Johnnie McFadden, PhD, the Benjamin Elijah Mays Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of South Carolina, was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, the only son among five children of Jerry McFadden and Emma Postell McFadden.
He attended academically-acclaimed, racially segregated public schools in Wilmington, North Carolina, graduating at the age of sixteen from Williston High School. While he desired to be an architect, he could not attend North Carolina State University in Raleigh, which was all white, and he did not have the resources or the vision to travel out of state to attend Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, which offered an architectural degree. Instead, he matriculated at Winston-Salem State University, majoring in elementary education. “I could not design and build buildings, but I could shape and build minds. Such minds are eternal”, said McFadden. He graduated magna cum laude from Winston-Salem State University in 1958 and embarked on a teaching career.
While teaching mathematics, science, and art in elementary and secondary schools, he earned his M.Ed. degree in educational administration from Temple University in 1967 and his PhD degree with a major in counselor education and a minor in psychology from the University of South Carolina in 1973.
In 1970 McFadden was chosen the first North Carolina Teacher of the Year. Since that time, he has seen his educational career rise meteorically at the University of South Carolina. He has served in a number of professional roles at USC, namely, Interim Dean and Associate Dean in the College of Education and USC Senior Vice President for Intercultural Affairs and Professional Development. He is the first African American in the history of the University of South Carolina to be promoted to the rank of full professor (1979) and the first to be named to an endowed chair, the Benjamin Elijah Mays Professor (1988). He founded (1988) the highly successful Benjamin Elijah Mays Academy for Leadership Development at USC.
Dr. McFadden is an international authority on transcultural counseling and communication, and his historic stylistic counseling model is used worldwide. He is the author or editor of fifteen books and has presented or published over 250 professional papers, journal articles, symposia, and workshops in numerous places throughout the world such as Australia, New Zealand, China, India, Belgium, the Netherlands, Morocco, Kenya, Brazil, Mexico, Scotland, France, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, etc. His most currently co-edited book is entitled Culture and Counseling: New Approaches. He is also proud to announce his latest book, labeled Seeking Grace, commemorating the human spirit, the pilgrimage of faith, and the legacy of love.
Professor McFadden serves on many boards and has many professional and civic affiliations, including the Columbia Museum of Art. The recipient of more than thirty awards in his profession, he is one of twenty renowned counselor education professors biographically featured in the 2003 book, Leaders and Legacies: Contributions to the Profession of Counseling. This honoree’s motto is, “Do the right thing for the right reason.” He is a member of First Calvary Baptist Church, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Director of the African American Professors Program at the University of South Carolina, and a life member of the NAACP.
McFadden and his wife, Grace Jordan McFadden, PhD, have a daughter, Rashida Hannah McFadden.