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1963 Horatio Alger Award Winner

Wayne A. Johnston*

Illinois Central Railroad

"I became president of a major railroad by working hard at each job that was put in front of me."

Wayne Johnston was a boy when his father died. His mother taught school to provide for her three sons, and the boys sold newspapers and magazines to assist her. Johnston completed high school and worked his way through the University of Illinois as a janitor in a sorority house. During the summer, he served as a guide in Yellowstone National Park and worked as switchman and yard clerk for the Big Four Railroad. Johnston received a bachelor's degree in 1919 and became an accountant at the Illinois Central division at Champaign, Illinois. He advanced to the position of chief clerk and, at 23, transferred to Chicago to become assistant chief clerk to the general superintendent. In 1945, at age 47, he was elected president of Illinois Central Railroad based in Chicago. At that time, he was the youngest president of a major railroad in the United States.

* Deceased