their story.


Something you wouldn’t know about me is: I spent a semester studying abroad in Hangzhou, China. It’s near Shanghai. I was there just before the Olympics in spring 2006. I didn’t know anyone there before I went, and it was a big series of random adventures. I even ended up on television!


If I could have one person over for dinner, it would be: Wait – do I have to cook? Just kidding! I remember seeing an interview with Malala, the Pakistani activist, on the Daily Show. I think she’d be very inspirational to talk with. On the other hand – and this sort of sums of the two halves of my personality – my second choice would be Petey Pablo, the rapper from Greenville, N.C.

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