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SUNY Board Appoints Dr. Kristina M. Johnson as the 13th Chancellor

The State University of New York Board of Trustees named Dr. Kristina M. Johnson as its 13th chancellor Monday, an accomplished leader who will head the largest comprehensive system of public higher education in the United States.

“Throughout her distinguished career, Kristina Johnson has not only been a faculty member, administrator, and visionary in higher education but also a dedicated public servant, national energy czar, successful entrepreneur, and an acclaimed inventor,” said SUNY Chairman H. Carl McCall. “We are thrilled to welcome her to SUNY, where her range of experience will enable her to leverage the incredible work of our 64 colleges and universities." 

Johnson succeeds Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, who will step down from the position in June after an eight-year term during which she has positioned the university system as a national model through an unprecedented partnership with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Proven Leader and Innovator

“Dr. Johnson is a proven leader and innovator whose cross-sector experience and strong belief in the power of education will be a great benefit to the State University of New York,” Zimpher said. “In academia, she has brought stakeholder groups together to create and implement strategic vision crafted at the hands of many.

"On the national forefront, she successfully managed and uplifted our country’s most advanced energy research. And as a former faculty member turned entrepreneur, time and again she has bridged the gap between higher education and business to create programs that prepare students for in-demand careers. The future of SUNY is indeed bright under the leadership of Dr. Johnson.”

Johnson is the current founder and chief executive officer of Cube Hydro Partners LLC, which develops hydroelectric generation facilities that provide clean energy to communities and businesses throughout the country. She was appointed by President Barack Obama as U.S. under secretary of energy and served as Johns Hopkins University provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University, and professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Looks forward to ‘Building on Excellent Foundation’

“The State University of New York is a complex, captivating system like no other in higher education, and the opportunity to serve as its chancellor is the highest honor of my career,” Johnson said. “I look forward to building on the excellent foundation for SUNY that Gov. Cuomo, Chancellor Zimpher, and the Board of Trustees have developed in partnership with SUNY presidents, faculty, staff, and students as well as the communities they serve in every region.”

SUNY President John Ettling said that Johnson brings a unique blend of skills and leadership that will benefit the campus and the system as a whole.

"Dr. Johnson combines a wealth of academic experience and pursuits with ground-breaking, impressive business success," Ettling said. "Campuses like SUNY Plattsburgh and the system as a whole will benefit greatly from her perspective and abilities. We look forward to working with her."

Advocate for Women in Education

Throughout her career, Johnson has been an advocate for women in leadership, advanced STEM and STEAM education, pioneered the creation of jobs through higher-education/industry partnerships, established intensive research opportunities for students and faculty, and positioned leading institutions of higher education for greater success through the development of innovative strategic plans.

Johnson is an inventor and entrepreneur who holds 118 U.S. and international patents. She became a member of the National Academy of Inventors and the National Academy of Engineering in 2016 and was inducted with Gary Sharp into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2015 for the development of polarization-control technologies that enabled high quality 3D movies and TV.

Johnson’s appointment as chancellor is effective Sep. 5, 2017, at an annual state salary of $560,000. Interim leadership for the period between June and September will be appointed by the SUNY Board of Trustees at its June 21, 2017, meeting.

For more information, visit www.suny.edu/news

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