The University of Central Arkansas will honor a man with longtime ties to the university, BIll Johnson, with a retirement reception on Thursday.

Johnson, the radio voice of UCA football for 40 years and a development officer in the UCA athletic department for the past 10 years since leaving the radio booth, will be honored at the UCA President’s home at 140 Donaghey Ave., from 5-7 p.m. Thursday.

"Bill Johnson has been around UCA Athletics for over 50 years,’ said Brad Teague, UCA’s director of athletics. "There is no one who knows this campus and community better. We are proud that he decided to give so much to a program in which he loves. We thank Bill for his dedication to the Bear Nation and his tireless efforts to promote our program.

"We will miss seeing and working will Bill daily but we know we will see him often. Our full staff wishes him all the best in retirement."

Johnson, a 1960 graduate of then-Arkansas State Teachers College, served on the UCA Board of Trustees from 1970 to 1984 and was a member of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education Coordinating Board for 10 years. Johnson was president and CEO of Security Bank of Conway from 1977 to 1996 and president of First Financial Bank of Conway through its 2000 merger with Simmons First National Bank, where he served as president until 2006.

Johnson, a 2005 inductee in the UCA Sports Hall of Fame, has been an integral part of the Hall of Fame since its inception in 2001. Johnson was the owner of KCON Radio in Conway for nearly 20 years, served as president of the Conway Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis Club and served on the board of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.

Johnson has worked the last 10 years with the UCA Purple Circle, the official support organization of UCA Athletics, and has served as ambassador to the Purple Circle during football games.

"It will be strange not seeing Bill Johnson around UCA athletics on a daily basis," said Steve East, associate athletic director for media relations. "I have been involved with UCA in one way or another since 1981 and Bill Johnson has always been there, either as part of the media broadcasting games, as a booster, as a liaison with the Purple Circle or as a co-worker.

"He has always been a consummate professional and has been an amazing source of knowledge and history for the athletic department. And I’m sure he will continue to be that source for us."