Co-founder of service organization receives Wallenberg Scholar Award

December 12, 2014 | News, UToday, Medicine and Life Sciences
By Aimee Portala



Each year, a UT student receives the Raoul Wallenberg Scholar Award, given for exemplary and meritorious service to those unable to help themselves.

Ryan Johnston, this year’s recipient of the Raoul Wallenberg Scholar Award, is shown here on a mission trip in Haiti.

Ryan Johnston, this year’s recipient of the Raoul Wallenberg Scholar Award, is shown here on a mission trip in Haiti.

Ryan Johnston, this year’s Wallenberg Scholar, co-founded the UT Bridge Club, an on-campus service organization, in 2012. Bridge Club supplements Food for Thought, a local social justice organization dedicated to feeding the hungry and homeless, by providing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches made by UT students.

Bridge Club aims to “help in the ongoing effort and aid to the unhoused and homeless of Toledo.”

The award honors Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat who helped rescue tens of thousands of Jews during World War II by providing documentation that identified them as Swedish nationals.

“I am honored to be receiving this award. Mr. Wallenberg was an amazing man, and it is a shame more people are not aware of him. He is a testament of what one person can do guided by passion and morals, and to be recognized with an award in his name is very humbling,” Johnston said.

Robert Karp, a retired Toledo railroad worker, founded the award to recognize Wallenberg’s courage and commitment to social justice.

Johnston is a student in UT’s Baccalaureate/MD Program. He completed three years of undergraduate work before beginning medical school in fall 2013. He plans to pursue a career in pediatrics.

He has been involved in a number of organizations, including Toledo Campus Ministry, Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, Blue Key National Honor Society, American Medical Student Association and Business of Medicine Club. He also served as a resident adviser.

“My passion for serving others will not stop here. I will continue to strive to better the human condition and be a proponent for those whose voice may not be heard,” Johnston said. “I am going to start an international nonprofit that benefits children, and once I am finished with my medical education, I am going to do medical missions to developing countries.”