Incoming president at St. Martin's in Lacey is dead - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Incoming president at St. Martin's in Lacey is dead

Associated Press - June 8, 2008 4:35 PM ET

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Willamette University educator and former Oregon legislator Bryan M. Johnston died last night in his sleep at 59.

Johnston was scheduled to start as president of Saint Martin's University in Lacey, Wash., next month.

No cause of death has been determined.

In Salem, Ore., home of Willamette University, Senate President Peter Courtney and others praised Johnston as a skilled negotiator and administrator who cared deeply about higher education and human services.

Johnston served as Willamette's interim director in 1997 and 1998. He was associate dean at Willamette's College of Law and dean of its Atkinson Graduate School of Management. He also was a founding faculty member and director of Willamette College of Law's Center for Dispute Resolution.

Johnston earned his law degree from Loyola University and worked at Legal Aid in Chicago.

He also was adjunct professor at the law schools of the University of New Mexico, University of Bridgeport, University of Oregon and Pepperdine University.

He served in the Oregon House from 1995 to 1999. He ran unsuccessfully against state Sen. Jackie Winters, R-Salem, in 2002.

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