Johnson steps down as SUNY Chancellor

Published June 3, 2020

Kristina M. Johnson is stepping down as SUNY Chancellor to become president of The Ohio State University on Sept. 1.

Johnson will continue her duties as SUNY Chancellor to help prepare campuses for the fall semester until an interim leadership structure is appointed by the SUNY Board of Trustees.

“Dr. Johnson has led SUNY with a deep commitment to providing access and opportunity, while ensuring a premier high-quality education for all our students and propelling our university system to new national heights and recognition,” SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman Merryl H. Tisch said in announcing Johnson’s departure today. “We join all New Yorkers in thanking Dr. Johnson for her service and her tireless commitment to issues of equity and excellence, and we wish her the very best on her new opportunity as president of Ohio State University.”

“Leading SUNY has been an honor, and throughout my term I have been energized by the students, our esteemed faculty, and the brilliant leaders I have come to know and value,” Johnson said. “New York State has been welcoming to me and my wife Veronica Meinhard, and I am thankful to have the opportunity to build on SUNY’s strength as a diverse and inclusive higher education system.”

Johnson became SUNY’s 13th chancellor of SUNY on April 24, 2017. Before her term officially began on Sept. 5, 2017, she coordinated SUNY’s response to help the people of Puerto Rico after the devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s ongoing efforts to rescue and rebuild the island. Johnson personally volunteered on the island in 2018 along with SUNY and CUNY students.

During her tenure as chancellor, two-year community college graduation rates increased 22 percent, and the number of students requiring remediation was reduced by half. She launched PRODiG (Promoting Recruitment, Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Growth), an initiative designed to increase faculty diversity across SUNY campuses by hiring 1,000 underrepresented minorities and women in STEM by 2030.

Under Johnson’s leadership, SUNY also has:

  • Launched SUNY Achieve, a program at 17 SUNY colleges designed to help more students succeed in completing their associate’s degree through guided pathways, and SUNY Online, a system-wide platform offering students an affordable and quality education at a time and place that fits in with their complex lives.
  • Increased research expenditures by $100 million a year, including investments in such national research projects as the National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium and the Electron-Ion Collider.
  • Developed a roadmap for SUNY’s clean energy and sustainability goals, which will accelerate progress toward Cuomo’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030. She also launched the NY Higher Education Large Scale Renewable Energy project, which is negotiating the purchase of zero-carbon electricity for 20 campuses and putting SUNY on the path to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2023.
  • Helped establish groundbreaking collaborations with IBM, CREE, Applied Materials and others, launching $4.6 billion in research and development investment in New York State. She helped raise the first endowment dollars for the SUNY Impact Foundation to support scholarships, fellowships and professorships, as well as created the Chancellor’s Graduate Research Fellowships to encourage the innovators of tomorrow to continue their education and research in New York.