Super Soaker inventor to receive honorary doctorate from USA


Inventor Lonnie Johnson poses for photos during a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, at Williamson High School. A new educational complex will be named after Johnson, who is famous for inventing the Super Soaker water gun.

Reprinted from, The Hornet Tribune

Whatever you do, don’t refer to Lonnie Johnson as Mr. Super Soaker. It’s Dr. Super Soaker now.

Johnson, a Mobile native, is a Tuskegee University graduate who worked on the Galileo mission to Jupiter as well as high-tech military and aviation programs. He’s also the inventor who realized that a squirt gun powered by compressed air would make for a wildly popular line of toys. The patent for the original Super Soaker is one of more than 100 held by Johnson.

At its Friday meeting, the University of South Alabama’s board of trustees voted to approve an honorary doctorate degree. It will be awarded later this spring: Trustees were told that Johnson will speak at USA’s spring commencement on Friday, May 6.

It’s hardly the first honor for Johnson. He was inducted into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame in 2020. In 2019, the Mobile County Public School System broke ground on a $4 million Lonnie G. Johnson Educational Complex at Williamson High School, where Johnson went to school in the late 1960s. The new science wing was dedicated in October 2022.