Kristina Johnson, an engineer and former undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, is stepping down as SUNY's leader after nearly three years and will start her new role Sept. 1. Ohio State trustees voted Wednesday for her appointment.
Johnson, 63, told the trustees she thinks Ohio State's motto, Education for Citizenship, “has never been more relevant” as the country faces the pandemic as well as protests in response to the Minneapolis death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer pressed a knee on Floyd's neck.
John...on will continue her duties at SUNY until the system's trustees appoint an interim leadership structure, according to a statement from the system.
The president of SUNY’s faculty union, Frederick Kowal, said in an emailed statement that he was dismayed by the timing of Johnson’s departure as the system navigates the pandemic’s impact but he wished her well.
SUNY Student Assembly President Austin Ostro said in a prepared statement that Johnson's "inclusive, student-centric and results-oriented approach to leadership have left an indelible mark on the system."
The State University of New York operates 64 colleges and universities — including SUNY New Paltz and the two-year community colleges in Ulster, Dutchess, Columbia, Orange and Sullivan counties — and has about 1.3 million students.
At Ohio State, Johnson succeeds Michael Drake, who has been president since 2014. His tenure included strategic successes such as record graduates and donor support, but was complicated by scandals involving the marching band, a prominent football coach and a former team doctor accused of sexual abuse.
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