Keeny Earns Gary W. Johnston Leadership Award

Amy Johnston and Taurino Keeny 10-15-2022
Brigadier General Amy Johnston presents the inaugural Major General Gary W. Johnston Leadership Award to Arkansas Tech University senior Taurino Keeny.

Taurino Keeny is the inaugural recipient of the Major General Gary W. Johnston Leadership Award at Arkansas Tech University.

Keeny received the award from Johnston’s widow, Brigadier General Amy Johnston, during a ceremony in the Doc Bryan Student Services Center Rotunda on Saturday, Oct. 15.

A senior mathematics major from Jacksonville and a cadet in the ATU U.S. Army ROTC program, Keeny plans on making a career of the U.S. Army following his graduation from ATU.

“It means so much to be a part of something that will live on,” said Keeny. “This scholarship not only means something to me, but to the entire program as well. The future senior cadets will be pushed to develop their leadership skills and work hard for this award. It was a close race this year. I’m proud of our class.”

Major General Johnston received his Bachelor of Science degree in business from ATU in 1987. He completed the U.S. Army ROTC program at ATU and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army.

During an active military career that spanned more than 34 years, Johnston served in command and staff positions from platoon to U.S. Army and U.S. Department of Defense major command levels. He deployed in support of Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Joint Endeavor, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

In 2015, Johnston became the seventh graduate of the ATU U.S. Army ROTC program to attain the rank of General officer in the U.S. Army. He was promoted Major General two years later.

He culminated his career as the commander, Intelligence and Security Command, a global organization of 17,500 personnel across more than 40 countries.

Johnston retired from active duty in September 2021 and passed away in January 2022. He was part of the inaugural class of the ATU U.S. Army ROTC Hall of Honor in 2017 and he received the highest honor his alma mater bestows when he was inducted into the Arkansas Tech Hall of Distinction in 2019.

“Major General Gary Johnston, U.S. Army retired, did not die on a battlefield in a distant land,” said ATU Hall of Distinction and ATU U.S. Army ROTC Hall of Honor member Major General William E. Harmon, U.S. Army retired, in reflecting upon his friend’s life. “However, those distant battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan where he spent many, many years remained with him until the very end. As all soldiers know too well: you may leave the battlefield, but the battle never leaves the soldier. When you greet a service member don’t think them for their service…thank them for their sacrifices. All gave some. Some gave all.”

For more information about applying for or contributing toward privately-funded scholarships at ATU, call (479) 968-0400.