Elizabeth McCullough Johnson

By Janet Scherberger

Politics/Education (Orlando)

Years: 1909–1973

Remembered for: As a state lawmaker, her chief legislative goals were the development of statewide planning and zoning systems and the creation of the University of Central Florida, which was established by state law in 1963. With nearly 72,000 students, UCF is now the largest public university in Florida and one of the largest in the country. She also spoke in support of legislation that allowed the construction of Disney World. Governor LeRoy Collins eulogized Johnson as “one of the very best public officials.” Senator Beth Johnson Park is located near Lake Ivanhoe in Orlando.

Why you should know her:

Born in Pennsylvania, Johnson graduated from Vassar College and moved to Orlando in 1934.

She was active in the League of Women Voters and other civic groups prior to her election to the state House of Representatives in 1958. In 1962, Johnson became the first woman elected to the Florida Senate. She served in that role until 1967. In 1966 she received the Susan B. Anthony Award for representing the spirit of the 19th Amendment.

Featured imageElizabeth McCullough Johnson